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 are so pleased to be offering our Wild Art program to almost two hundred 3th and 4th graders at Eucalyptus Elementary in Hawthorne, CA this semester. We are already halfway through our session there – time is flying by!
If you aren’t familiar with Wild Art – here’s a little about the program…
Our curriculum is specially designed to blends visual arts lessons (color theory, composition, drawing, and painting techniques, etc.,) with ecology and conservation education – all focused on local wildlife. Participants are each working to create a final “project”: a painting of a threatened wildlife species that will be part of an on-campus installation. They are responsible for not only designing and painting their final project, but also creating the canvas upon which it is painted. Here’s the really fun part – these canvases are made from REUSED PLASTIC BAGS! Yep, we developed a system of fusing together old plastic bags collected from around the community so that each student could truly see the ecological impact of their project – start to finish – and become more aware of their plastic use. Also, the plastic material is durable and waterproof – which will come in handy when these final paintings are installed as community mural on campus at Eucalyptus Elementary next spring.
Our participants are working with young, professional artists to learn artistic skills and theories, and we hired three amazing new Artist Mentors especially for this program! You can learn more about them all here. The students also receive environmental education from a wildlife expert courtesy of our friends at Natural History Museum Los Angeles to learn about the incredible biodiversity that exists in their own backyards, parks, schools, and neighborhoods.
We hope that Wild Art will be the first step in leading young people to engage in their local community and possibly beyond Los Angeles. More than anything, we believe in the importance of allowing young students to see the direct connection between their creative work and local conservation efforts. These young people not only creating a platform to creatively express themselves and connect to nature in L.A, but to take ownership of and create change in their community.
Follow us on Instagram for updates & pics from inside the classroom, and click here to see footage from our 2017 Wild Art installation at the LA Zoo!
Here are some recent pics of the program! Stay tuned for the mural install in the spring!
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!
We’d like to take this opportunity to formally invite you to the opening event of our latest Chimes for Change project in collaboration with Tortoise Industries and the students of Larchment High Charter School!
Join us for this very special evening of audio-visual artwork, student presentations, and ARTivism hosted by our friends at ArtShareL.A!
- Explore the large, metal tree sculpture displaying wind chimes made from found and recycled objects!
- Participate in a “silent listening party” of student-made electronic music!
- Discover sustainability facts and figures collected by student-assembled sensors!
- Mingle with artist mentors and meet the students behind the chimes!
- Gather with us as we “chime in” about how art can transform our community!
We’d like to extend a thank you to Larchmont Charter School for hosting our program and Tortoise Industries for donating fabricaiton of our interactive tree sculpture, designed by James Peterson! A special thanks to LUSH Charity Pot for making the iPads used in this program possible. And thank you to all our wonderful art mentors, volunteers and students who worked so hard to make this project come to life.
P.S Make sure to bring headphones and a smart phone so you can participate in the silent listening party – each chime is accompanied by a QR code that will lead you to a song and statement by each student artist!
RSVP soon to reserve your tickets! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chimes-for-change-opening-reception-tickets-33795666749
Our students at Larchmont High have been really hard at work these past few months designing their chimes and learning from our Artist Mentors in the process. Our vision for hanging these beautiful chimes from a portable, tree-like form have come true – and the end result is going to be amazing! We’ve been extremely lucky in our partnership with Tortoise Industries for the fabrication part of this project, and we’re happy to say that work has begun on the structural elements of the tree!
With the design process completed and construction underway, we are thrilled to announce that the big launch and project unveiling of Chimes for Change is going to take place Friday, June 2nd in the exhibitions space at Art Share L.A! Founded in 1997, they maintain a large warehouse in the heart of the DTLA Arts District, and are been committed to being a thriving community-focused arts space in Los Angeles. Art Share provides affordable housing, studios, and performance space for local artists- which makes them a unique and much-needed force in the development of artists and community organized projects (like Chimes for Change) who might not have the benefit of widespread exposure, major gallery backing, or exhibition space.
The festivities will begin at 7pm and will include student presentations, light refreshments and more information about what we do here at Ruckus Roots. More importantly, this is an opportunity to interact with this beautiful sound and sculptural installation you’ve been hearing so much about! Partnering with Art Share for this opening event gives our students an opportunity to see their work displayed in a professional gallery space and interacting with a broader public – so we really hope we can see you and your friends there!
Mark your calendars for June 2nd and stay tuned for more details as the event gets closer – we’re sure to have more than a few surprises up our sleeves 🙂 Last thing: a huge thank you goes our to everyone who helped support, fund, design and bring with this project to fruition – see you at Art Share in June!