Tag Archive | Baltimore

Artists Within Spotlight: Y-LLEAD – Healing the Self to Heal the Community

Created by designer and activist Melissa Moore, the Youth Learning Lab of Education and Applied Design (Y-LLEAD) in Greenmount West is a youth-led + intergenerational supported design, build, and community activation program.

A typical Y-LLEAD session begins with setting an intention and closes with similar activities. Youth participant Talayia Bowman explains, “We come and sit in a circle to keep our energy and circulation between us. We start with our meditation/contemplation practice where we ground our feet and sit in an upright position with our backs erect… It’s beneficial. We are still young and pulled in a lot of directions but this helps us be more open to what we want to be, kind and decent to other people.”

Y-LLEAD Learning ExchangeBowman also described the benefits of being in an intentional collaborative learning environment. “I’ve been in programs where the ripple effect only lasts as long as the duration of the program, but here, this is stuff that directly deals with how we view society and how we carry ourselves.” Bowman smiled, and then continued, “I deal with regular challenges… when I leave here, it’s like taking a little ball of optimism outside into the world with me. Being young, people don’t expect us to think through stuff as much as we do. Design thinking means taking something apart layer by layer. This program has helped me learn how to unpack hard situations and I can use [these skills] as soon as I hit the sidewalk outside. Overall I would describe my experience as enlightening,” Bowman explained. “What makes [Y-LLEAD] different is how it is run.  Most programs lie about wanting participants to have a voice, but this place does not.”

Y-LLEAD Participant   Using a combination of healing practices and design thinking, Y-LLEAD    helps participants and facilitators work together to solve complex social  problems. Y-LLEAD learning exchange facilitator Thea Ganlas said, “We  spend a lot of time really listening and hearing everyone’s voice.   It’s  therapeutic for me and it’s almost unfair to get paid for doing it. We learn  how to approach communal work. We talk about everything. We see this  space as safe and whatever we bring to it, we deal with in the healthiest  way possible. I have not seen this work out with other programs – other  programs I’ve been a part of were focused on the business end of the work, not the healing that can come through doing arts-based practice.”

As a facilitator, Ganlas sees Y-LLEAD as a chance to be an ally in communities that are not her own. “I came to Baltimore as a student.  I did not feel connected to the neighborhoods because I stayed inside of a bubble. It is really easy to do. I decided finally that I should find out what it means to live in Baltimore and not let others speak for those experiences. Being a part of Y-LLEAD helps me feel connected to the city I have decided will remain home for now.”

As a Baltimore native, youth participant Bowman offers another perspective on allyship. “I don’t live around [Greenmount West] and a few months ago I would have been like, ‘I don’t live around here, I don’t hang around here and I don’t care about what goes on around here.’ But now I realize I don’t have to live here to care about the neighborhood.”

 

Profile Spotlight: Allison Yasukawa

We recently sat down with Allison Yasukawa, whose show Land Grab runs through July 4th at The Chicken Box on 1 W North Avenue. Allison is a multidisciplinary visual artist and educator. She teaches in the Foundation department at MICA, and is a co-founder of the Baltimore-based alternative art space, Lease Agreement.

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The opening of Land Grab was attended by an ice-cream truck selling cones topped with chocolate cockroaches (still delicious!)

What is your name?

Allison Yasukawa

 How old are you?

35

Which neighborhood do you live in and which neighborhood do you work in?

I live in Waverly, and I work in the Bolton Hill/Station North Area at MICA.

Describe your art or organization.

I have an interdisciplinary practice that primarily includes sculpture, performance, sound, video, and drawing. Often, the content that I’m concerned with is based in some way on social interactions, particularly those in which imbalances of power are the assumed norm. I play up these imbalances and identify them through the work in an effort to draw attention to the flimsy nature of social divisions.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I have a solo exhibition up at the Station North Chicken box titled Land Grab. The work in this showfocuses on three distinct but interrelated contexts—tourism, the service industry, and the American Dream—and on different ways that people lay claim to a position of status within these contexts. Much of this work includes pieces that I commissioned from other people to bring ideas of labor and subjectivity into the exhibition in a very real way.

What social justice cause(s) are you particularly drawn to, and why?

