Tag Archive | social justice

Artists Within Spotlight: Single Carrot Theatre Arts Integration in an Uprising

Forging community connections takes time, flexibility and mutual respect.  As a part of the Artists Within Coalition, Single Carrot Theatre (SCT) has been learning this first hand through teaching theatre in Baltimore schools and hosting weekend theater workshops for neighborhood youth in their 2600 North Howard Street location.  In January 2015, SCT began providing weekly workshops to high school students at the Community School in Remington.  They partnered with Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School in March to provide onsite, weekly theatre workshops in conjunction with Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle’s efforts to combine arts content and skills with other core subjects.

Building this collaboration began a year ago with a request from Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle to use SCT’s space for the school’s end-of-year closing ceremony for 5th and 8th graders. According to SCT Managing Director Elliott Ruah, “what was more important was our desire to connect with students and parents in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Not just to have them know  where the space is but for them to have a positive experience in our space.”

Creating the relationship with Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle required persistence.  “As actors and art educators, we knew our best strategy was to simply keep showing up,” Rauh said.  “Once the principal understood we were open and ready to help, we met with them once a week for five weeks in Fall 2014 to begin our work in Spring 2015.”

It was fateful timing.

When the Baltimore Uprising began in late April, SCT had been steadily working with the students, teaching them to express their emotions and thoughts through theatre exercises.  In the aftermath of the uprising, SCT staff saw their young performers reveal the impact of the unrest on their lives.

“We first didn’t want to force anything on them. We just wanted to help them reflect how they were actually feeling,” said Jessica Garrett, SCT’s Director of Public Relations & Education. “This was especially important because we are working with children from Pre-K to 14 years old.”

SCT asked students to express their thoughts using a writing exercise, answering the prompt, “I believe Baltimore is…”

Using a mix of tableaus and standing statues, they asked youth to physically express what they believed was happening in Baltimore, answering the prompt, “If Baltimore was a person, show me how Baltimore feels today?”

“So many students wanted to be  Freddie Gray,“ Rauh explained. “They knew that name. It was the take-away name…  Children directed each other and designated who the cops were, who the protestors were and what kinds of things they could throw.”

Students then analyzed the tableaus and identified what was happening.  Youth assigned their classmates as cops and protestors depending on the racial mix of the group.

In the final tableau, students were tasked to show Baltimore at peace.

“This was our attempt to create a curriculum that did not ignore what was going on,” Rauh said. “We didn’t want to sit them down and explain what the incidents were about.  We wanted them to show their understanding through their own bodies and reflection. For me personally, it made me feel more connected to the Uprising because I had a forum to see what the kids were taking away from it all.  I was blown away by how young some of the kids were and how aware they were of the dynamics of the situation.  Awareness starts early in Baltimore.”

SCT hopes to continue their collaboration with Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle throughout the upcoming school year.  Check out their website to know more about their work and to support their efforts.

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: 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: Knowledge

BA+JP’s Continuum of Impact Video Series continues with Knowledge. Art can be used to raise awareness of issues and broaden understanding of complex topics. Our Knowledge video highlights the work of Luminous Intervention/Greenpants. Luminous Intervention/Greenpants uses large-scale light images to draw attention to and increase understanding of social and economic disparities. They describe how art can be used to connect larger ideas to a more personal and local level.

 

Click here to view the complete interview with Luminous Intervention/Greenpants or  to view the rest of the Continuum of Impact videos please visit the Baltimore Art + Justice Project YouTube page.

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

Continuum of Impact Video Series and BA+JP Kiosk

Exciting things are happening with the Baltimore Art + Justice Project! This summer we interviewed different Baltimore based groups for our Continuum of Impact Video Series. The Continuum of Impact was created by Animating Democracy and our video series is inspired by their awesome investigation into what works in art and social justice based practice.

The Continuum of Impact of Video Series Trailer is here and gives a glimpse of the great work people are doing in Baltimore.

Stay tuned for the full videos coming soon!

Baltimore Art+Justice Project Kiosk!

