Category: Urban Wildlife

Summer Program Wrap

Summer of 2020 has come and gone; Fall is already upon us! We wrapped up our summer program last month – and before we jump into our autumn updates and upcoming projects – we wanted to share a little more about it.

Our work exists at the intersection of creativity and social justice, and as an organization, we felt it critical to acknowledge- especially during this time in history – that environmentalism, art and activism do not exist in a vacuum. We work very hard to develop programs that provide vulnerable populations free, artistic opportunities focused on improving their communities and amplifying their creative voices. And it was in this same spirit of allyship and solidarity that we launched a summer program to open a dialogue with voices long underrepresented in our line of work.

Intersections was designed to allow viewers a peek inside the lives and work of the people within the intersectional environmentalism movement via virtual studio tours and candid conversations with Executive Director, Chrissy Spehar. This entirely digital program (shoutout to the ease and accessibility of IGTV!)  directly addressed creativity, sustainability and social justice while providing less-visible voices in the eco-movement an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience.

We spoke with seven incredibly inspiring folks of color – from community organizers, visual artists, musicians, sustainable chefs, environmental educators and other professionals – and we took away so much from these conversations.  If you missed any of these Intersections live, go back and watch them on our IGTV page and enjoy this little sneak-peak of all our featured guests below! 

Isaias Hernandez, @queerbrownvegan (L.A native, environmental educator and zero-waste advocate) spoke to us about racial, social and eco-justice – and how we can all dig in deeper to the “why” behind movements like zero-waste living and #plasticfreejuly. Watch here.

Mahoganee Amiger, @mahoganeeamiger (South Carolina-based recording artist, activist and founder of @responsibleartistry) shared her wonderful music with us and spoke to us about her approach to artistry as a form of revolution. Watch here.

Aura Vasquez, @auravasquezofficial (Columbian-born immigrant, eco-advocate and community organizer) discussed the power of sharing our stories, the power of personal connection in creating real social change. Watch here.

Teresa Flores, @tereesafloores (interdisciplinary artist based in East LA) chatted with us about her work and how she explores ideas around culture, race, place and history. Watch here

NiNo Alicea, @leaveittonino (Puerto Rican artist, educator and set designer) shared with us about everything from his Burning Man Honoraria awards to Hurricane Maria and his latest public art project #Múcaro4PR. Watch here.

Rieetha Dhamne, @zanzaneet (Indian-born, indigenous cooking blogger and sustainability activist) gave us a kitchen tour and shared how traditional Indian practices can be used to enhance our connection to the precious planet. Watch here.

Kamilah Sanders, @kivanoir (Nashville-based female founder and marketing guru) dove deep into the importance of art for communicating our vision for social impact, her passion for sustainable fashion and more. Watch here. 

Thanks for joining us in a summer that was full of important growth and wonderful success in exploring the opportunities of online programming offers. We can’t wait to share our plans for the fall with you all soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Presentation: Opening Day at the Los Angeles Zoo

Our Wild Art Sculpture concluded its 5-week exhibition at the Los Angeles Zoo yesterday, after celebrating Endangered Species Day for the Zoo’s Wild for the Planet event. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful month, during which we met many awesome Angelinos who care about our planet, its creatures and the arts! The sculpture is moving to its new home in Highland Park, where the students who built it will be able to enjoy it for years to come. 

Until then, enjoy this video, which shows our students presenting their piece on opening day at the Los Angeles Zoo, as well as artist mentor Nino Alicea sharing his thoughts on the power of collaborative arts to improve communities & change lives. 

Unveiling of Wild Art Sculpture at the LA Zoo

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On April 23rd, we unveiled our Wild Art sculpture at the Los Angeles Zoo. Thanks to our crowdfunder from last fall, the Highland Park Neighborhood Council and Academia Avance Charter School, we were able to make this unprecedented event happen. Our Wild Art sculpture is the first outside art piece to ever be installed at the Los Angeles Zoo. Several of the student-artists who helped make the piece were able to come and present it to viewers on opening day. Following are pictures and video of the event. Congrats to all the students, thanks to artist mentor Nino Alicea, designer James Peterson and fabricator Scott Froschauer for your help in bringing this piece to life.

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Wild Art Summer Camps with RuckusRoots!

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This summer we had a blast leading some wildlife and art-based workshops with local kids. Based on our middle school-aged program Wild Art, these workshops were geared towards younger kids and held in Northeast LA at Heartbeat House Dance Studio. We taught our participants about local wildlife, like the mountain lion, trout, falcon and monarch butterfly. Then the children got to decorate paper animal templates with fun recycled art supplies and paint. As always, it was a great way to get creative and start the learning process about nature and sustainability for these youngsters!

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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!