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Home - SPARCinLA - Social and Public Art Resource Center | ART | COMMUNITY | EDUCATION | SOCIAL JUSTICE | SINCE 1976
"Our Mission
SPARC’s intent is to examine what we choose to memorialize through public art, to devise and innovate excellent art pieces; and ultimately, to provide empowerment through participatory processes to residents and communities excluded from civic debate. SPARC’s works are never simply individually authored endeavors, but rather a collaboration between artists and communities, resulting in art which rises from within the community, rather than being imposed upon it.

• The ideas we propagated have gained credibility over the years:
• That art was for everyone regardless of their status in society
• That the distinctions between high and low art, fine art and folk art were false
• That innovation is important only while nurturing the significant traditions in which various ethnic groups preserve their cultures
• That art should not dwell only in rarefied halls but in the places where people live and work
• That the process not only the product, is the measure of the value of an art work
• That all Americans could be participants in the making of art and that collaborations work
• And last… That the arts can have significant transformative impact on the most significant social problems of our time"

SPARC’s INHERENT NATURE
SPARC was born in a time of change – the 1970s. It has, since its inception, been a catalyst for social change through the arts and a home for artistic innovation. Being a catalyst has often meant handling the many currents that flow through historical events at the moment they are occurring and working outside of typical art venues in the places where people live and work.

SPARC is a facilitator – finding ways to tell richly textured stories that help community participants and artists achieve a measure of change and transformation. SPARC endeavors to communicate to the larger public – the means of communication may take many forms, from built architectural monuments, to murals or to new technological spaces such as the Internet. As with many organizations that articulate new visions and push the edges of content and aesthetics, SPARC is determined to be sustainable and relevant to the time we are living.

Since it was founded in 1976 by Chicana muralist and Distinguished UCLA Professor Judith F. Baca, Filmmaker/Director Donna Deitch, and Artist/Teacher Christina Schlesinger, SPARC’s artistic direction was formulated with the concept that the arts could be engaged with the most important issues of our time and that ordinary people/community members could be participants in the arts. SPARC chose to amplify the voices of those marginalized in our Los Angeles communities and to provide a new vision of what art could do: women, people of color, poor and working people, day laborers, youth, prisoners, etc became the focus in our programming. We believed, then as we do now, that art can exist in places where people live and work, therefore we are focused on a new “public art.” Our works are monuments that rise out of communities; memorializing what the people choose to remember.

Since 1976, we have taken the work to blighted streets in the inner city of Los Angeles and to concrete flood control channels; scars where our rivers once ran. We painted a 1/2-mile of the river with murals with 400 youth, built parks in vacant lots, hung photographic tapestries in senior citizens centers, and built sculptures for children to play on in vacant lots and produced hundreds of murals. Los Tres Grandes of Mexico, the popular culture of low riders, tattoos and political street writing, transformed by the aesthetics of each changing cultural group with whom we work, informed our sense of beauty and order. We continue to capture the rhythm of the streets in giant works that place an ethnic face on a city where a 129 languages are spoken in our schools but whose life and aesthetics are often not represented in the cities physical and aesthetic environments.

This concept, now more accepted, was radical in an era of “arts for arts sake” thought, during which we pioneered these aesthetic values. However, the need for our work has steadily grown with the massive demographic shifts affecting our city and country. Still today, no issue raised by a community is too difficult for us to approach with an artistic solution. In 1977, we opened the center with the ‘Jail House Break’ celebration and examined our own home, the former Venice Police Station and its historic use.

Today we have contemporized our historic processes through the incorporation of technology in our UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab where we produce large scale imagery both painted and digitally printed, work with communities across the country and internationally over the internet, and continue to innovate new materials that seek permanence in outdoor environments. Our programs have been widely emulated across the country and internationally as we continue to stay on the cutting edge of innovation of large-scale public art works and community interactive processes. Organizations like SPARC maintain the spirit and substance of transformation we need no more than ever in our city and country, by visualizing change through the arts and by engaging our communities in much needed civic discourse.

