Category: Sustainable Lifestyle

Some Food for Thought…

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 😉

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! 

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! 

 

RuckusRoots featured on One Green Planet

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The supercool website One Green Planet recently asked me, founder of RuckusRoots, to write an article about how we can use art to fight for the planet. I was pleased to contribute my views on ARTivism, as well as mention some of my favorite artists who expertly blend the worlds of art and eco-activism.

Check out the article, and let us know: how do you use art to fight for the planet?

Mid-Program Progress: Still Life Drawings by Highland Park Youth

a student creates her still life drawing
A student creates her still life drawing

As part of our newest Urban Wildlife program, students first learn color theory, composition and still life drawing skills before moving on to the bigger, collaborative project. This video shows their mid-program progress.

We have some very talented students in these classes of 8th and 9th graders, and are so excited for the opportunity to offer them arts education, which they would not otherwise receive. Take a look at their skilled work!

This week we move on to urban wildlife education with local experts, planning our big art piece and writing about nature in Los Angeles. Each student will receive a template of a threatened Los Angeles animal that he/or she will paint. All these small pieces will be put together into one permanent art piece over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!