City building at Mount View Elementary

I moved to Seattle eight years ago intending to dive fully into the city’s culture. I’ve wandered the halls of 619 Western Ave during art walks and cheered on slam poets late into the night. I’ve learned to effortlessly distribute waste/recycles/compost into each appropriate bin. I make my own kombucha and am pretentious about coffee […]

I moved to Seattle eight years ago intending to dive fully into the city’s culture. I’ve wandered the halls of 619 Western Ave during art walks and cheered on slam poets late into the night. I’ve learned to effortlessly distribute waste/recycles/compost into each appropriate bin. I make my own kombucha and am pretentious about coffee with the best of them. Weather does not deter my outdoor activities and of course I don’t use an umbrella.

I came to Seattle for much more than sipping lattes though.

I came to contribute to and see this city reach its full potential for greatness. At some point along the way, I decided that I wanted to do more than be an artist in my own right; I felt compelled to seek out opportunities for all youth in the city to engage in the arts. Arts had shaped my youth and my life in Seattle, and I wanted to see these opportunities made available to the generations behind me. Thus working with Arts Corps to teach ceramics at Mount View Elementary (within the greater Seattle area) has been such an honor and so fulfilling.

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Today our class wrapped up the City Building project that we spent much of Winter quarter working on. Students had collaborated and used various ceramic techniques to construct businesses, a zoo, a hospital, homes, parks, a soccer field, a transportation systems (and yes, our city had two coffeeshops). They saw the culmination of their hard work as they combined individual pieces into one collective city, choosing where to place each piece of the city and drawing roads connecting each piece to the others. As they stepped back, they saw how their individual contributions added to something so much larger.

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I was really excited about this project because it not only allowed the students to use all the ceramic techniques we had thus far learned, but the project also required the students to dream into and then create a city as they would build it. My hope was that the project would empower the students to think of themselves as significant contributors to their community!… That they are culture shapers!… That anything is possible!

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Today was also my last day as a resident of Seattle. Tomorrow I move to San Francisco to join the Exploratorium’s Extended Learning team, where I’ll continue to create opportunities for people of all ages to engage in curiosity, creativity, and possibility. I’ll surely immerse myself into that city just like I’ve done here, but as I leave, I’m hopeful that something lasting has been planted here in Seattle. More than a few skills in ceramics, my hope is that I’m leaving these students with a greater sense of their potential, both as artists and as contributors to their world.

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With all that Seattle has to offer (and yes, today was sunny and 70), I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last afternoon in this city than investing into these budding artists, moreover, young culture shapers.

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Youth Speaks Seattle + Arts Corps is seeking our new generation of Spokes Leaders!

We’re launching our first Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute  and are looking for teen artists and activists, of all mediums, 14-19 years old, to take on a 9-month commitment of leadership.  Spokes will help us drive our teen programming, develop professional skills and organize our teen events: Open Mics, YSS Slam Series and after school […]

We’re launching our first Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute  and are looking for teen artists and activists, of all mediums, 14-19 years old, to take on a 9-month commitment of leadership.  Spokes will help us drive our teen programming, develop professional skills and organize our teen events: Open Mics, YSS Slam Series and after school clubs!

Please pass this on to any young folks who might be interested.

Complete the attached SPOKES application.  It’s due September 23th!

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Art as a Voice for Social Change.

Approaching Amazing Art is the title to a brand new curriculum being tested at Cleveland HS. Its a humanities curriculum that explores the power of art in Social Movements.  As teaching artists at Cleveland we’ve been invited to help deepen the curriculum. Culminating the unit each student will complete the following project: 1. Create a work of […]

Approaching Amazing Art is the title to a brand new curriculum being tested at Cleveland HS. Its a humanities curriculum that explores the power of art in Social Movements.  As teaching artists at Cleveland we’ve been invited to help deepen the curriculum.

Culminating the unit each student will complete the following project:
1. Create a work of art that has a message or makes a difference.
2. Make a video documenting the experience of envisioning, designing, creating, and performing or displaying the piece,
3. Write an artist statement to accompany the piece.”

A group of students have stepped up to help create an gallery event for their fellow students to show their work at school and in the community. They are passionate about sharing their ideas and opinions and we are excited to help them make it possible!