I am especially invested in immigrant and refugee resettlement and empowerment. These populations face many challenges in the U.S. Not only have they have left their home countries, family members, and support networks, but they are negotiating a new cultural environment, frequently in a new language, and often with few resources at their disposal.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m really inspired by 
the people that I come into contact with through my practice. Because if the interactive component of my work, I often find myself having out-of-the-ordinary encounters with people. As I said, for the work in Land Grab, there were a lot of individuals that had a hand—directly or indirectly—in the making of the work. Making the initial approach, talking through an idea with someone I am interested in working with, and then serving as a witness to her/his own creative act is a really thrilling experience that energizes my practice.

What’s the best part about being an artist or running an arts organization in Baltimore?


I moved to Baltimore in 2012, so it’s still a very new place for me. It’s always exciting to get to know a place by making work in it, so I think that the newness of my experience here is my favorite part right now.

I also co-run an alternative exhibition space here with my husband, Adam Farcus, called Lease Agreement. This is something that the two of us have wanted to do for a while now, and being in Baltimore has given us the opportunity to make it happen. It’s been great to engage with the art community here and also stay in active contact with makers outside of Baltimore.

Who would you like to collaborate on a project with?

Dimitri Reeves—he’s the guy who does the Michael Jackson impersonation street performances. Outstanding.

What’s one social justice organization that people need to know about, and why?
 

One of the organizations I’ve been most active in so far here is the Refugee Youth Project (RYP). RYP is an organization that works with refugee resettlement in the Baltimore area. They do amazing and creative work, and they are always looking for more people to become involved.

I’m also constantly impressed by the work of the Druid Heights Community Development Association. They are located in the Druid Heights neighborhood, and are involved in many important community-based initiatives.

To learn more about Allison visit allisonyasukawa.com.

Photo by Adam Farcus

901 Arts Presents: The KIDULT Variety Show – May 30th, 2014

Join 901 Arts for its first ever KIDULT Variety Show.  KIDULT is an inter-generational variety show co-created through a month long residency at 901 Arts by adult artists, musicians, and performers collaborating with youth artists and musicians to create skits, raps, songs, dances, costumes, props, and the set. Get ready to see and hear what’s happening in the enchanted forest and be prepared for sing alongs! Followed by a dance party. Food and Beverages (alcoholic and non) will be available.

When: Friday, May 30th 2014

Doors/ Reception/ Listening Stations/ Costume Photo Booth: 7PM

Show starts at 8PM! and goes till 9:30PM (with one intermission)

Dance Party 9:30-11PM

Where: 2640 Space at 2640 Saint Paul Street Baltimore, MD 21218

How: $7 – $20 sliding scale suggested donation at the door. Kids 5 and under free!

Who: performances by 901 Arts Youth and Crossroads Middle School Students in collaboration with Baltimore based adult artists and musicians!

Kid Artist: 901 Arts youth and Crossroads Middle School students

Adult Artists: Person Ablach, Mary Alessi, Benjamin Alexander, Regina Armenta, Stephanie Barber, Max Bent, Zachary Christensen, Theresa Columbus, Alex D’Agostino, Ami Dang, Marquisha Davis, Pilar Diaz, Robert Dietrich, Vanessa Ferguson, Maggie Fitzpatrick, Sarah Frank, Lee Heinemann, Wayne Johnson, Jessica Keyes, John Alex Lind, Julie Little, Sophia Mak, Lisa Murphy-Mitchell, Cassidy Regan, Alexa Richardson, Ann Russell, Aaron Smith, Kali Stull, Kayla Thomas, Sarah Tooley, Emily Uchytil, Dan Zink

 

About 901 Arts: 901 Arts is a grassroots community art center that provides free year round art and music programs to the children and teens of the Better Waverly neighborhood in Baltimore City. 901 Arts serves over 100 youth a year with the help of over 100 volunteers. Founded in 2006 by parent and adult community members as a community-strengthening tool, 901 Arts is a project of the Better Waverly Community Organization.

For More Information, contact Sarah Tooley: (410) 366-2252  www.901Arts.org , SarahTooley@901Arts.org

Continuum of Impact: Policy

Our final video addresses the way that art can be used to impact Policy. Jennifer Pelton from the Public Justice Center describes some of the ways that the PJC has incorporated art into advocating policy changes. Through the use of photography, music, youth created art, and other mediums, the PJC knows that art is an effective tool for providing a face to an issue and making the policy changes personal.

