“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!
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!
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!
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!
We’ve missed you! It’s been a super busy summer…read on to find out everything the RuckusRoots team has been up to these last few months.
First up – We are super excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant through our partner, LUSH Cosmetics, for the second year in a row! The Lush Charity Pot has generously granted our organization over $20,000 in funds to continue our Chimes for Change curriculum and to launch a brand new program in the Spring of 2018. We can’t wait to announce the details soon! You can read more about our last Chimes for Change project in collaboration with Tortoise Industries, local artist, James Peterson, and the high school students of Larchmont Charter School here.
Next up on our list of announcements: the successful installation MÚCARO on the playa at Burning Man 2017. Our dear friend and artist mentor, El NiNo, became the first Puerto Rican to receive the Burning Man Honoraria Grant to build MÚCARO this summer, and we were thrilled to lend a hand in the process! The giant owl structure represented the island of Puerto Rico and was dedicated to arts education; specifically the artist’s mother, Mrs. Hilda Alicea, who worked as a teacher for more than 45 years encouraging kids to pursue their dreams. We encountered many teachers and arts advocates on the playa who were touched by this installation personally, and we were so proud of how well NiNo’s work was received!
Another cool aspect of the piece was its interactivity. Viewers could walk inside the owl through a door under the wing, climb a spiral staircase 32 feet up into the owl’s head to peer out the eyes onto the desert below. The head also spun around to give participants a 360 degree view of the playa.
Now that the burn is over, we want to keep spreading the MÚCARO love and support! You can still purchase these sweet little owl pendants (designed by the artist) and all proceeds will be donated to the resilient people of Puerto Rico, in efforts to rebuild after the recent hurricane. P.S these pendant necklaces make great gifts – get your holiday shopping done early! WWW.LEAVEITTONiNO.COM
We’ve got several exciting collaborations with local L.A organizations in the works for this fall/winter, and we are busy working develop our strategic plan for 2018! Are you subscribed to our mailing list yet? If not, you can do so here – we’ll be launching a series of exciting new videos and tools for edits Check out our Facebook and Instagram for little snippets of the action as it unfolds, and we’ll be back again soon to share more!
We’re thrilled to say that we ended 2015 with a bang, thanks to many of you who contributed to our crowdfunder. We are proud of the work we did in 2015 and can’t wait to build upon it in 2016.
Here’s what’s happening in upcoming months:
-Rewards for crowdfunder donors will be mailed ASAP. The custom T-shirts by Adrien Oneiga (pictured above) are in and will be shipped ASAP! Other rewards will go out this month too.
-Wild Art Sculpture build begins! Our first step is to weatherproof the metal paintings, and thanks to the fundraiser and recent consultations with experts, we can begin doing that in February. We are securing further funding to bring this sculpture to life. We will update you as soon as we know more!
Nature hikes and birding days with Friends of Griffith Park: more info about this soon!
Collaboration with Black Box Consortium: We are very pleased to announce an upcoming collaboration with a new non profit organization, Black Box Consortium. A collective of brilliant architects, engineers and designers, this group offers skill-building workshops to underserved youth to help launch their career potential to the next level. As a part of this collaboration, we are…
–Launching Chimes for Change program with help from Black Box Consortium. More info soon!
With only three days left of our crowdfunder and we’re super excited to say we’ve raised over $13,000 so far – almost 70% of our goal of $20K. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed and shared our campaign!
For the final push we are announcing a new reward: custom shirts! Adrien Oneiga is a good friend of the RuckusRoots family, and a talented California-based artist and designer. He has generously donated a design for this campaign. It can be yours for a donation of $50 or more if you donate within the next three days! Please help us reach our goal and support the arts and sustainability in Los Angeles. THANK YOU!
Wild Art, a RuckusRoots program that connects underserved LA teens to nature in their own community and teaches them visual art skills, wrapped up last week at Academia Avance in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Over the course of 8 weeks, nearly 180 eighth and ninth graders worked with professional artist mentor Nino Alicea to learn artistic skills (color theory, composition and still life drawing). The learned about sustainability from RuckusRoots founder Christine Spehar, and also received education from wildlife expert Miguel Ordenana, who taught them about the amazing biodiversity that exists right under their noses in Los Angeles. The students combined these lessons by creating their own wildlife-inspired artwork on painted aluminum–the templates we used are of threatened native species. They chose between a monarch butterfly, a mountain lion, a trout and a peregrine falcon.
We are so proud of all of the students for their hard work and dedication to this program. Some who initially said, “I’m not creative,” or “I don’t like art,” ended up making some of the most beautiful work. We also interviewed some of our participants and are in the process of putting together a video with that footage, so stay tuned!
The next step for the nearly 200 beautifully painted aluminum plates is to combine them to design one, large permanent sculpture. Collaborator, friend and RuckusRoots artist mentor James Peterson is helping us with this piece of the puzzle. Next, we will work with the city and other local organizations to get our sculpture built and placed permanently. Our students will be able to help with that process and see their art pieces displayed this coming fall.
The goal for publicly placing this sculpture is to give our youth a platform to creatively express themselves, connect to nature in LA and to take ownership of and pride in their community. We believe this introduction to wildlife and conservation issues is the first step in leading young people to engagement in and possibly beyond Los Angeles.
Thanks to all who participated, check out our gallery of pictures below and stay tuned for more videos and updates about this program this summer!
We are so excited about this upcoming event. In our effort to hold several mini-fundraisers this holiday season, we have joined forces with an amazing artist of movement and healing, Kristen Huffman. One of our interactive art pieces will be present, and will allow for participants to share a moment of gratitude at the end of the experience. There will also be live ambient jazz music, performed by another local artist. Come bask in healing frequencies and prepare for your best holiday season ever!
We teamed up with 127 middle school students from Academia Avance in Highland Park, CA to create an interactive sculpture made from recycled materials. The program, called TRASHformation, was the only arts education the students received all semester.
At the beginning of the program, we asked participants to come up with ideas for an art piece that would positively affect their community. The winning idea, by 11-year-old Brisa Cabrera Diaz, is entitled “Your Hug,” and is an 11-foot tall sculpture of a teddy bear that absorbs feelings. As Diaz wrote in her proposal, “My art piece is of emotion. When you’re sad you hug it and when you’re mad you can talk to it about your madness. Express your feelings to it.”
RuckusRoots worked with artist Rebekah Waites and five classes of middle school students over the spring semester to collaboratively build the sculpture. Students learned creative problem solving and artistic techniques such as sculptural modeling and fabric mache. Almost every piece of material used to make the sculpture was donated or found in the Highland Park community, including scrap wood, old bed frames, plastic containers, donated fabric, and mattress foam.
The sculpture has several potential new homes, including the Academia Avance High School Campus, and a short stint at the Burning Man Arts Festival. We are hoping to place it at another local gallery for the duration of June and July, 2014. Please contact us if interested in hosting the bear.