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF SPARC FROM 1976-2013
1) 1976-Present: The Great Wall of Los Angeles 1/2 mile-long Mural/Education Project is one of Los Angeles’ true cultural landmarks and one of the country’s most respected and largest monuments to inter-racial harmony. SPARC’s first public art project and its true signature piece, the Great Wall is a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s, conceived by SPARC’s artistic director and founder Judith F. Baca. Begun in 1974 and completed over six summers, the Great Wall employed over 400 youth and their families from diverse social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members.

2) 1988-2002: Neighborhood Pride, a program initiated and developed by SPARC and sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department produced 105 community artworks in every ethnic community in Los Angeles, commissioned 95 artists and trained over 1800 youth apprentices. In 2002 alone (the last year of the program), SPARC conducted 80 community dialogues citywide with community participants determining the placement and content of 15 new large-scale public artworks. These works confronted some of the most critical issues in our city such as; the on going migration and integration of the Central Americans particularly in the 1980’s to Pico Union from el Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the changing demographics in our schools, creating the phenomena of “ chocolate schools in vanilla suburbs” which has resulted in the demise of the age old “neighborhood school’ concept in many Los Angeles communities.

3) 1990-Present: World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear, conceived by Judith F. Baca, consists of seven 10’ x 30’ portable mural panels on canvas. This 210’ mural addresses contemporary issues of global importance: war, peace, cooperation, interdependence, and spiritual growth. As the World Wall tours the world, seven additional panels by artists from seven countries will be added to complete this visual tribute to the “Global Village.”

4) 1976-Present: The Mural Resource and Education Center (MREC): In the course of our community cultural development work we have amassed one of the country’s largest collections of written and visual information about public art, including an archive of over 60,000 mural slides. Hundreds of students, educators, scholars, artists and art historians avail themselves of the MREC’s resources each year. In addition, the MREC sponsors public mural tours, giving visitors and Angelenos alike an opportunity to view the city’s unique outdoor gallery.

5) 1976-Present: The Dúron Gallery: SPARC’s headquarters in the 10,000 square foot facility of the 1929 old art deco Venice Police Station in Venice California houses a converted cellblock exhibition space. Exhibitions take place year round in the facility, which is well known for exhibitions of socially relevant work and the work of children and youth. SPARC’s programming recognizes the vital function the arts play in any social justice movement.

6) 1996-Present: The UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab is the leading research and production facility in the country devoted to the creation of large-scale digitally generated murals, educational DVD’s, animations, community archives and digital art. In its community setting at SPARC’s headquarters in the old Venice jail, the Lab develops new methods for combining traditional mural painting techniques with computer generated imagery, collaborates across distance with local, national and international communities to create public art expressing the concerns of diverse communities, and develops new methods of preservation and restoration for mural art through use of digital prints and new materials.

7) 2005-2009: Otis School of Art & Design/Digital Media lab for High School Students @ SPARC: O TEAM: Otis Teens, Educators, Artists and Mentors: O TEAM prepares Venice youth for a productive life through skill-based art and design education and mentoring to facilitate their personal development and entry into higher education and the workplace. The O TEAM program is designed to support the aspirations of young people, instill core values, and reinforce self-esteem by providing them with the tools to succeed. O TEAM meets downstairs in SPARC’s basement; the students fondly call their group “Underground Roots.”

8) 2008-Present: Planet Siqueiros Peña, is inspired by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros and the South American musical Peñas, which produced a wave of music that utilized old rhythms to express new realities. The movement emerged during the 1960s in … [more]
losangeles  art  education  venicebeach  socialjustice  community  lcproject  openstudioproject  arts  via:carwaiseto  restoration 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Quote by Thomas Merton: “There is a pervasive form of contemporary viole...”
"There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." ― Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
thomasmerton  via:carwaiseto  activism  overwork  burnout  violence  peace 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Vik's Chaat
"Viks Chaat has proudly been serving chaat for over 25 years. Viks offers many regional chaat dishes from different parts of India. Over 2000 dishes are served each day to customers coming from near and far.

Viks Chaat started out in 1989 as a small area of Viks Retail Store, located inside a warehouse in the commercial district of Berkeley. Over the years, its popularity grew and people began coming from miles around for Viks Chaat. In 2004, Viks Chaat expanded to accommodate customers who were lining up for the various Indian savory snacks.

