Tag: Highland Park

In Full Swing: TRASHformation in Highland Park


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.

New TRASHformation Program Begins at Academia Avance


This past Tuesday, January 21st, marked the kick-off of our TRASHformation project with the Academia Avance Middle School students in Lincoln Heights. We are very excited to find out what ideas these kids have in store for our lead artist, Miss Rebekah Waites (creator of the Church Trap). From prep-time at 8:00 a.m. to dismissal at 3:00, we worked eagerly to instill enthusiasm and creativity in our new batch of students. Never having worked with such a large quantity of young people (over 100 students) before, we made great headway in the five smaller classes, averaging around 27 young artists each.

We started with a few videos to catch their attention, revealing Christine and Rebekah’s past work. We followed this with a break down of TRASHformation, and afterwards handed out art proposal worksheets to get the students thinking. One winning idea will be chosen from the students’ submissions. From jaguars and teddy bears to skateboards and peace signs, these little ones had big ideas. Getting back at it on Monday, we’re excited to begin collecting materials. The students will be designing their own waste baskets and flyers to promote the program. We may even reach out to local businesses to find out if they can donate surplus materials to our cause.

-Written by Milagros Vizcaino and Andres Guzman

Thank You, Highland Park Neighborhood Council


We are pleased to announce the Highland Park Neighborhood Council has awarded us a Neighborhood Purpose Grant to support the upcoming TRASHformation we will be conducting with middle school students from Academia Avance. The program starts on Tuesday, January 21st, and we couldn’t be more excited, and thrilled to have the support of the community! Thank you, Highland Park Neighborhood Council!

Interview with a Highland Park Innovator

     Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.

     Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.

     In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.

     Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.


Highland Park HS signs on for a TRASHformation Collaboration!

East LA can’t get enough of TRASHformation

We’re excited to announce yet another TRASHformation program, this newest collaboration is with our new friends at Highland Park High School and is set to begin for the Fall 2013 semester.

Highland Park Photo Sign

Earlier this week, we stopped by the school to check out the campus and had the pleasure of meeting the principal, Enrique Gonzalez. After he showed our team around the small campus,  we discussed the TRASHformation program and how it might work best for the school. The school consists of almost 100 students grades 9-12, and we’re particularly excited that the program will be integrated into the curriculum and that students will be able to earn class credit for participating. We’re also thrilled to be working at a campus that practices experiential, “Big Picture Learning,” and with a innovative administrator such as Gonzalez.

Find out more about Big Picture Learning and the concept behind schools like Highland Park High School.


RuckusRoots Interns to Show TRASHformed Art at Taste of Highland Art

A Taste of What to Expect at Highland Park’s ‘Taste of Highland Art’


The senior class at Academia Avance in Highland Park have taken it upon themselves to produce a festival, appropriately called ‘Taste of Highland Art,’ where art, music and food come together in the hopes of giving folks a “taste” of what the Highland Park community is all about.

The festival is set to include local artists, businesses, food trucks and even local bands, along with some of the students’ own artwork and creations. Five teens who have been participating in our Strong Roots internship program guided by Robin Banks spent the last semester learning essential art and building skills, including welding and CNC machine operation. Recently, the interns assisted Robin in creating an art fabrication commissioned by Twitter to be used at this year’s Grammy’s!

Photo Feb 27, 11 22 52 AM

After completing several projects, these creative teens looked around and realized that many of the leftover scraps could be turned into beautiful art work. Attendees of “Taste of Highland Park” will be able to view and purchase these mini “TRASHformations” made by our Strong Roots interns. Above and below are samples of what the students are showing.

Photo Feb 27, 11 23 36 AM

The festival will take place on March 5th and March 12th, from 3 to 9 pm in the heart of Highland Park at Ave. 57 and Marmion Way, near The Gold Line station. For more information about the festival, visit The Taste of Highland Art Facebook page. Come out and support your local community and the young artists that call it home. We’ll see you there!

Trap Attack Success!

We had an amazing time at the Ruckus Roots/Paso Pacifico Trap Attack event at Platform Gallery. It made for a fun and successful evening. Thanks to everyone who came out, participated, contributed and joined in for the Trap Attack adventure! We couldn’t have been more happy with the turnout and how the evening unfolded. The motion-sensing attack camera (loaned to us by scientist Miguel Ordenana) made its way around the event to “trap” unsuspecting victims, and throughout the evening we were able to capture many moments of surprise, laughter, joy and fun. These photos were then transformed and projected onto the walls of the gallery. You can find the results in our Trap Attack Candid Photo Series. 😉

Thanks to great talks by Paso Pacifico founder Sarah Otterstrom, and scientist Miguel Ordenana, we learned about how these camera traps (shown above), which we used to capture images of hip LA jungelites at the event, are set up in the jungles of Nicaragua to research and track endangered wildlife in the region, like jaguars and ocelots. Paso Pacifico’s mission is to restore and conserve the natural ecosystems of Central America’s Pacific slope, and it relies on camera traps to do so.

In recent months, Paso Pacifico’s camera trap photos, including the one below, have been used to prove that endangered jaguars still live in areas of Nicaragua where they were once thought to be extinct. The presence of large predators (jaguars, ocelots, etc) in an ecosystem is an indicator of that ecosystem’s health, as big cats need large amounts of space and resources to survive. Protecting them means we are ensuring the survival of many other species and habitats in Central America. Our goal for the Trap Attack event was to raise enough funds to purchase three camera traps for Paso Pacifico, which scientists will use to continue their research and protective actions for these endangered species of Central America. We are excited and happy to announce that our goal was met! Because of all the generous contributions made, we were able to raise almost $4500 in support of Jaguar Conservation in Nicaragua. Step by step, we can all come together to make a difference and create change in our world!

We want to especially thank Platform Gallery, Wolfgang Puck, Ryan Nelli, VJ Tiffy, Jessie Anderson and all of you who came out and made this event

so successful!