Category: Non Profits We Love

New Year, New Projects, New T-Shirts

Happy 2016, Everyone!

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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:

1907481_999779920032292_6122424271739547589_n-Rewards for crowdfunder donors will be mailed ASAPThe 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!

Spring

 Nature hikes and birding days with Friends of Griffith Park: more info about this soon!

-Fall

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! 

 

VisionLA Fest: Where Climate Change & Art Collide

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock in Los Angeles (somewhere in Griffith Park or the LA River, I assume), you’ve probably stumbled across one of of the great art events taking place as part of VisionLA Fest over the last few weeks. Scheduled to coincide with the Conference on Climate Change in Paris (Nov. 30 – Dec. 11th, 2015), VisionLA Fest brings over 80 art, music, performance, literature and activism events to Los Angeles, most of which are free! The goal of the festival is to “engage communities county-wide, calling for a swift response to the climate crisis and creatively envisioning LA’s sustainable future.” Personally, I love this mission, as it is very similar to that of RuckusRoots. Blending the arts and sustainability to create ARTivism is what we’re all about!

You can be sure we’re going to attend as many of the remaining events as we can. (Until now, I had been one of those unlucky rock-dwellers.) There are several exciting events left, the schedule for which you can find here.

But if you want to know where we’ll be, here are the three events we plan on attending over the next three days.

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Concert for the Climate

December 9 @ 7:30 pm

First Congregational Church,

540 S Commonwealth Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020 United States

“The concert will feature Vicki Ray (California E.A.R. unit, L.A. Phil.) premiering Disappearing Waters, a piano piece with video projection by Lori Pond; the Street Symphony featuring members of the L.A. Philharmonic; and Don Preston (of the Mothers of Invention) performing on organ. The evening will be framed by a panel discussion about the role of music and art in general in the climate movement and broad social change.” Sign me up!

William Close and the Earth Harp Collective Holiday Spectacular

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December 10 @ 6:00 pm8:00 pm

City National Plaza,

515 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071 United States

 

“William delights audiences around the world with his unique large-scale instruments and kinetic visual, musical performances.” Umm…yes please! We’ll be there!

Arts Earth Partnership Presents ENVISION: Closing Celebration of VisionLA ‘15 Fest

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FRI. 12/11 • 7:00pm-11:00pm

Plaza de Culturas Y Artes • 501 N Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 [$25-$100]

A convergence of artists, environmentalists, and concerned citizens who believe the creativity and ingenuity of the Arts & Cultural sector can help manifest a truly sustainable future. The event will feature poetry by LA Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, music by DJ Jedi, an installation dance/concert by String Theory Productions, and awards to local environmental stewards.

Admission includes tamales by Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe and an open bar with beer and wine.

• tickets

Facebook event page

Thanks to VisionLA Fest for putting on such an important, city-wide event. The crucial conversations that happen at convergences like this one are what get us closer to a brighter future for all.

All images from VisionLA Fest.

This week during TRASHformation: Fabric Mache

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Last week saw a lot of progress made in our TRASHformation program at Academia Avance middle school in Highland Park. Since the students had recently learned how to create a small 3D sculptural model, it was now time to think about how we will create the “skin” of our piece. Besides mentoring the students, Rebekah Waites and some very dedicated volunteers (thanks, Doug!) are simultaneously building the large structure. With the overabundance of fabric materials the community donated we thought it best to put those to good use. We introduced the students to a new art method known as “fabric mache”. “Fabric Mache” is in sense very similar to paper mache, it is the cross-stitching of strips of fabric that have been dipped in a solution of glue and water; once dry it becomes a stiff shell that can be painted and/or drilled.

In these upcoming weeks we will begin working towards designing and “stuffing” the interior of the sculpture, ensuring the strength and durability of the bear. We are still searching for a suitable home for this art piece at a Highland Park art gallery. Let us know if you have any leads!

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In Full Swing: TRASHformation in Highland Park


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With our TRASHformation program in full swing at Academia Avance middle school, we decided to push the flow of creativity and excitement by having each student prototype their original sculpture ideas. We did this so each student could gain a greater understanding of the process to creating their own large-scale art piece; from drafting art proposals to making miniature scale models, each student is contributing to and making progress towards our final large-scale sculpture. In our previous class we had each student build the body and form of each work, this week we moved on to painting the exterior with a base coat of white. Soon the students will have their own piece of art to take home, along with the large sculpture, which we will display in the community.

With the miniature projects nearly done, we had eager students help contribute to building the base and structure of the sculpture. We composed our base from recycled bed frames and had already formed its structure from recycled wood and chicken wire. While working with the dangerous tools was a task left to the artist mentors, many students helped out where they could, whether it was painting the base or helping form the body with chicken wire. It was a rewarding day! We closed shop with great hopes for the next week.

Day 2: Academia Avance’s TRASHformation

We started off classes by introducing the selected art proposal from last week, which will serve as inspiration towards our final project. The winner, Brisa Cabrera Diaz, age 11, wrote her proposal based on her experience with her teddy bear, which makes her feel better when she hugs it. She wrote of an individual capable of expressing his/her feelings freely to something  so safe and pure, titling her concept “Your Hug”. To reflect this, the piece we build with the students will be a giant teddy bear that can “absorb” the feelings of the community with its glowing LED heart. We are planning to build the piece using old stuffed animals, toys, books, etc. The concept reflects warm ideas that focus on the emotional well being of the community and the artist herself.

In order to collect the materials to make our art piece, we had a few classes begin making posters asking for donations. Anything from old shoes and clothes to discarded toys and books will do.

Next week we will collect the materials, take inventory and begin planning our design.

