Tag: Academia Avance

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!

New Community Art Program Begins at Academia Avance

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It’s a perfect way to spend Earth Day, if you ask me. We are starting our second week at Academia Avance today, where we are running a community art program focused on sustainability and endangered urban wildlife. Today, I asked the students to think about what sustainability means to them, and then we learned color theory with artist mentor Nino Alicea. The students created their own color wheels, making them in any shape they could imagine. The program will continue for the next seven weeks. We’re very excited for what’s in store, stay tuned!

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RuckusRoots Sculpture Debuts at Northeast LA Art Walk

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Our latest TRASHformation sculpture enjoyed a successful premiere last weekend at during the Northeast LA Art Gallery Night in Highland Park. The sculpture was on display at The Church on York last Saturday during the art walk.

We teamed up with 127 middle school students from Academia Avance in Highland Park, CA to create an interactive sculpture made from recycled materials. The program, called TRASHformation, was the only arts education the students received all semester.

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At the beginning of the program, we asked participants to come up with ideas for an art piece that would positively affect their community. The winning idea, by 11-year-old Brisa Cabrera Diaz, is entitled “Your Hug,” and is an 11-foot tall sculpture of a teddy bear that absorbs feelings. As Diaz wrote in her proposal, “My art piece is of emotion. When you’re sad you hug it and when you’re mad you can talk to it about your madness. Express your feelings to it.”

RuckusRoots worked with artist Rebekah Waites and five classes of middle school students over the spring semester to collaboratively build the sculpture. Students learned creative problem solving and artistic techniques such as sculptural modeling and fabric mache. Almost every piece of material used to make the sculpture was donated or found in the Highland Park community, including scrap wood, old bed frames, plastic containers, donated fabric, and mattress foam. 

The sculpture has several potential new homes, including the Academia Avance High School Campus, and a short stint at the Burning Man Arts Festival. We are hoping to place it at another local gallery for the duration of June and July, 2014. Please contact us if interested in hosting the bear.

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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.