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play / 2014

The Human Element Project: Play in LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by The Human Element Project

Residents create public art displays illustrating their visions of ideal “play” projects and sites to be completed by 2050.

Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

To facilitate countywide workshops where participants illustrate their visions of safe, sustainable places to play and live in Los Angeles

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Play in LA recruits, informs, empowers LA County residents (targeting children and seniors), city agencies, artists, architects, teachers and caregivers to facilitate workshops that inspire participants to paint and express verbally their dreams of ideal neighborhood “play” venues (parks, beaches, senior centers and recreation centers).

Workshops produce collaborative, substantive art installations of participants’ visions for site use. Dialogues will explore and develop solutions greater than the sum of their parts. Participants will take pride in conceptualizing, implementing and sustaining, green, safe and vibrant places to live and play, building in phases to 2050 intended outcomes.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

3 targeted workshop groups:

  1. SENIORS currently “playing” in local parks, recreation areas and senior centers, beaches and other public recreational areas

  2. AT RISK TEENS and foster youth needing safe and enjoyable public “play” spaces to gather and engage in creative and educational activities.

  3. LATCH KEY KIDS in downtown LA currently enrolled in after school programs who frequent recreational centers for interactive, creative and educational “play” activities.

COLLABORATION/TEAM BUILDING The initial steps for this project will be to solidify partnerships and collaborations and develop a pilot strategy.

CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT We’ll work with partners to host a series of workshops based on a Play in LA theme. Workshops encourage individuals to share visions for “play” venues in the foreseeable future and building systematically to target goal in 2050.

Each group will have 50-70 participants. Workshops will be facilitated in a series of 1-3 sessions. Each participant will have an opportunity to paint a vision of the perfect “Play in LA” area using paint and canvases. Local volunteers will help recruit, engage and motivate artist participants.

Participants will initial their paintings, including their age in a format that replicates the labeling on the periodic table, thereby contributing their own personal “element” to the human story and Play in LA concept. A written statement from each participant will accompany each painting.

INSTALLATION All paintings are combined into a full-sized art installation. The center art element will be commissioned to an LA artist and will serve as a “statement” piece reflecting the sentiment of the collective artwork. The collaborative artworks will be displayed in civic buildings: schools, libraries, museums, airports, train/bus stations. All individual paintings with accompanying statements will be posted on the Human Element Project’s and partner’s websites.

FORUMS Installations will inspire public forums and discussions on future vision and strategy for community capacity building and can be held at the USC IGM Art Gallery or installation venues employing USC IGM AG forum format.

RECEPTION Opening receptions for each of three installations will be organized to honor participants, sponsors, and supporters. Receptions will boost self-esteem of participants and ensure their ideas are heard and honored. Events will be coordinated and documented by and the USC IGM Art Gallery.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to PLAY today? In 2050?

By enabling ownership, community pride, mindful stewardship, collaboration strategies, and personal and professional empowerment. The Human Element Project: Play in LA will attract residents to work together, using existing resources to enhance • Access to open spaces and park facilities • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs • Percentage of residents who feel safe in their neighborhoods • Enhance the transportation experience for attendance at major league sporting events • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play • Decrease per capita crime rates

The Human Element Project: Play in LA workshops will significantly impact these metrics by collaboratively conceptualizing and displaying a sustainable “play” space for young adults and seniors. Installations and receptions will attract those who are empowered to realize the dream, and to better understand the “blueprint” of the people’s vision of their neighborhood now and leading into 2050.

Whom will your project benefit?

1) Leaders from the Public, Private, Nonprofit, Faith-based, Academic and Media sectors.

2) The constituents of these leaders who will, as a result of The Human Element Project: Play in LA, work in systematic collaboration with their elected officials and institutions to facilitate cross departmental, cross organizational, peer to peer sharing and leveraging of existing resources. With a top down/bottom up system that employs tested and true infrastructure from the past while being flexible enough to innovate, and creatively invent a bright future for the next generation and those yet unborn, the citizens of LA County will develop a world class model safe for children, everyone and local and global business.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Confirmed: A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to helps individuals and organizations to generate art-framed forums that inspire dialog on social and cultural issues. has endorsed the Human Element Project and serves as its fiscal receiver.