In preparation of their curriculum that is beginning in May we’re bringing them workshops of various mediums. Starting with Collage this week, we invited students to piece together images and words to create a message they are passionate about.

 

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It was exhilarating to watch students approach the art table with apprehension and self doubt and leave the table with a fully assembled piece confronting real social issues. Each student posted their work in the hallway with a statement explaining what they wished to communicate through this medium.

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A hallway passerby will notice powerful social issues being challenged with powerful images, such as ageism, racism paired with sexism, environmentalism, our dependency on technology and much more. The images are chilling and moving.

 

It was a honor to be in a room with such bold thinkers and daring risk takers!

More Pictures will be posted soon. Stay in Touch!

 

Thank you,

Jaala Smith

 

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Summer All-Access Showcase Preview!

From the Storage Studio to your media viewing devices…Arts Corps Glee Club member Yasmine gives a preview of performances to come at this Friday’s All-Access Showcase!

From the Storage Studio to your media viewing devices…Arts Corps Glee Club member Yasmine gives a preview of performances to come at this Friday’s All-Access Showcase!

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Bring on the Funk…Power of Words at the Northwest African American Museum

This blog was written by guest contributor Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, Program Director of the Northwest African American Museum’s Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program (pictured below second from the right).  Daemond Arrindell and Arts Corps are totally hip in the opinion of the Northwest African American Museum 2012 Youth Curators…count me in too.  The Dr. Carver Gayton Youth […]

This blog was written by guest contributor Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, Program Director of the Northwest African American Museum’s Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program (pictured below second from the right). 

Daemond Arrindell and Arts Corps are totally hip in the opinion of the Northwest African American Museum 2012 Youth Curators…count me in too.  The Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program at NAAM is a community outreach program targeting teens age 14-18yrs old.  Teens join a team for twelve 2-hour sessions to explore museum philosophy and develop their creative abilities as they complete a themed project that coincides with a current gallery exhibition.

The 2012 project and exhibition, First Impressions – Inner Expressions was all about self-awareness and articulating the discoveries. Daemond led the Youth Curators in a series of exercises, inspired by the exhibition Xenobia Bailey: The Aesthetics of Funk.  Throughout this process, creative writing skills and individual expression evolved into the power of spoken words…heartfelt, questioning, passionate and humorous…all encouraged by Daemond.


The Youth Curators presented their exhibition and poetry to a full house on April 7th.  In the crowd was Kathleen Flenniken, WA State Poet Laureate, who called their poetry “gold”.  Kathleen supports young poets and has already posted two of the poems to her blog, The Far Field with more to follow.  Youth In Focus, captured photo portraits of each Youth Curator for the gallery exhibition, thank you Sherry Loeser with student photographers, Duyen and Jennifer.

You can check out this fabulous exhibit that attributes much of the success to Daemond with support of Arts Corps; I look forward to a long and lasting friendship with both.  The First Impressions – Inner Expressions exhibition is on view through Summer, 2012. Visit the NAAM website for hours and events (www.naamnw.org).

A huge thanks to all at Arts Corps…your fan for life,

Stephanie

 

Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, Program Director

NAAM Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program

 

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Make some cents!

Find some cents, will ya? Literally. Like, on the sidewalk or in a couch.  We found 80 cents hiding at the office.  See: The physical Arts Corps office space donated!  And now, you can too!  So, here’s the challenge- 1) Go digging for change wherever it’s free to be harvested. 2) Snap a pic and post […]

Find some cents, will ya? Literally. Like, on the sidewalk or in a couch.  We found 80 cents hiding at the office.  See:

The physical Arts Corps office space donated!  And now, you can too!  So, here’s the challenge-

1) Go digging for change wherever it’s free to be harvested.

2) Snap a pic and post on our FB page the picture, the amount, and where you found it.

3) Drop by the office and add your cents to our cents so we can make a bunch of cents!

We are launching the Make Cents campaign to raise funds for Youth Speaks Seattle to send the Youth Slam Team to the Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam & Festival.  If your more comfortable paying with plastic, click to link to our online campaign.

Every cent adds up to hella cents.  So go and MAKE SOME CENTS already!

 

 


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