 

 

 

Interview with a Highland Park Innovator

     Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.

     Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.

     In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.

     Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.

 

Off the Grid for a Greater Good

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Not many people can say that they’ve even traveled across the country, let alone cycled across its entirety. And that’s not even the impressive part. Rob Greenfield set out with a mission to ride across the US living entirely off the grid. Meaning he would eat locally produced, organic, and unpackaged foods, use water solely from natural sources like rivers, wells, and rain, use electricity generated purely by portable alternative energy devices, create near zero trash​, compost all food waste, and shop at businesses that are committed to creating a healthy planet.

And on August 2nd, after 104 days, 4,700 miles and 18 states, he did just that.

His trip began in San Francisco in April  and ended in Waitsfield, Vermont. That’s the location of 1% for the Planet, Greenfield is promoting the alliance of businesses that donate 1 percent of their revenues to environmental organizations.

Greenfield, from San Diego, decided to make the journey because he was  determined to demonstrate that it’s possible to live more sustainably, also to encourage people to decrease their impact on the environment. And to get peoples attention (even biking naked at times!) and not only thinking of living more consciously, he wanted to show it was actually possible. 

During the trip, Greenfield would often dumpster dive for food that was still good or fill his water bottle with leaky faucets or half empty water bottles he found. When it came time for cleaning up, he bathed in rivers, oceans and lakes. While he claims that biking wasn’t about his message at all, even the bamboo bike he rode was used to promote the elimination of deforestation.

 

For more on his adventure and pictures from  his trip check out the GreenfieldAdventures website.

 Photo by Brent Martin
 

New Video: “Eye in the Sky” at Legacy LA

After completing our collaborative art piece with Legacy LA youth, RuckusRoots and a few of the participants presented ‘Eye in the Sky’ to members of the Ramona Gardens community at the Legacy LA facilities, where it will permanently be on display.

The event , called ‘Youth Teach In’ was orchestrated by third year members of Legacy’s Youth Council Program, where they presented and discussed some of the pressing issues facing Ramona Gardens today, such as air quality, safety and food access. The program is for youth between the ages of 14-18; they meet weekly to participate in social justice and political education workshops, learning strategies and skills to organize their communities.

After the discussion, participants from RuckusRoots’ TRASHformation at Legacy took the time to explain why they made the sculpture and what it meant to them, echoing the safety and surveillance issues the Youth Council addressed. The piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants. Our youth explained that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of being constantly watched. Our tree-shaped sculpture displays images the youth took, both positive and negative, and is then topped with a large paper mache eye, meant to evoke this theme of perception, both that of the police and of the actual community members.

It was great to see the participants present their work and then answer questions from a to a captivated audience. The sculpture, meant to be a statement piece, definitely made people take a second look and think deeper about an issue that’s important to Ramona Gardens.

We hope to get the piece displayed or presented to city council with some of the youth we worked with, to address the surveillance camera issue.

Legacy LA TRASHformation Complete

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A few months ago we began a TRASHformation program with a group of at risk youth from the project housing community of Ramona Gardens in East LA. The youth, who we met with at Legacy LA, a non profit dedicated to making positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence.

This TRASHformation is a collaborative effort that reflects issues surrounding police-installed surveillance cameras in Ramona Gardens, since most of our participants sited the cameras as an issue that affects on a daily basis. Our piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants.

The Legacy youth told us that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of constantly being watched, and that their presence emphasizes only the negative aspects of their community. We decided to flip this idea on its head by arming each participant with his/her own disposable camera. The participants then used the cameras to capture daily occurances in Ramona Gardens, both good and bad, in an attempt to accurately portray their community. We collected almost 400 photos from the Legacy group. Together we built a sculpture in the shape of a tree and displayed the images on the trunk going from positive to negative and then topped the tree with a large paper mache eye. The iris and pupil of the eye are also created using photos and negatives taken by the Legacy youth, and the whole thing is stained brown to resemble a tree.

The sculpture is made from a collection of found chicken wire, repurposed wood, and recycled newspaper, then covered in pictures taken by Legacy LA youth. Thanks to Kyle McCullough for his paper mache instruction on this piece!

We hope to get the piece displayed or presented to city council with some of the youth we worked with, to address the surveillance camera issue.

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Legacy LA TRASHformation Nearly Complete

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 We’re putting the final touches on the TRASHformation piece we’ve created with young adults from LA non profit Legacy LA, an organization that focuses on youth development. Its mission is to make positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence.

RuckusRoots partnered with Legacy LA to create a TRASHformation sculpture with fourteen at-risk youth from the project housing community of Ramona Gardens in east LA. This TRASHformation is a collaborative effort that reflects issues surrounding police-installed surveillance cameras in Ramona Gardens, the housing project where most of the participants reside. Our piece explores themes of perspective: what the cameras see and what they don’t, the true Ramona Gardens (both positive and negative aspects) as seen through the eyes of our participants.

The Legacy youth told us that the surveillance cameras give them the feeling of constantly being watched, and that their presence emphasizes only the negative aspects of their community. We decided to flip this idea on its head by arming each participant with his/her own disposable camera. The participants then used the cameras to capture daily occurances in Ramona Gardens, both good and bad, in an attempt to accurately portray their community. We collected almost 400 photos from the Legacy group. Together we built a sculpture in the shape of a tree and displayed the images on the trunk going from positive to negative and then topped the tree with a large paper mache eye. We are almost done with the sculpture, can’t wait to post final pictures next week!

The sculpture is made from a collection of found chicken wire, repurposed wood, and recycled newspaper, then covered in pictures taken by Legacy LA youth. Thanks to Kyle McCullough for his paper mache instruction on this piece!