Author: Allegra Bick-Maurischat

It’s about to get WILD!

Okay, November – RuckusRoots is ready for ya! 

We’ve got a brand new WILD ART program launching this month and it’s gonna be a big one! While we are continuing our partnership with Hawthorne school, Eucalyptus Elementary this fall with a brand new group of 4th graders, this year’s program will carry on into the Spring of 2020.

What does this mean? 

✔️We can reach more kids with our unique program blending painting and drawing classes with lessons in wildlife education and conservation! 

✔️ We can focus our attention, skills and resources on just one class at a time – maximizing student learning capacity and deepening our impact! 

✔️We have more time to focus on projects outside the classroom in the coming months; i.e hours to dream up great new sustainability projects and keep ’em comin’ at ya! 

In addition, this 2019/2020 Wild Art program will employ the talent and enthusiasm of our newest Teaching Artist, Julio Munoz! This young educator is so excited to begin working with us, and we couldn’t be more anxious to get him in the classroom with this new batch of 4th graders! Part of this year’s program restructuring means that Julio will get to work exclusively with each class, and is responsible for carrying out all of Wild Art’s components – everything from painting to color theory, sustainability principles and eco-conservation, to plastic bag collection and final project planning with students!

Our mural created with last year’s students at Eucalyptus Elementary school diverted more than 4,000 plastic bags from local landfills – and we’re aiming for even more this time around! Can’t wait to share more in the coming months! 

P.S Check out this news clip featuring the Mural Unveiling last spring! 

 

THIS is what community looks like!

Well, folks – we had one heck of a fun Friday night with you last weekend! It was truly a great way to celebrate the success of our Kites for A Cause summer series and launch us into fall programming. 

Just as a recap – we spent the months of July and August at Spoke Bicycle Cafe with talented local artists Robin Banks and Sarah Farmer , raising awareness about the importance of protecting our local waterways while making art about our hyperlocal environments and community spaces. We had a wonderful time doing river clean-ups, getting to know our neighbors and co-creating our vision for a better Los Angeles. But that’s not all – what we did had a real impact! 

As a result of Kites for A Cause, more than 600 community members were engaged in meaningful action, over 70 lbs of trash were collected from the L.A River and 45 gorgeous works of art were created! We did a lot – and we had fun doing it! 

Check out this video for more about what we did this summer: 

 

 If you participated in one of our workshops this summer, volunteered your time, attended our Community pARTy, or supported our work in the past – THANK YOU!  Your support and involvement is helping to shape our neighborhoods, communities and world for the better! Special thanks to everyone at Spoke Bicycle Cafe for hosting us ❤️

Here’s some photos from the event! 

Kites For A Cause: Clean-ups, Community and Creativity in Frogtown!

If our Instagram feed is any indicator, we’ve been having a blast with our Kites For A Cause workshop series this summer!

We’ve nearly reached the halfway point (don’t panic, you’ve still got time to attend a session if you haven’t yet!), so we wanted to drop in and share a little bit more about the program…

Kites for a Cause is a series of one-day, pop-up-style workshops and river clean-ups hosted through our Frogtown partner site, Spoke Bicycle Cafe ( right along the L.A River bike path!) During each session, we are inviting the public to help clean up a section of the L.A river, and then join local artists in creating art objects (kites, flags, etc) inspired by their immediate neighborhoods and surrounding environment.

We have been having a wonderful time meeting our neighbors as they stroll along the bike path, and inviting them to take a minute or two to speak with us about ways to protect the river habitat. So many wonderful ideas have been shared, and we’ve been really inspired by everyone’s unique visions of what a happy, healthy community can look like. 

By granting the public the opportunity to create alongside talented local artists Robin Banks and Sarah Farmer, we think we’ve found a really fun way to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our local waterways. And more importantly, what we are doing each Saturday is having a real impact…

Together with our participants, we’ve collected over 25 pounds of trash from the L.A River so far, and created more than 15 stunning works of art to display! 

 

The remaining Kites for a Cause pop-ups are scheduled for Saturdays August 17th and 24th from 10am to 2pm, and in the spirit of our mission to provide creative educational opportunities to all, every workshop is free to the public and accessible to people all ages and abilities. 

We hope to see your faces in the coming weeks! 

MÚCARO for Puerto Rico

The real purpose of MÚCARO for Puerto Rico’s art education is not necessarily to only create more professional artists, it is to create an opportunity to inspire more Puerto Ricans to be critical thinkers, to keep their minds curious and to continue aspiring to have productive lives.”                          – NiNO Alicea


We’ve got a very exciting announcement to share with you all! 

Our friend, ally and artist mentor El Nino Alicea is launching his latest creative manifestation, MÚCARO for Puerto Rico this month – with RuckusRoots as the official fiscal sponsor! 

You may remember our collaboration on MÚCARO from back in 2017. The installation was that year’s Burning Man Honoraria Art Grant recipient, representing the first full-scale piece on the Playa by a Puerto Rican artist. As you know, the recent hurricanes have caused catastrophic damage to the community, the economy and to the infrastructure of this small island. Now in 2019, we are creating a new version of MÚCARO on the island of Puerto Rico itself! The mission of this new installation is to utilize our creative skills to help with rebuilding efforts, lift and empower the local economy, and provide a space of healing, education, and inspiration to community members for years to come. 

RuckusRoots is especially excited about this last aspect of the project. In addition to sponsoring MÚCARO for Puerto Rico, we will be providing curriculum development for the public programming that will be hosted at the site. This public space will be used as a classroom to educate people on practical skills to aid in rebuilding efforts such as roofing or solar panel installation. In addition, we hope to foster relationships with local artists and community members who can offer their skills and creativity to others in a variety of contexts.

All Puerto Ricans have been impacted by this natural disaster, and this project aims to harness the power and resilience of this community to not only construct the piece itself, but also enjoy the art and draw inspiration from this collaborative installation in the future. 

Thanks for your continued support as we work to make sustainable and creative education available to a wider audience; we hope you’ll share our excitement as we proceed with this incredible project in Puerto Rico! If you’d like to donate to help fund the owl build, you can click the button below! 

Thank you! 

Latest Update from Wild Art

Our recent Wild Art program took place at Eucalyptus Elementary School in Hawthorne, CA during the fall semester of 2018. Our Artist Mentors worked with 200 4th graders over a six-week session – each teaching a total of 12 integrated art/ecology/sustainability lessons we developed especially for Eucalyptus Elementary students. We even brought in wildlife expert, Miguel Ordenana, from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to teach the students about urban wildlife right in their own backyards and how to help protect their local environments. For their culminating project, students made a canvas out of recycled plastic bags and created a painting inspired by LA wildlife – connecting their lessons about conservation methods, ecology and creativity together in one piece. 

We are so excited to share the video below – featuring our artists at work in the classrooms and highlighting students busy making art!  As you can see, a single canvas is made from 20 recycled plastic bags, and this with this canvas-making process, we were able to divert 4000 plastic bags from local landfills, river and streets! 

The final step in for this program is to create a mural from the student’s individual canvas paintings. It will be a great way for the students to see their work displayed on campus and share our work with the larger school community. We are currently in the last stages of this and hope to install the mural on campus mid to late March 2019! 

Stay tuned – we’ll be posting lots of pics as the mural comes together. But for now, please enjoy this Wild Art video and feel free to share with your friends via our YouTube channel!

WILD ART PROGRAM AT EUCALYPTUS ELEMENTARY

We are so pleased to be offering our Wild Art program to almost two hundred 3th and 4th graders at Eucalyptus Elementary in Hawthorne, CA this semester. We are already halfway through our session there – time is flying by!

If you aren’t familiar with Wild Art – here’s a little about the program…

Our curriculum is specially designed to blends visual arts lessons (color theory, composition, drawing, and painting techniques, etc.,) with ecology and conservation education – all focused on local wildlife. Participants are each working to create a final “project”:  a painting of a threatened wildlife species that will be part of an on-campus installation. They are responsible for not only designing and painting their final project, but also creating the canvas upon which it is painted. Here’s the really fun part – these canvases are made from REUSED PLASTIC BAGS! Yep, we developed a system of fusing together old plastic bags collected from around the community so that each student could truly see the ecological impact of their project – start to finish – and become more aware of their plastic use. Also, the plastic material is durable and waterproof – which will come in handy when these final paintings are installed as community mural on campus at Eucalyptus Elementary next spring.

Our participants are working with young, professional artists to learn artistic skills and theories, and we hired three amazing new Artist Mentors especially for this program! You can learn more about them all here. The students also receive environmental education from a wildlife expert courtesy of our friends at Natural History Museum Los Angeles to learn about the incredible biodiversity that exists in their own backyards, parks, schools, and neighborhoods.

We hope that Wild Art will be the first step in leading young people to engage in their local community and possibly beyond Los Angeles. More than anything, we believe in the importance of allowing young students to see the direct connection between their creative work and local conservation efforts. These young people not only creating a platform to creatively express themselves and connect to nature in L.A, but to take ownership of and create change in their community.

Follow us on Instagram for updates & pics from inside the classroom, and click here to see footage from our 2017 Wild Art installation at the LA Zoo!  

Here are some recent pics of the program! Stay tuned for the mural install in the spring!

How Does Educating Girls Help Heal the Planet?

In order to answer the question posed in the title of this blog, we’re going to walk you through the Community Listening Project, which wrapped up last week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA. 

We were both challenged and inspired throughout this semester-long program, and learned a lot along the way! As you may know, RuckusRoots usually runs larger-scale programs and events, so this project provided a rare chance to work closely with a small group of young teen girls through our partnership with Girls, Inc .

Our focus in this program was to teach the girls about the power of listening, research and data collection. We wanted to explore the idea that when opinions are backed up by fact, your voice can be even more powerful! Artistically, the girls learned photography and graphic design skills, and used them to create protest posters about their research topics.

Our work began at the beginning of the spring school semester, and we launched right in with a film screening of “Little Stones” by rising filmmaker Sophia Kruz, which follows the lives of four women using their creativity to improve the lives of their peers and empower them to fight gender oppression. We spent hours talking about how art can be harnessed as a tool for social change, discussed some examples of this, and asked each other what we most wanted to see changed in our local communities. As this program was all about listening, we quickly learned through classroom interviews and surveys with the local community that the topic of SELF-LOVE was something the girls wanted to address as a theme. The idea of self-love encompasses many of the smaller issues and concerns that the girls wanted to explore, like bullying, gender stereotypes, body image and beauty standards. 

How does this relate to sustainability? We asked ourselves this same question. The concept of “self-love” is a complex social issue that speaks to happiness and quality-of-life, both of which are important factors in creating sustainable communities. And when we delved deeper into many of the issues faced by girls and women around the world today, we found some illuminating research.  When girls are taught to value, support and encourage themselves and each other, they are more likely to grow up into empowered young women. And guess what? Women like this are one of the most constructive forces to levy social change, according to environmentalist and best-selling author Paul Hawken. Research shows that educated and engaged women have greater economic independence, happier, healthier, more productive families, and contribute to lower mortality rates worldwide. They can be more effective stewards of food, soil, trees, and water. In fact, Project Drawdown rates the education of women and girls as the 6th most effective action we can take as a society to reverse the current climate crisis! 

We truly enjoyed seeing the participants come up with creative and insightful ideas on their chosen topic of self-love. Drawing inspiration from our class discussions of street art, photography and protest art, the girls learned to illustrate their thoughts visually. Working first on paper to sketch and lay out their ideas, they then worked with several design apps to create their finished posters. They turned out beautifully! We even drew inspiration from these designs and turned them into T-shirts!

 Scroll down for a sampling of completed student posters, photos from the program, and an info graphic revealing the results and discoveries of the girls’ research. We took these results and posters to local school leaders to address the identified issues of bullying and suicide among teen girls in Compton, and successfully advocated for a no-tolerance bulling policy at the school.

We will be sharing stories from the program and posters at Story Bazaar, on Sunday June 24th – join us! 

To learn more about this program, visit our Community Listening Project page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Program Updates: ARTivism, “Little Stones”, and Self-Love

Hey all! 

It’s time to share some updates about our program progress over at Lifeline Charter High School and Girls, Inc.

The Community Listening Project is in full swing and we’ve already completed our third session with the students. Christine and Allegra have been busy behind the scenes both designing the curriculum and running the day-to-day sessions in the classroom with our new artist mentor, Rocky Natalicchio. (To learn more about Rocky’s work as an activist and photojournalist, click here!) 

Our first session was focused on getting to know one another and introducing the project itself. We talked to our participants about how art can be harnessed as a tool for social change and discussed some examples of this in our local LA communities. We were also lucky enough to watch the documentary film, “Little Stones” by rising filmmaker Sophia Kruz, which follows the lives of four women using their creativity to improve the lives of their peers and empower them to fight gender oppression. Our participants responded well to the film’s content and we finished up the day feeling both inspired and excited for the work to come! 