The Baltimore Art + Justice Project has a new registration kiosk! The kiosk will be moving across MICA’s campus throughout the month of November. The kiosk is currently located in the lobby of MICA’s Fox Building and will be moving to the Bunting Building the week of November 18th.

If your organization is interested in hosting the BA+JP registration kiosk let us know!

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Guest Blogger: Camilla Roberson Just Kids

October 23, the Just Kids Partnership will be hosting its second annual “Art with a Story” at the Creative Alliance, from 6-8 pm.  This event features visual and performance art as part of Youth Justice Awareness month in an effort to raise awareness about the practice of automatically charging youth as adults.  Art with a Story includes a gallery showcasing artwork by youth who have been in the adult system, an installation simulating a solitary confinement cell, and live performances by poets and musicians, including the nationally traveled spoken-word poetry meets hip-hop soul group, the 5th L.

But what is the Just Kids Partnership?  Consisting of organizers and youth leaders at Community Law in Action and lawyers from the Public Justice Center, we are a collaboration seeking to end the practice of automatically prosecuting youth as adults.  We use public education, community organizing, and legislative advocacy as we work towards this goal.  Art is integral to our advocacy.

Youth 14 and up, charged with any of 33 enumerated offenses will be automatically sent to the adult criminal justice system, based solely on age and charge.  Once there, youth are subject to adult jail, adult process, and adult sentences.

This policy is fundamentally flawed.   The practice casts far too wide a net; almost 70% of the youth direct- filed to the adult system are eventually sent back to the juvenile system upon judicial review or are released outright, but this often occurs months after the initial charge.  Youth charged as adults are usually held in adult jails where they are at serious risk of abuse, harassment and suicide.  A youth prosecuted in the adult system is more likely to re-offend upon release, and offend more violently, than comparable youth processed in the juvenile system.  In addition, this practice has a severely disproportionate impact on minority youth.  Finally, youth charged as adults face all the collateral consequences associated with an adult criminal record upon release, including problems getting a job, housing, financial supports, and higher education.  The practice doesn’t work to keep our youth safe or to make our communities safer.  We can do better.

These statistics come to life with the stories and art that illustrate how truly harmful this practice is for our youth and our communities.  Thus, Just Kids integrates art throughout our campaign in order to bring these stories to the public and the legislature.  The artwork – from poems, to stories, to photographs and multimedia visual art – is how we reach the hearts and minds of the only ones who can push our representatives to change the laws that mandate automatic prosecution.  One can see or hear the individual stories of youth caught in the adult system, who lose months if not years of their life to adult jail, before trial or transfer, and then must spend the rest of their lives trying to overcome the trauma of the experience and the barriers created by the charge alone.

This art, created by youth organizers and leaders, will be showcased at our October 23 Art with a Story event.  So check us out – at the end you will have seen experiences great art, will understand why we are fighting so hard to end this practice, and learn how to take action!  For tickets go to http://justkidsmaryland.org/ or http://artwithastory.brownpapertickets.com/

Move This World 4th Global Summit

Looking for a way to get moving and develop strategies for social change this weekend? The Move This World 4th Global Summit is taking place is Baltimore this weekend on Saturday, September 21st through Sunday, September 22nd. The Summit brings together activists, artists, students and educators to learn Move this World’s evidence-based curriculum using creative movements to spark social change.  Those in attendance will collaborate in a variety of activities led by MTW’s PeaceMover Facilitators and global staff, engage in group dialogues, self-reflection, and direct action planning.

Move this World uses creative movement to inspire empathy, viewing movement as an embodiment of cultural knowledge. Through creative movement sessions attendees will practice active listening, conflict resolution, civic engagement, appreciating differences, and social awareness. The skills offered by the Move this World summit are both personal and political, providing techniques toward creating larger social change, as well as help for you while traveling that often stressful road.

For more information on the Move the World summit, email MTW’s Program Coordinator and Global Summit aficionado, Alejandra Paucar at apaucar@movethisworld.org

To register for the summit visit: http://movethisworld4thglobalsummit.eventbrite.com/

Saturday, Sept. 21st-Sunday, Sept. 22nd

National Academy Foundation School of Baltimore
601 N. Central Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201

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