“As someone who didn’t have support when navigating the environmental field, I asked myself who I wanted to be for others, and that’s an educator.” – Isaias Hernandez
Our online summer program is off to a wonderful start! We wanted to design a digital program that directly addressed creativity, sustainability and social justice, while also providing less-visible voices in the environmental movement an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience – enter: Intersections!
We launched last week with our first guest speaker, Isaias Hernandez of Queer Brown Vegan! He joined our Executive Director, Chrissy Spehar in a live chat via Instagram for a really lively and engaging conversation on topics ranging from graphic design, virtual activism via social media and models for environmentalism that go beyond just a trendy “eco-friendly lifestyle.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Isaias experienced environmentalism from a different angle as a low-income person of color, and explained that much of his activist roots stem from the frustrations and invisibility he experienced growing up. He recently gained his degree in Environmental Science at UC Berkeley, and has been doing diversity inclusion activism, academic research, and creative work in environmental spaces since then. Isaias talked with us about co-creating Alluvia Magazine, which highlights BIPOC environmentalists through visuals and storytelling about climate justice. Later, he started the Queer Brown Vegan page and blog intentionally as an educational resource and safe space for like-minded folks to learn terms and concepts from the environmental movement while empowering them to take action.
He explained to Chrissy that back in college, he often struggled to connect complex terminologies and concepts together. Upon graduating, he realized how important it was to simplify and breakdown each term to help improve others’ understanding and knowledge of eco-justice. Isaias’ mission now is to amplify other voices and delve deeper into sustainability and environmentalism – especially where contextual histories have been oversimplified, white-washed, or even erased entirely.
You can access the whole interview with Isaias on our IGTV if you missed it, and be sure to follow Queer Brown Vegan for approachable information on topics like veganism, zero-waste, eco-justice for info on his upcoming projects.
P.S Make sure you’ve got your calendar set for 10am PST – every Wednesday in July we’re going to be hopping on Instagram and chatting with more amazing folks!
Hi RuckusRoots friends and family! It’s time for another program update…
If you’ve been keeping up with us via email or on the ‘gram, you’ll know that our TRASHFORMATION collaboration with FEAST For All went through a bit of an evolution this spring, as we were met with the COVID-19 crisis just one week into the start of the program! Our initial plan was to create an on-site mural installation made from collaged food packaging in our weekly workshops with Teaching Artist, Allegra Bick-Maurischat. As Feast for All’s mission is to make cooking classes, nutritional education and fresh produce accessible to low-income families at their SouthCentral L.A location, we designed a mural inspired by seasonal fruits and veggies for our project with them. But when the pandemic hit Los Angeles mid-March, we quickly canceled these in-person workshops and hopped online!
Our iteration of the above program turned into Food for Thought – a free, weekly Zoom class where Allegra taught different collaging techniques to participants using recycled food packaging as material inspiration. Each week, we had local vegan chef, Carmen Karlsgodt come on to chat with us about a seasonal fruit or vegetable and share a recipe using that item for the participants to try at home with their families. We then focused our creative project for the day using that same fruit or veggie as our inspiration! The kids (and adults) who joined in each week learned to combine creative re-use with traditional design skills like pattern, color and texture into mixed media works of art. At the end of our sessions together, we all had individual Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Food Calendars featuring items like artichokes, strawberries, cucumbers and more! So much tasty seasonal goodness 😋
While there was certainly a learning curve when it came to moving things online, these workshops quickly became the highlight of our week – providing an opportunity to connect with members of our community and make art together in a new digital space. We had kids and families participating from across the country, friends and supporters dropping in just to say hi and get creative, and new folks joining the workshops up until the last session!
A quick shoutout to our program funders at the California Arts Council and the L.A Department of Cultural Affairs as well as our partner Feast for All! Thanks for all the support as we quickly adjusted to the times, and got this program up and running online! Now, more than ever, we feel very blessed for the ability to continue providing free and accessible programming to our community, and it’s our plan to keep doing just that by bringing you more online content in the coming months.
P.S if you missed these Food for Thought workshops, or just want to continue creating with us at home, Allegra designed these downloadable coloring book pages inspired by artwork from the classes! Each of these six Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Calendar includes a coloring page and the recipe for that month! Check them out 😉
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!
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 ❤️
“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!