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Our holiday wish…

It’s always around the holidays when we are reminded of how blessed our little organization is. We are so grateful to count you among our ever-growing community of supporters, collaborators & allies.

This year, each and every one of you continued to make a real and lasting impact for our immediate L.A community, arts education and the planet by aligning yourself with RuckusRoots’ goals and values. 

What more could we ask for?! 

We do have one item on our wishlist this year, however. Maybe it will resonate with you…

Our wonderful new interns (read up on our Strong Roots internship program if you’re interested) recently surveyed Highland Park community members about their hopes for their neighborhood in the coming year. What they learned echoes exactly what we’ve been hearing from citizens all over the L.A area – from Culver City to Echo Park, South Central, West Hollywood and beyond! 

People want deepened connections with one another. They want safer, more beautiful neighborhoods. They want to access to resources and tools that will teach them how to affect real, visible change in their homes and communities. 

It’s a tall order.

But here’s what we realized: We’re all on a mission to achieve the same goals!

We’re continually inspired and awed by the resilience and innovation of the Angelenos we meet through our work. Let’s get together and tackle these goals in 2020! 

Here’s to another year of empowering communities, deepening connections and making sustainable creative experiences accessible to all…

Happy holidays!

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! 

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!

TRASHformation: Shining Light, Building Shade

We were thrilled to be asked by our corporate partners, LUSH Cosmetics, to participate in their Western Regional Managers Conference in Scottsdale Arizona, May 2018. Not only did we learn more about the amazingly progressive ethic of LUSH and their Charity Pot program, but we also were able to share RuckusRoots’ mission with lots of wonderful Lushies and run a version of our TRASHformation program in support of No More Deaths, another LUSH-funded organization.

No More Deaths is a volunteer-led, Arizona-based organization aimed at stopping immigration-related deaths and dangerous situations on the US-Mexico border. They believe that saving the lives of those enduring treacherous, life-threatening treks across the desert is a humanitarian responsibility. However, they have faced much backlash both politically and legally for the simple act of providing water, food, and very basic medical attention to these suffering humans.

We designed a TRASHformation project to directly aid No More Deaths volunteers by offering both cooling shade and uplifting messages. Nearly 120 participants built our “Woven Hearts Art Tarp” in about three hours. It is made almost entirely out of recycled materials (LUSH charity pot lids, recycled fabric, etc.). Colorful zip ties connect thousands of lids, while hundreds of positive messages of solidarity adorn fabric circles glued to the lids. This 10’ x 7’ quilt-like piece will act as a mobile shade tarp and can be installed in many different ways—off of existing plants, vehicles, structures or poles. It will last for quite some time in the searing desert sun thanks to the durability of the materials, and its breathable nature will allow high desert winds to pass through without causing any danger.

Want to build one of your own? We put together an Instructable that guides you through exactly how to do it! 

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!