Monday, June 10, 2013

Chicago Avenue Arts Project 2013: TAWU finally





For a few months now, I have worked on the Chicago Arts Project where the TAWU artist collective have jointly attained a grant and prepared, sketched, presented and created art through the Pillsbury House Theatre Arts Program.  This grant allowed us to create what we called SOUL Poles, paint garbage cans, and develop designs for bus stop benches.   The first of the projects that were completed was the “soul poles” my pole was designed and created to address youth in our community and what they bring to their own neighborhoods.  The images that I created are of youth with arms depicted as tree branches.  (The Branches of the Community), this is what I titled this side of the project I contacted several youth in the neighborhood and interviewed them at the school I work at Sanford Middle School.  The interviews allowed me to hear the voices of these youth and what they had to say about their own perception of the neighborhood.  With pride I heard over again, "that’s my neighborhood"!  Exclaimed Denzel, proudly.  I spoke with three boys and two girls, of which were Somali, African American, Asian and two Native American students who all live in that neighborhood.  These students were eager to share that they feel that the youth make up the community.  They were prideful in their script and rightly so, these neighborhoods are filled with families and creativity.



This process was exciting because I had the opportunity to work with youth and art BOTH.  Super exciting for me! The Soup Poles were designed one each by one of seven artist in our collective and they were all different in title, description and approach.  At the top of each pole is a solar light that soaks up energy from solar rays and illuminates their distinctive areas.  I dug a hole for my pole to be placed and mixed and poured concrete in the holes to stabilize the pole.   I appreciate The Chicago Avenue Arts Project and Pillsbury United Community for allowing this opportunity.  


The second step in this project was adding creative images to the bus benches in that area, these benches are run by, US Bench.  US Bench repairs and places ads on their benches all over Minneapolis.   I sent several sketches that were designed by myself and our team.  The original ideas were to do several patterns on the benches and cover them with our paintings, however this didn’t work well for US Bench.  They have advertisers who purchase space on the benches, that may not be liken to our designs.  So this put us at a disadvantage for that component of the project, however I met with the advertising department to find a common ground and we found US Bench really enjoyed the idea of our artist having artwork shown on their benches.  The decision was then to print images of our art on the advertising space.  The images were inserted on the panels.  Well you can see the results here. (these benches eventually were paneled with Stephanie Morris photography works).

We all participate in painting a canvased mural for the art garden right there on Chicago Avenue as well.  This we great working with the property owner Florence Hill who long since has held an art garden there for artist and local residence.(above mural, I painted the boy)

The final component to this project involved the painting of the garbage cans.  This was a portion of the project that was supervised by Lortetta Day the lead artist in the project.  She worked hard meeting with the Pillsbury creative team (the board) to develop and implement the details of two of these projects.  My images that I used depict youth again from the earlier interviews and how they need to feel more empowered,  the series i titled "Boxed IN" shows how adults usually address young people and how as a result these teens feels boxed IN.  Whew !!! so here are a few of the results from the project please enjoy I will keep you updated on a few other projects that I am working on this summer as well. (one of the images for my garbage cans i painted is posted above)
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