Find out what the City of Hawthorne, CA thinks about our work in this short video with Danielle Marquez, Fine Arts Commissioner for Hawthorne, CA and a parent volunteer for our program, Wild Art at Eucalyptus Elementary School:
In order to answer the question posed in the title of this blog, we’re going to walk you through the Community Listening Project, which wrapped up last week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA.
We were both challenged and inspired throughout this semester-long program, and learned a lot along the way! As you may know, RuckusRoots usually runs larger-scale programs and events, so this project provided a rare chance to work closely with a small group of young teen girls through our partnership with Girls, Inc .
Our focus in this program was to teach the girls about the power of listening, research and data collection. We wanted to explore the idea that when opinions are backed up by fact, your voice can be even more powerful! Artistically, the girls learned photography and graphic design skills, and used them to create protest posters about their research topics.
Our work began at the beginning of the spring school semester, and we launched right in with a film screening of “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. We spent hours talking about how art can be harnessed as a tool for social change, discussed some examples of this, and asked each other what we most wanted to see changed in our local communities. As this program was all about listening, we quickly learned through classroom interviews and surveys with the local community that the topic of SELF-LOVE was something the girls wanted to address as a theme. The idea of self-love encompasses many of the smaller issues and concerns that the girls wanted to explore, like bullying, gender stereotypes, body image and beauty standards.
How does this relate to sustainability? We asked ourselves this same question. The concept of “self-love” is a complex social issue that speaks to happiness and quality-of-life, both of which are important factors in creating sustainable communities. And when we delved deeper into many of the issues faced by girls and women around the world today, we found some illuminating research. When girls are taught to value, support and encourage themselves and each other, they are more likely to grow up into empowered young women. And guess what? Women like this are one of the most constructive forces to levy social change, according to environmentalist and best-selling author Paul Hawken. Research shows that educated and engaged women have greater economic independence, happier, healthier, more productive families, and contribute to lower mortality rates worldwide. They can be more effective stewards of food, soil, trees, and water. In fact, Project Drawdown rates the education of women and girls as the 6th most effective action we can take as a society to reverse the current climate crisis!
We truly enjoyed seeing the participants come up with creative and insightful ideas on their chosen topic of self-love. Drawing inspiration from our class discussions of street art, photography and protest art, the girls learned to illustrate their thoughts visually. Working first on paper to sketch and lay out their ideas, they then worked with several design apps to create their finished posters. They turned out beautifully! We even drew inspiration from these designs and turned them into T-shirts!
Scroll down for a sampling of completed student posters, photos from the program, and an info graphic revealing the results and discoveries of the girls’ research. We took these results and posters to local school leaders to address the identified issues of bullying and suicide among teen girls in Compton, and successfully advocated for a no-tolerance bulling policy at the school.
We will be sharing stories from the program and posters at Story Bazaar, on Sunday June 24th – join us!
To learn more about this program, visit our Community Listening Project page.
Happy 2018, folks! This month transitioned us into a new year, and with it, a bunch of exciting developments for our organization!
We are pleased to announce that our Community Listening Project (funded by Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot) launches this week at Lifeline Charter School in Compton, CA.
This exciting program, in collaboration with our community partners at the L.A. chapter of Girls, Inc., will empower young women with the education and tools needed to be effective leaders in their communities. We’ve designed a dynamic curriculum aimed at teaching our participants how to effectively:
- Make connections about gender inequality and how sustainability concerns adversely affect women, both within their local communities and across the globe
- Use technology ask questions and strategically gather data about their communities
- Communicate effectively through visual tools such as symbolism, photography, drawing and graphic design
- Create, and participate in the installation of, a guerilla-style wheat paste poster installation to raise awareness of a sustainability issue
- Utilize tools for civic engagement to build relationships with both community members and leaders
The project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their women in their community today!
To help us in the Community Listening Program, we are enlisting the aid and skills of our newest artist mentor, Raquel Natalicchio! Author of recent publication, Spray for Peace, Raquel has most recently worked as a mentor to young women through LA-based Las Fotos Project. She also travels internationally working as a photojournalist! Check out more of her work and current projects here! We know she is going to be a wonderful asset to our team and an inspiring role model of our program participants, so we’re very excited to have her on board!
And last but not least: we’ll be organizing a public event in the late Spring! We want to give these young women at Lifeline Charter the opportunity to present both their data and artwork at a local community event to further build interest and engagement around these sustainability issues! Stay tuned, and make sure to follow RuckusRoots on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll be posting lots of photos and updates from the classroom as the Community Listening Project kicks into gear!
Thanks to funds from our friends at LUSH Cosmetics our newest program, The Community Listening Project , will launch in early 2018. We are piloting this program in collaboration with the LA chapter of Girls, Inc , a partnership we are honored and excited to announce!
Girls, Inc , is a nationally-recognized nonprofit providing “at-risk” girls with life-changing support and real solutions to the unique issues they face. The Los Angeles Chapter serves Title I schools in South Los Angeles, Watts and Compton, with populations challenged by family poverty, gang violence and homelessness. We’ll be working with the high school girls from Lifeline Charter School in series of after school sessions alongside Girls, Inc for this program and a 3rd installment of Chimes for Change immediately afterwards!
The Community Listening Project is specifically designed to teach participants the skills they need to connect to their communities and deepen their impact at the grassroots level!
Students will learn:
- to interview community members about sustainability issues that impact their daily lives; i.e. traffic, pollution, littering, etc.
- to compile and analyze data using technology
- to create visual graphics and individual art pieces (chimes, songs) to illustrate the major issues and concerns in their community
- the fundamentals of community organizing and civic engagement
This project will culminate in the students using these materials to create a presentation for local government leaders (i.e. neighborhood council or city council) on the top 2-3 sustainability issues affecting their community right now. They’ll also be presenting their data and artwork at a local community event (TBA!) to further build interest and engagement around these important issues affecting us all!
We can’t wait to get started!
Many thanks to everyone for the continued support of RuckusRoots and the work we do! You’ll be hearing more from us soon as we share our preparations to launch these new programs and announce our End-of-Year-Giving campaign, so stay dialed in and make sure you’re following our social channels for all the fun behind-the-scenes sneak peaks!
We had an amazing opening night June 2nd at ArtShareLA and loved the opportunity to show our latest Chimes for Change project in a prominent downtown gallery. This is was especially meaningful to our high school students, who made a special field trip to hang their chimes on our giant metal tree and check out in the gallery for the afternoon! If you were able to make it to our opening night, you might have seen several of the students there!
We have so many people to thank for helping out with Chimes for Change! It was a huge undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the following superstars!
- James Peterson, (tree designer and project planner)
- Steve Shatkin & Tortoise Industries (our incredible tree fabricators)
- Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot (incredible project sponsors for student ipads)
- Erinn Bone (music mentor extraordinaire)
- NiNo Alicea, Regina Clemente, Scott Froschauer, James Peterson and all of our fabulous artist mentors who helped with student chime-building)
- Jeffrey Sapin (ever-patient teacher and project supervisor at Larchmont Charter High School)
- ArtShareL.A (thanks for hosting our installation!)
- All of our amazing and generous crowdfunding sponsors for helping finance the project!
It’s always bittersweet to finish up a big, semester-long project like this one! But we are really proud of the student work, and the reception this installation received from the greater public. If you weren’t able to make it to the gallery to see this interactive installation, you can visit
to see photos of each student’s chime, read their artist statement, and listen to their recorded song – all through the website!
We’ll be spending this summer revamping our website, doing some fundraising and dreaming up new plans for upcoming projects – so make sure you’re following us on social media and are signed up for newsletter updates so you stay in the loop with all the changes coming about!
photos: Ramon Flores