connect / 2014
Arts LANDed: Connecting Resources Educators Artists Students and You
Please describe yourself.
Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)
In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.
Arts LANDed is an artist residency program for public schools and online resource mapping/connecting people to local art experiences.
Does your project impact Los Angeles County?Yes (benefits a population of LA County)
Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South Bay
- Northeast LA
What is your idea/project in more detail?
Arts LANDed is a neighborhood-based artist-in-residence program at local schools & an ongoing event resource aggregator/mapping website for teachers & families to find & attend art events near where they teach, work, or live. Using existing resources from LA County’s Arts for All to ForYourArt, Arts LANDed leverages the worthy data produced to become a hands-on program on contemporary art for teachers, artists, & students at LAUSD schools. The goal is to nurture a new generation of artists & thinkers by providing an infrastructure for teachers to connect with local arts organizations, supplement curriculum with field trips or artist visits & access the living classroom of everyday LA.
What will you do to implement this idea/project?
LAND’s process for the 2-part project will be straightforward, with the pilot artist-residency program mirroring the future possibilities of the website. For the artist-in-residence program, LAND will approach ten arts organizations, artist-run spaces, &/or artists to partner on the project. Working with the arts organizations whom we select & who self select for interest in the project, we will partner with schools walking distance from the arts organization. If a STEAM or VAPA school is in the vicinity, we will approach those schools first. Together with the artists, we will network in the community by attending meetings/gatherings, connecting with parent groups at the school, & building relationships with educators. We will talk with teachers about style, grade level, standards, & curriculum. The educator & artist will design a project that works for the school semester – from a performance art piece or collaborative sculpture, to more traditional printmaking, claywork, or mural, to a final exhibition for the current programming. This process will take 2 to 3 intensive months of relationship building, aiming to launch the residency at the start. LAND will act as a liaison & support for the artist. The program also includes visits to the art space, led by a museum educator who LAND will contract with for the art space & to provide mentorship to the artists-in-residence.
On the website, LAND will work with Matt Murphy Design and Athletics— experienced in creating multi-function platforms—to design a site integrating neighborhood mapping & a complementary event RSS that sorts by current location & date, expanding out from your location to adjacent addresses & then further out. The events will include everything from poetry readings, to art exhibits, to comedy or a small concert, work of art, or whatever is nearby. Other options might include smart phone enabled check-ins. This website will be a resource for all—including educators who might see something that relates to a lesson or upcoming event that serves as a resource to their classrooms—in more deeply connecting with their neighborhood, with a special focus on family arts programs. The pilot projects at schools will be documented that they continue to live on as inspirational examples for educators. A blog for participating teachers & artists will be included as a supplement to the page, with photos. A final page with volunteer contributions and experiences, will be maintained by LAND.
How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CONNECT today? In 2050?
At the root of Arts LANDed is generating/promoting creation and artistic sustainability by educating the next generation. The program will informally and formally link LA’s significant creative production to schools and educators interested in further developing and integrating arts into their curriculum on a neighborhood level as a part of everyday life.
The project will connect volunteer and paid artists more deeply with their neighborhoods with the artist-in-residence school program; connect students with benefits of art education; connect teachers with practical, supportive resources for integrating the arts into their curriculum both online and in-person; and connect neighbors with informal arts participation, creation, and enjoyment opportunities in their neighborhoods.
Strong neighborhood connections are the building blocks of vast Los Angeles County. A key characteristic of the overall project is its location-specificity, opening doors and creating linkages for neighbors of different generations or cultural/social backgrounds to connect with one another through enjoying the arts in the neighborhood where they live. It challenges artists to take their studio practices out of the studio and into the community in neighborhoods where they are already present.
This type of creative collective social cohesion supports community well-being as well as individual well-being. In some Los Angeles neighborhoods, communities live side by side with one another but do not frequent the same places. The idea behind this project is to model art for the next generation as inclusive and welcoming – a place for them to be. As well, it is in growing connections around a common goal as neighbors.
Whom will your project benefit?
LAND’s continued vision is to help create and foster a multi-platform connectivity within Los Angeles and beyond, ultimately creating an international web linking institutions, artists, and cities. Arts LANDed will create this in literal form in an online platform, and expand our reach into an educational program connecting students, teachers, artists, and neighborhoods together, benefitting these specific groups and the general public.
Students will benefit from high-quality arts education in their public schools, integrating this into their standard curriculum and allowing for a creative outlet. Students will be able to interact with a professional artist directly to be exposed to how an artist’s process works, while also being able to contribute to the artist’s ongoing projects as they bring this work into the classroom. Students may not encounter and experience contemporary art in other ways besides this program, and some that may not be able to afford the admission to a museum are able to access contemporary art as it is incorporated into their curriculum.