USC IGM Art Gallery HEP has worked with the USC IGM Art Gallery to establish collaborations and to promote thought provoking dialog. USC IGM AG will play a significant role in helping establish partners within the USC campuses and surrounding communities as well as video and photo document the receptions, events and forums.

County DPSS The USC IGM Art Gallery and its Molecular and Social Systems exhibition are organizing a pilot program in collaboration with the LA County DPSS. This collaboration will help advance policies in relation to state and federal laws as well as provide public information and media relations to over 2.4 million constituents.

Soft Machine Project HEP has exhibited with the Soft Machine Project twice in the past year. SMP has developed collaborations with public, nonprofit, faith-based and academic institutions in the Boyle Hts. and Lincoln Hts. and will be a collaborator in recruiting and engaging participants as well as securing workshop locations.

The Los Angeles World’s Fair International Trade, Commerce and Culture Flex Team: Partners with the Human Element: Play in LA team serving as Flex Team ambassadors and employ the vision to provide direction for the Play in LA project.

Anticipated partners:

USC Davis School of Gerontology, Social Work, and Education: With the support of the faculty and students from these schools we can assess the needs and resources in our targeted communities. Students and faculty will be invited to participate as volunteers for our workshops. . Los Angeles Youth Network: I have worked with LAYN as a foster teen mentor since 1997. With their assistance, we will be able to recruit foster youth and well as obtain a venue for the workshops.

The Breed Street Shul Project: I recently had an art exhibition at the Shul with Mike Saijo and Fabian Debora. The exhibition attracted enthusiastic visitors to the neighborhood and established the power of their work to aid in community capacity building.

3 factors for success of the program: Ability to recruit participants willing to produce artwork Ability to recruit Volunteers and staff for workshop prep, implementation and follow up Ability of Installation locations

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Play” metrics?

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Per capita crime rates
  • Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods
  • Attendance at major league sporting events
  • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

  1. Number of participants in the workshops
  2. Number of completed installations.
  3. Number of completed projects and sustainability over time.
  • Access to open space and park facilities by increasing transportation options that are safe and senior friendly

  • Increase the number of children enrolled in afterschool programs by developing programs that will engage and encourage creativity and collaboration.

  • Decrease per capita crime rates by creating educational, occupational and mentoring recourses for at risk teens and seniors. Increase safety measures for parks and open space “play” spaces.

  • Increase the percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods by organizing neighborhood group activities, community watch programs, better communication with police and better visibility in open “play” spaces.

-Increase attendance at major league sporting events by sourcing safe and reliable transportation systems for teen groups and seniors.

  • Residents reside with 1⁄4 mile of a park by renovating open spaces or abandoned buildings to develop open space parks for neighborhoods. Develop neighborhood steering committees to develop a vision and work with city officials to make that vision become a reality.

  • Increase the number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” parks, beaches and open space “play” areas by developing creative transportation solutions for teens and seniors.

  • Increase the number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities by developing activities where seniors can mentor young children and teens. Develop recreational center that have simultaneous activities with young adults and seniors.

  • Increase the number (and quality) of informal spaces for play by developing small and frequent “rest” stops that would allow small groups to gather. Permanent game and interactives would promote activity.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

The organizing team will create a list of intended outcomes of their curriculum and process. Photo and video documentation of the workshops will enable facilitators document their observations and conduct debrief meetings. Data collected will be • Number of participants in each workshop • Enthusiasm, interest and creativity of the participants • Depth and feasibility of the ideas • Overall visual impact of the completed installation • Number of completed panels per workshop • Number of completed projects • Number of installed projects • Number of project receptions • Questionnaire feedback from volunteers, constituents, site administrators, parents, community leaders • News articles • Purchase or sponsorship of artwork and materials • News coverage • Social media response and followers • Documentary PSA’s • Certificates of commendation from public officials and academic institutions

Each workshop will be archived on the Human Element Project website and websites of partners’ Facebook and Twitter accounts will be opened to host ongoing dialog about the project and its impact.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Our experiences with similar projects have lead to this proposed project.

