Friday, June 28, 2013

Intorducing the TAB crew!

It’s that time of year, of graduations, reflections and change. Here at TAB it’s a bittersweet time as we say goodbye to our 2012-3 interns, and welcome new colleagues.

Francis Smith is headed overseas to teach middle school. He came to Tucson to earn a Masters of Education (M.Ed) at the University of Arizona 2013. He received his Bachelor's of Arts (BA in History and Russian) from University of Notre Dame 2008. He was in the Peace Corps Service, working in  Kyrgyzstan from 2008-2010. Francis is moving on to teach Social Studies in Doha, Qatar. Francis brought with him an international perspective and keen eye for detail. He spent the year helping overhaul our grants, programs, tracking and assessment systems.

Gina Myers earned her Art Education Degree with a Museum Education specialization (University of Arizona 2013), she moved to Tacoma, WA and is now the "Gift Administration Coordinator" at Lemay-America's Car Museum. 

Victor Anthony Lopez Carmen, will soon be attending Ithaca College as a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar under the study of Pre-Medicine. He has been involved in community service and art for quite some time, and plans to develop the necessary skills over the next few years in college that one needs to create positive changes through civic engagement. He writes; “Being involved in Tucson Art's Brigade has significantly helped me to discover my innate leadership qualities, and has taught me how to work with others while collectively participating in joyful service.”

And we are delighted to introduce you to our new associates!

Liz Werner recently began a Masters of Education program at the University of Arizona with aspirations of becoming a high school chemistry teacher.  She moved to Tucson from Olympia, Washington and is slowly but surely adapting to the stark desert beauty here.  Her undergraduate degree is in environmental chemistry, and since her undergraduate years, she has worked numerous jobs in the environmental field and served two volunteer stints in Tanzania, one with Peace Corps and one with the Tanzania Teaching Foundation.  She is a committed dabbler in the arts - predominantly in dance and studio arts.   

Tiffany ‘Jonezy’ Jones, a product of New Jersey, is brand new to the state of Arizona! She recently moved from Washington DC, where she has professionally performed and taught dance, for the past three and half years.  In total, Jonezy has been teaching for over ten years and dancing for over twenty three! She has her BFA in Dance & Choreography and a BS in Creative Advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Jonezy has grown passionate about teaching dance in the public school and is now pursuing her Master’s in Secondary Education (Approved Subject Area: Dance) at the University of Arizona. She is excited to be working with Tucson Arts Brigade because she believes in the organization’s philosophy: the arts should be accessible to children everywhere!

Audrey Gusick is a new volunteer at Tucson Arts Brigade who will be working on a few different community cultural development projects this summer. She grew up in Tucson where she graduate from Sabino High School and is now an architecture student going into her third year and the University of Arizona. She enjoys running, playing soccer and has always had a love of art that inspired her to pursue a degree in architecture. She hopes to be able to use her newly acquired knowledge to promote arts based education and to further community involvement in creating a more beautiful and useful environment in order to foster interaction among members of local communities.

Pua Trice has returned for her second summer with TAB. She attended Empire High School and is going on to study Visual Arts at Pima Community College. She likes art, roller-skating, and having a good time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Amphi Mural Part 2: Reaching Community Consensus

By Michael Schwartz

Amphi youth presenting their mural design to the TPAC Public Art Design review Committee

This past spring Tucson Arts Brigade facilitated a 14 week after school Mural Program at Woods Memorial Library, situated in the Amphi neighborhood in midtown Tucson. The program for middle and high school youth was requested by the local neighborhood association as a way to build capacity, reduce crime and hopefully foster new leadership. Amphi is one of the highest crime areas of our city, with 3.3% of all crimes reported (Tucson Police Department crime statistics 2011). Amphi also boasts the second highest amount of criminal tagging (criminal damage) and the highest amount of juvenile violations overall. The focal point for much of the violence is along Yavapai Road. So, to kick off a multi-year campaign to beautify the street, and build community interaction it was decided this should be the location for the first mural. 

Today’s class was abuzz with excitement. Youth started showing up early, eager to move forward with our project after receiving a round of applause and unanimous approval from our local Tucson Pima Arts Council (  Public Art Design review Committee. Since our mural is on the exterior of a County owned building, this is the process used to obtain permission for public arts projects.

Our theme today is gesture. After looking at some slides of gesture drawings and paintings we launched right into a journal assignment where one student became the eyes, the other the hand, and we drew a simple still life. This is a really fun and simple icebreaker assignment, and fits well into a discussion about hand eye coordination, and the tension created between the hand and eye as we create art. 

Our next lesson included a series of timed gesture drawings. We talked about why this was important, especially when creating a mural, since we are using our entire body to paint. We also talked about the relationship of gesture, intuitive drawing and the principles of design. Gesture drawing can help us become tuned into our natural design sensibilities and reduces the time for self-censorship. Finally we created a sustained gesture drawing. Each week we will continue a 15 minute version of this drawing practice before resuming work on the mural.

Hand Eye Coordination Ice Breaker
Having finished our the mural design the painting has started, but a number of recommendations came in from the community. We decided that the tree with dancers and religious icons would become an indigenous tree, our Palo Verde, and the symbols would include our state flower, bird and other icons we would vote on in the next session.

 Our goal was to integrate these ideas into our design. We have been using a consensus based decision making process which provides youth an opportunity to practice their group-organizing skills. We selected two facilitators: a “scribe” and a vibes watcher/time-keeper. From here I really got to sit back. I turned my curriculum over to the facilitators while guiding the process as needed. This happens to be an exceptionally smart group of kids so for the better part of the next hour I was a participant. We played a game called 7-Up, you might know it - where we put our heads down and voted thumbs up or down, and the youth all had so much to say, scribbling notes while pinching their lips and eagerly waiting for their turn to talk.

Talking about our first gesture drawings.
The time-keeper noted we had 15 minutes left in class. The facilitators closed the meeting and read our reflection assignment, to write a one-page description of the mural including the changes we had voted on so far. The scribes agreed to assemble and edit the writings into a single mural description. 

As you can imagine, we were all excited for next week’s class! 

The final session was on May 30, 2013, and still new kids were coming to paint. Work in the neighborhood continues, with a mural unveiling, clean ups, tree plantings, gardens and lots more ideas being discussed!

** This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Tucson Pima Arts Council IV P.L.A.C.E. Initiative grant funded by The Open Society Institute, Pima County and the Friends of the Tucson Arts Brigade, Thank You! **

A version of this article also appeared on the Teaching Artist Journals' TAJ/AltSPACE

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Art Under the Stars June 18th 5-10pm

Are you as excited as we are? You can download and share this flier  - see you June 18!