Teachers will benefit from having an artist-in-residence as they will have support from a professional artist to provide arts lessons and support in the often overcrowded public school classrooms. Teachers will work directly with the artists to determine appropriate assignments and activities based on the students’ needs and interests.
Artists living and working in Los Angeles County will benefit from this program and resource as their time will be compensated and this is critical to assist them in being able to provide for themselves as working artists. Expanding their practices to the classroom setting will create new environments for creativity and artistic production. As many artists become teachers to supplements their income, this program will be an excellent tool for those transitioning into the education field.
All of the aforementioned groups are culturally diverse and range in age, and each will benefit from the Arts LANDed program and website. The general public will benefit from this comprehensive resource of the current art activity throughout Los Angeles County, functioning as an educational tool, connecting link between artists and schools, and a resource for all art happenings.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
As LAND does not have a permanent exhibition space, we approach all projects and programs as collaborations. LAND will partner with Los Angeles-based arts organizations to include them in Arts LANDed, by integrating their current exhibitions and programming onto the website, and offering the resources to be involved in the education program, particularly as it relates to upcoming exhibitions or with artists that live/work nearby. In the past we have partnered with institutions including MOCA, The Getty, LACMA, the Hammer Museum, MOLAA, and the MAK Center to engage a large and diverse public audience at multiple sites throughout Los Angeles. We would approach institutions such as these, along with smaller organizations as well, to be involved in the project, offering students access to the highest caliber institutions in Los Angeles. These programming partners are not confirmed at this stage in the project, but given our past relationships, we feel confident that they would be interested in taking part in this program. We would also approach other colleagues and organizations we have not yet had the chance to work with and would be thrilled to do so, such as The Mistake Room, LACE, LA><ART, and 18th Street Art Center.
LAND’s website designer, Matt Murphy Design and Athletics, designed LAND’s current website, and is a confirmed partner. Athletics has been working on developing the programming for similar aggregate websites, and would design and implement the full website, from design to code to maintenance and updating. Athletics has already begun to set up the wireframe for the website, and is committed to creating a user-friendly, highly functional website and app.
LAND has not yet collaborated with LAUSD and is very excited about the prospect of doing so. This collaboration is not confirmed, though we feel that the STEAM approach to teaching, where the arts are built in to lessons, shaping connections between concepts and encouraging students to think creatively, would allow for integration of this program seamlessly. STEAM schools would be part of this pilot program, and thereafter, we would expand to other LAUSD schools.
Three factors that are critical to the success of these collaborations are: 1.Institution’s willingness to participate in the program, in addition to other educational programs in place 2. Athletics’ ability to aggregate all relevant arts listings 3. LAUSD’s openness to integrating this program into existing curricula
How will your project impact the LA2050 “Connect” metrics?
- Rates of volunteerism
- Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
- Median travel time to work
- Attendance at cultural events
- Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
- Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located within a half-mile of transit) (Dream Metric)
- Total number of social media friends (Dream Metric)
- Attendance at public/open street gatherings (Dream Metric)
- Residential segregation (Dream Metric)
- Connecting diverse populations within neighborhoods; Walkability
Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.
Rates of volunteerism: The program will encourage other local artists to volunteer to assist the artist in residency, and community volunteers and parents will likely volunteer to assist with art projects/lessons.
Adults getting sufficient social and emotional support: Teachers in public schools will receive support from the artist in residence and parent volunteers interested in the arts. The artists will receive support from the students who we foresee being enthusiastic and excited about creating work with them.
Median Travel Time to Work: As the programs are locally based, the artist and collaborating arts organization will be close to the participating school, eliminating long commutes and encouraging walking/biking.
Attendance at cultural events: Artists will take students on field trips to the partnering arts organization and other arts institutions, increasing attendance at cultural events and furthering students’ exposure to the arts.
Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally: The public and educators will self-submit locations to participate in the project on the website. The participants and public will provide website feedback, volunteering their opinions to assist us in making the most user-friendly/accessible website and app.
Government responsiveness to residents’ needs: The program will show how critical arts education is, and we foresee change in policy to accommodate this in the future.
Transit-accessible housing and employment: Local artists are connected with local organizations and schools, keeping everything accessible.
Total number of social media friends: Live social media feeds will be integrated in the website and app, featuring posts from artists, teachers, volunteers, students, etc., thus expanding their social media reach and obtaining new friends.
Attendance at public/open street gatherings: Art projects will be presented to the school community and/or public, through outlets such as an open street gathering or fair.
Residential segregation: The website and residency program is about connecting neighborhoods together to find nearby arts activities and opportunities, thus helping to eliminate residential segregation.
Connecting diverse populations in neighborhoods: Artists will connect with diverse populations at public schools and expand their understanding of their neighborhood.
Walkability: Local artists will be encouraged to explore their neighborhood and walk to their partnering school.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project.
Participant feedback on the programs will indicate success within each school. This expanded audience for LAND will enable student exposure to in-depth art experiences, and will increase the artist and collaborating organizations’ position within the local art community.
Ongoing contact with artists after program completion will gauge the effect the program had on their work and we will have participating artists complete a survey that summarizes their experience working with LAND on this program. Feedback provided by students via surveys will reflect the quality of the work and experience. Additionally, the partnering art organization will fill out a survey about their experience as well.
Community dialogue and critical media coverage of Arts LANDed will convey success as well as the number of new public events, exhibitions, and productions created at schools. Google Analytics will track website usage and these numbers will assist in measuring success and reach of the resource.
Another indicator of success is the trajectory of a student’s educational interests following their involvement in the program. If students show interest in participating in this type of program again, or shows more interest in the arts in general, this would be a great measure of the program’s effectiveness.
What two lessons have informed your solution or project?
Past education programs LAND has undertaken working with schools and community groups in conjunction with major Los Angeles public art projects very much inform this project. These projects differed greatly – Wildflowering L.A. by artist Fritz Haeg was a decentralized environmental art project hosted by three elementary and secondary schools at their school sites, as part of a larger project of 50 dispersed sites across Los Angeles County, and Painting in Place was a more contemporary installation by multiple artists at the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in downtown Los Angeles. Both further opened ideas about how to translate LAND’s contemporary public art projects to a broader population. With Wildflowering L.A. in particular, students were invested in the project from participating in the planting process through to collecting seeds at the end of season, watching the bloom daily and developing a personal bond with an onsite work of art that was then utilized by teachers for lessons on pollinators (science/health), for community garden days (social cohesion), writing or drawing about observations (science/language arts), and learning about the artist’s past work (art history/public art). At Painting in Place, centrally located on Main Street and 4th in Downtown L.A., we outreached and planned programs led by artists and a museum educator to bring students and children from area shelters in to the space to see the show, and administrators were hoping for similar programs on that level, particularly ones that were walkable from their schools, as limited bus transportation is often a barrier for going on field trips.
A second lesson is an ongoing observation of arts and communication in our busy world— seeing that information on great art is spread everywhere and looking at ways to coalesce it for accessibility, both physically accessible in terms of close proximity, walkability, and travel times, and socially accessible in terms of aggregating vast amounts of information spread throughout different places (our project website, as much as possible, will also be translated into different languages through the use of a Google Translate plug-in). The site, targeted at educators, will give teachers ready access to content for more general enrichment/attendance at arts and cultural events, and specifically to build arts into lesson planning.
Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.
As mentioned above, the process will take 3 intensive months of relationship building from September-December 2014 as soon as this school year starts, aiming to launch the artist/school residency component at the start of January 2015 for the spring semester. LAND has existing relationships with art spaces as well as schools (many from the Wildflowering L.A. project who either participated or did not have opportunity to do so due to time constraints), and this period will be one of site visits, meetings, & assessing the right fits. During these three months, LAND and Matt Murphy Design/Athletics will work intensively on brainstorming and defining a website, particularly for mapping and the RSS feed. LAND will utilize existing resources, such as Arts for LA’s asset map and the LA County Arts Commission’s Spacefinder, as well as do further research on art spaces. The second phase will be from January-May 2015. During this time, LAND will support the school artist programs on an administrative level, liaising between the arts organizations & school & visiting the programs to observe & assist. The website will be under full development and in beta at this time so that the pilot schools will be able to use the site, ideally providing ongoing feedback on its structure & usability.
August 2015 will be the target final full website launch date, with map and RSS feed troubleshooting, design refinement, and integrating educator feedback happening in June and July of that year.
Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?
- Website access issues for some families –
STRATEGY: Ideally, the website will not just be used by educators, but also by families searching for something free and fun to do. Many working families in the LA area do not have smart phone access, so we will work with the designer to ensure that the website & map are usable on all phones enabled with any GPS/internet access, including flip phones & non-smart phones, and a multi-lingual Google language translator will be included for multiple languages as a plug in.
- Educator engagement and training for the program after pilot –
STRATEGY: Developing lasting relationships with schools & working with school/district administration will be key to the project’s success. This will benefit the project from linking with the schools so that interested artists have space both during & after the pilot period. We will approach an interested advocate at each of the ten pilot schools who will also act as a liaison with the artist, team with LAUSD to offer website utilization workshops for salary points, & ensure that all teaching artists meet school security & fingerprinting, where required. Galleries, non-profits, & artist-run spaces committed to the project over the long-term— a semester or longer in the pilot— will also be key to ensuring positive relationships in the long term, & LAND will work to facilitate this.
What resources does your project need?
- Network/relationship support
- Money (financial capital)
- Volunteers/staff (human capital)
- Publicity/awareness (social capital)
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
- Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
- Community outreach
- Quality improvement research