To view the complete interview with Jennifer Pelton of the Public Justice Center: Click Here 

To view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube channel

The Continuum of Impact Video Series is based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Continuum of Impact: Action Part 2

In our next Action video, we focus on the work of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Hannah Brancato describes how FORCE has used large media campaigns to draw in large audiences and get them engaged on the topic of rape culture. By using very public and internet based media they have been able to motivate many more people to participate in fighting rape culture then using other methods may have allowed.

To view the complete interview with FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture: Click Here Part 1 | Part 2

To view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube channel

Don’t miss our last video next week……. Policies!

The Continuum of Impact Video Series is based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Continuum of Impact: Capacity

Capacity involves the efforts to build strategies for organizing along with raising the status marginalized and disenfranchised communities. Our Capacity video features the Youth Resiliency Institute who provide cultural arts programming and training to youth and their families in Baltimore City. Navasha Daya and Fanon Hill describe the organizations’ methods of using multiple forms of art from dance to poetry to provide an outlet for agency building. Using the creative skills developed through YRI, youth have become become engaged politically, culturally, and locally engaged.

To view the complete interview with Youth Resiliency Institute: Click Here Part 1 | Part 2

To view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube channel.

Coming up next week……. Action Part 2!

The Continuum of Impact Video Series is based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Continuum of Impact: Attitudes

Changing the way people feel about an issue is a difficult task to undertake but art can be a helpful medium to do so. Using art, organizers and activists can generate feelings of hope, pride, and respect in both those who engage  in the creation of art and those who view or experience it. Our Attitudes video highlights the work of DewMore Baltimore and 901 Arts who use art to change people’s thought’s and attitudes towards specific issues. Devlon Waddell from DewMore Baltimore describes how they use literary arts to encourage individuals to explore their understanding of themselves to then develop a stronger connection with their community.

To view the complete interview with DewMore Baltimore: Click Here

To view the complete interview with 901 Arts: Click Here

To view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube channel.

Stay tuned next week for……. Capacity!

The Continuum of Impact Video Series is based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Continuum of Impact: Discourse

Through art we are able to create safe, affirming, comfortable, or even humorous spaces that allow many to engage in dialogues that couldn’t have happened elsewhere. Our Discourse video highlights the work of Hollaback! Baltimore and Theater Action Group who use art to open up and continue conversations. Shawna from Hollaback! Baltimore describes how individuals who have experienced street harassment have chalked the areas where they have been harassed; creating not only conversations about harassment but empowering experiences of reclaiming spaces. Theater is described by the Theater Action Group as a place where individuals can come together to play, engage, and create a temporary community that engages in dialogue which leads to further social change.

To view the complete interview with Hollaback! Baltimore: Click Here

To view the complete interview with Theater Action Group: Click Part One | Part Two

 To view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube channel.

Stay tuned next week for……. Attitudes!

The Continuum of Impact Video Series is based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Continuum of Impact: Action

The anticipation can finally end as the Baltimore Art + Justice Project’s Continuum of Impact video series is complete and online! The series highlights the phenomenal work being done by Baltimore organizations and groups that are using art as a tool for social change. Based on the Continuum of Impact created by Animating Democracy, the videos each highlight specific ways that social justice and art collaboration create an impact.

Action, the first video in the series focuses on increasing participation. Art can be a powerful tool to get people involved and mobilized in their communities. Our Action video highlights the work of 901 Arts. 901 Arts is a community based youth arts organization in the Better Waverly neighborhood of Baltimore that provides opportunities for the children and youth in the community to express their artistic sides and develop as artists.

To view the complete interview with 901 Arts and the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube page

New Funding Opportunity for Baltimore Artists!

The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance has begun collecting submissions for their new grant: The Rubys. The Rubys was created this year with start-up funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation to provide project-based funding for new and established artists in the Baltimore area. Performing, visual, media, and literary artists who are doing work intended to impact their community are encouraged to apply for The Rubys Grant. The program will award up to $10,000 to an artist in each of the four grant categories: Performing Arts, Media Arts, Visual Arts, and Literary Arts.

To be eligible for the grant, an artist must be:

  • A resident of Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, or Howard County at the time of application and when the grant is awarded.
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.
  • At least 21 years old.
  • An active practicing artist who has pursued their profession in their chosen discipline for more than three years

Applications are currently being accepted and the application deadline is February 2, 2014. For more information on the application process, to apply, or for further information about the grant please visit here.

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