  1. Organizing the Molecular and Social Systems: Learning through Creative Exploration exhibition at the USC IGM Art Gallery provided us a rich experience that sharpened our understanding of self and others. A partnership among the Human Element Project and the Soft Machine Project artists with the IGM AG Advisory Council Members, weathered a process of problem solving from a diverse variety of logical, intuitive, creative, academic and traditional points of view. We learned important lessons from the interaction of conflicting human agents and their technology assistants as well as all of us becoming more informed in the process of planning, funding, implementing, contracting communicating and inter-dependent process and responsibilities. The end result was an interesting, dynamic public art opening with speakers, video interviews, partner presentation tables, a refreshment table and a youth art presentation. The audience included public, private, nonprofit/faith-based, academic and media leaders. The outcomes included a photo and deep caption of the event in the USC Health Sciences Campus Weekly News, a speaking engagement for our youth presenter, contracts and sales for several of the business attendees, the sale of an artwork and the self-confidence and trust in our team to move forward to prepare this application together!

  2. Our experience holding workshops with patients at Westminster Free Clinic has shown us the best way to involve a group of people in a project based upon a single theme, leading to an effective final installation. We asked our participant patients to paint a picture that illustrates what they have learned about how to effectively participate in managing their medical challenges. The enthusiastic responses were a testimony to how creative expression can inform, engage, educate and heal. The patients loved the experience, and it was a testament to the effectiveness of the clinic’s work.

See the following websites for examples of other projects:

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

Once funds are approved, we will begin to work with Los Angeles based facilities to organize a series of workshops and installations. With the help of our partners at and the USC IGM Art Gallery and the workshop sponsors, we will recruit participants in groups of 50-70 per workshop. Each final installation will have 50-75 pieces plus the commissioned centerpiece. It will take approximately 3-4 months to complete each installation. By the end of the year, 3 public events will have taken place in celebration of the work of the participants and sponsor.

Proposed timeline

October 1 – October 31, 2015: Solidify partners. Obtain letters of endorsement and distribute timeline Book three workshop venues, one for each of the three proposed categories. Review portfolios for 3 local artists to paint the statement piece for each installation. Locate possible installation venues. Debrief on workshops and collaboration partner meeting

November 1 – 30, 2014 Workshop 1 to be held at a designated location (several sessions may be needed to obtain enough panels for the final installation) Review artists submission for commissioned statement piece Continue working on possible installation venues Begin to prepare artist panels for inclusion on websites Prepare for workshop 2 & 3

December 1, 1014 – January 31, 2015 Workshop 2 & 3 Commission artists for the three statement pieces Commit to at least 1 installation venue and schedule installation and reception date of workshop 1 Begin to prepare graphics for catalog and promotional pieces Begin to work with PR and press partners Continue to work on website uploads Collaboration partner meeting to discuss reception, forums, PR, video

February 1 – March 31, 2015 Hold first reception for Workshop 1 Begin video documentation Continue to prepare for installations of workshop 2 and 3 Continue to prepare graphics to catalog and promotional pieces Continue to work with PR and press partners Continue to work on website uploads Debrief on workshops 2 & 3, discuss next installations Collaboration partner meeting to discuss reception, forums, PR, video

April 1 – July 31, 2015 Installation and reception events for workshops 2 & 3 Continue video documentation Printing of final catalog

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Working with diverse groups of people across the great distances of LA, communication, even with the technology will be difficult. There are still multiple gaps in technology, PCs and Mac’s can’t always communicate and some people are still without.

Rapid changes in staff within institutions that are often letting people go and/or hiring new staff with the relationship building time requirements. Diversity of comprehension in organizational infrastructure and reporting process. Confusion related to funding and cross organizational management.

The best strategy for success is a strong leader that keeps her eyes on the big picture and the overall global result of a creative collaboration such as LA2050. Successful implementation depends on one that can delegate, motivate and inspire a team. Organization and refined management skills are crucial for success. I have 30+ years of experience as a vice-president of creative marketing, advertising and interactive media for a well-known billion dollar cosmetic company in Los Angeles. I have managed teams of up to 30 employees and contractors that included administration, sales, copywriters, social media and video experts and creatives. I feel absolutely confident that I can oversee this project and recruit and retain enthusiastic and motivated partners.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach