create / 2014
Los Angeles Vital Arts : LAVA: COMMUNITY ART AND PRINTING LAB
Please describe yourself.
Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)
In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.
A communal printmaking lab offering free classes, workshops and lab time focusing on hand made art in an overly digital world.
Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South Bay
- North East Los Angeles, Frogtown and Elysian Valley
What is your idea/project in more detail?
To open our printmaking studio to the community as a co-creative art space with a focus on traditional hand arts and non digital media an often too digitized environment. As public school art programs disappear and kids spend more time in the digital realm, we feel it vitally important to preserve and explore traditional hand made arts. Screen-printing, letterpress, etching and woodblock printing are process oriented, they connect the heart and the mind, through the hand and the eye. And by using recycled and existing materials to create art we challenge ourselves to be thoughtful and resourceful makers, artists and designers, with an emphasis on the sustainable,longevity of a community arts environment.
What will you do to implement this idea/project?
We have built an incredible art space in North East LA out of a love for the arts and as a catalyst for communal co creativity. The space is large enough to hold classes, workshops, events and gallery shows. We have wanted to find a way to share the space with as many who wish to participate. To activate this space as a community arts lab will require experienced staff, additional equipment and supplies. We need experienced guides and lab assistants as well as a budget for guest instructors and speakers. We need support staff for the development and coordination of workshops, classes and lab time. We need a key support person to help with the strategy, marketing and promotion of the learning programs as well as develop relationships with contributors in the community, so as to grow, develop and self sustain as a thriving and vital arts center.
How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?
In this hyper digital, social media environment we find ourselves heavily reliant on our technology and grow further and further away from hand skills and tactile experiences. Our friendships, work and even leisure time need the screen to exist. We spend entirely too much time in this digital realm and so our focus is to provide balance. Co- creativity and experienced based learning help us to get out of our heads and into our physical bodies. Hands on learning and analog print processes stimulate creativity and new ideas. An emphasis on balance within our digital lives becomes more and more of a luxury as opposed to a normal learning experience. By activating the instinctive parts of our nature to make, create, learn and grow, we preserve and develop our fundamental human skills and connect us to our physical world, each other and our communities. Teaching people to make art and use the resources they have around them, including their culture and community, will enrich the individual the community and Los Angeles as an arts center.
Whom will your project benefit?
Our programs will benefit youth and adults in the community, through a cooperative forum that makes available a collaberative, creative workspace and exhibition space that would typically not be accesible and/or affordable to many individuals. Our programs will help advance the public understanding and appreciation for the arts and the practical applications of making, reusing and the importance of hand made arts and analog processes. The specific and primary purpose of our studio is to promote the arts, as both a much needed form of expression and the practical application of these skills to develop and support art and design as a profession. A space where individuals can not only benefit from the practice of experienced based learning, but develop their interests and abilities into a way to make their art support them.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
We will work closely with professional artists, writers and musicians in the community. Making the space available for guest speakers, workshops and classes. We have relationships with neighborhood schools (Allesandro Elementary, Dorris Place Elementary, Eagle Rock Elementary, Gabriella Charter School, Art Lab High School), LA River Revitalization Corp, Elysian Valley Arts Collective, Frogtown Artwalk, Bookshow (Independent artisan book store), Mitch O’Farrell, NELA art Organization, ArtCenter college.
How will your project impact the LA2050 “Create” metrics?
- Employment in creative industries
- Arts establishments per capita
- Minority- and women-owned firms
- Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)
- Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)
Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.
We are all creators. We all have the ability to make and create…art, stories, music. As kids we were all artists and imagination was vital. As technology advances and we get more and more digital we lose the ability to create…its no longer required we can access anything from our phones, we can drive fast and kill people in virtual game environments, new apps keep us staring down at the screen. We want to look up…away from the screen and towards our communities, friends and especially toward the artist within us all. Helping communities to support the arts, in turn helps the arts to support the community. We strive to support the local economy of the community as well as the artistic culture.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project.
Success for this project would be regular classes and workshops with active participation from the community and local schools. Success would also include visible implementation of the skills and tools out in the community through offsite workshops and outreach, for example bringing workshops to the schools not just bringing students into the workspace. Metrics are: 1) confirmed collaboration and commitment from contributors 2) learning programs that are thoughtful, structured, scheduled, staffed and filled with participants 3) youth experiencing art as a profession and pathway to being self-sufficient
What two lessons have informed your solution or project?
In my youth I didn’t have the support and guidance towards understanding that my art could sustain me. Seeing individuals that followed their own unique commitment to their art…helped me to realize I could create a path for myself…and not simply prescribe to someone elses idea of what that path should be. Providing a model for self sufficiency is as vital an education as any. Utilizing the visual arts as a form of expression and a way to support oneself spiritually and financially is especially important to the individual as well as the community as we strive to save and preserve these lost arts.
I have always imagined a place where people could come and create and celebrate their art and the art and experiences of others. Teaching kids and adults has brought me to the understanding that we need more than access to the web….we need exposure to tools and processes, to individuals and groups that support and cultivate independent art and thought. There are more and more computer labs and free wi-fi coffee shops…but professional art studios, tools and equipment, as well as the experienced professional instruction to utilize them are not accessible especially for free. Having a place to learn and grow as an artist should not be a luxury.
Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.
We have built the space out of our own belief in the commitment to artistic expression and instinct. The tools are in place the presses are restored and the space is operational….we could start tomorrow if we had the resources for human capital required to manage the learning programs and workshops. Our project is a bit unique in that the Heavy lifting is done. We have existed the vital community of North East LA for more than 6 years. The ship is built we just need help sailing. We have built a dynamic, creative space and have a complete print studio, wood shop, gallery/event space, communal art space and music rehearsal space. Simply put…we need funding in order to offer free and discounted printmaking classes, workshops and studio time to individuals within our community that wouldn’t normally have access to what we believe is the most important part of any education… a place to create and the people to help.
Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?
Coordinating with established educational programs in within the school year and common CORE guidelines
Commitment from contributors as well as individuals .
I am always inspired by programs that seek to service at risk youth. I would welcome the challenge to provide a unique and stimulating creative work enviroment for at risk youth in our community and to be able to work with kids entangled in the correctional system.
What resources does your project need?
- Network/relationship support
- Money (financial capital)
- Volunteers/staff (human capital)
- Publicity/awareness (social capital)
- Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
- Community outreach
- Quality improvement research