 

Our next objective to tackle was choosing a theme and overall focus for the program. We discussed this with the girls during the second session and reach consensus as a group – this program is, after all, about what they see in their communities and what is important to them! What began as a quick brainstorm turned into an engaging conversation on wide array of topics ranging from bullying prevention to beauty standards. We finally choose SELF-LOVE as the overall theme for our semester together, as the idea of self-love encompasses many of the smaller issues and concerns that the girls wanted to explore.  It also relates to sustainability because “self love” is a social issue that encompasses happiness and quality-of-life, both of which are important factors in creating sustainable communities. 

In our third session we dove into the interview process and came up with questions as a class that the girls will use to interview their friends, family and neighbors about our topic of self love.  We will use the data they collect to find out how our community members feel around the issue of self-love. We will also use our findings to inform our artwork- photos and graphic design posters! 

We couldn’t be more excited for the next step! Remember, if you enjoyed this update on the Community Listening Project, follow us on Instagram and Facebook because we’re always posting program pics (and other fun stuff) throughout the week! 

Community Listening Project Launches this week!

Happy 2018, folks! This month transitioned us into a new year, and with it, a bunch of exciting developments for our organization! 

We are pleased to announce that our Community Listening Project (funded by Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot) launches this week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA. 

This exciting program, in collaboration with our community partners at the L.A. chapter of Girls, Inc., will empower young women with the education and tools needed to be effective leaders in their communities.  We’ve designed a dynamic curriculum aimed at teaching our participants how to effectively:

  • Make connections about gender inequality and how sustainability concerns adversely affect women, both within their local communities and across the globe
  • Use technology ask questions and strategically gather data about their communities 
  • Communicate effectively through visual tools such as symbolism, photography, drawing and graphic design
  • Create, and participate in the installation of, a guerilla-style wheat paste poster installation to raise awareness of a sustainability issue
  • Utilize tools for civic engagement to build relationships with both community members and leaders

The project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their women in their community today! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help us in the Community Listening Program, we are enlisting the aid and skills of our newest artist mentor, Raquel Natalicchio! Author of recent publication, Spray for Peace, Raquel has most recently worked as a mentor to young women through LA-based Las Fotos Project. She also travels internationally working as a photojournalist! Check out more of her work and current projects here! We know she is going to be a wonderful asset to our team and an inspiring role model of our program participants, so we’re very excited to have her on board! 

And last but not least: we’ll be organizing a public event in the late Spring! We want to give these young women at Lifeline Charter the opportunity to present both their data and artwork at a local community event to further build interest and engagement around these sustainability issues! Stay tuned, and make sure to follow RuckusRoots on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll be posting lots of photos and updates from the classroom as the Community Listening Project kicks into gear! 

 

Community Listening Project Launches in 2018 with Girls, Inc

Thanks to funds from our friends at LUSH Cosmetics our newest program, The Community Listening Project , will launch in early 2018. We are piloting this program in collaboration with the LA chapter of Girls, Inc , a partnership we are honored and excited to announce! 

Girls, Inc , is a nationally-recognized nonprofit providing “at-risk” girls with life-changing support and real solutions to the unique issues they face. The Los Angeles Chapter serves Title I schools in South Los Angeles, Watts and Compton, with populations challenged by family poverty, gang violence and homelessness. We’ll be working with the high school girls from Lifeline Charter School in series of after school sessions alongside Girls, Inc for this program and a 3rd installment of Chimes for Change immediately afterwards! 

The Community Listening Project is specifically designed to teach participants the skills they need to connect to their communities and deepen their impact at the grassroots level!

Students will learn: 

  •  to interview community members about sustainability issues that impact their daily lives; i.e. traffic, pollution, littering, etc.
  • to compile and analyze data using technology
  • to create visual graphics and individual art pieces (chimes, songs) to illustrate the major issues and concerns in their community
  • the fundamentals of community organizing and civic engagement

This project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their community right now. They’ll also be presenting their data and artwork at a local community event (TBA!) to further build interest and engagement around these important issues affecting us all! 

We can’t wait to get started!

Many thanks to everyone for the continued support of RuckusRoots and the work we do! You’ll be hearing more from us soon as we share our preparations to launch these new programs and announce our End-of-Year-Giving campaign, so stay dialed in and make sure you’re following our social channels for all the fun behind-the-scenes sneak peaks!