In 2009, Viks Chaat & Market moved to a new location, two blocks south of its original location. The new location is larger and brighter than its previous location, yet aesthetically is still a warehouse.

Viks Chaat is a family-run business dedicated to preserving the tradition of eating chaat using fresh ingredients and making each dish as it is ordered. Viks has proudly served fresh, traditional dishes for over 25 years, and refuses to compromise quality. Produce is chopped daily, we knead dough every morning, and each samosa is prepared by hand, all so that customers enjoy chaat the way it should be…fresh.

Amod Chopra and his family are the force behind Viks Chaat & Market in Berkeley, California. He was born in Mumbai and spent most of his childhood in different parts of India. He moved to California with his family in the 1980’s and has since been involved in his family’s business. In 1989, Viks Chaat opened in a 200-sq. ft. room in the front of their distribution warehouse. It has grown over the years into a well-known destination, bringing customers from all over the bay area and beyond. Many of the dishes at Viks come from Amod’s childhood memories and return visits to India."

[See also: http://www.yelp.com/biz/viks-chaat-berkeley ]
berkeley  food  indian  chaat  via:carwaiseto 
march 2016 by robertogreco
'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The USA. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart - Radiolab
"The U.S. and Canada may be as lovey-dovey as two neighbors can get, but according to this charming video history by CGP Grey, both countries agreed to tuck themselves a little bit in, 10 feet back for America, 10 feet back for Canada, creating a corridor of open, surveillable, clear space between them.

This ribbon of emptiness is constantly monitored, regularly gardened (Baby Tree! Be gone!) and persists for 5,500 continuous miles — considered the longest, deforested straight line in the world — protecting the U.S. and Canada from interlopers, or beavers without passports.

Except for one thing — it isn't straight.

The engineers who tried to follow the 49th parallel used primitive instruments, and, it appears, twine, and so the border got a wee bit zig-zaggy, producing a number of problems, a few of which are delightfully described here ..."
via:carwaiseto  border  borders  radiolab  us  canada  geography 
april 2014 by robertogreco
hyperbolic.guitars.home.: On my mind
"When we go through our reasons for why we teach a discipline, we'd better have more substantial reasons than "It'll be beneficial in the future" or "You need it to get into a good college" or "It teaches thinking skills" or "Shut up and eat your broccoli". I recognize that historically, traditionally, math was sold to students in all of those ways, and with varying degrees of success. But educational history and tradition are proving poor guides to our current situation. The questions that our students will have to face are, fundamentally, unlike any ones previous generations have had to:

• What happens if/when the climate changes dramatically?

• What happens if there are no more "good jobs" for most people?

• What happens if the dystopian visions elaborated by William Gibson, Aldous Huxley, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, and many others, start to become real?

• More optimistically, what do students need to know/be able to do/figure out to be engaged, thoughtful, intelligent citizens of the world they will inherit?"
via:carwaiseto  education  teaching  math  mathematics  whyweteach  bigquestions  cv  purpose  learning  problemsolving  criticalthinking  mathinisolation  williamgibson  society  dystopia  aldoushuxley  philipkdick  raybradbury  mikethayer  2013 
february 2013 by robertogreco
paper layers form the black paper 37 chair by vadim kibardin
"russian designer vadim kibardin has conceived 'black paper 37', an armchair made of 37 paper layers and cardboard. the functional surface is formed by arranging sheets one by one to achieve the required height of the chair.

the piece is a result of experiments with various materials, but also an exploration of the 'chaos and sequence' theory, documented in his research paper here. the outcome is an attempt to understand the beauty in disorder, to then reach and articulate the limbo state of balance between this disarray and its antithesis.

kibardin says of his design:

'simple paper not only possesses high constructional characteristics but can also dazzle through the beauty of its contours. a distinctive texture of the chairs’ overlay encourages a dialog with a user, where a distinctly personalized form of the chair can be created by rumpling and chopping paper layers.'"

[Chaos research: http://www.kibardindesign.com/en/special-projects/research/chaos.aspx ]
disorder  beauty  vadimkibardin  chaos  2012  paper  cardboard  design  furntiure  via:carwaiseto 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Getting To No
"Structural Obstacles

To begin with, teaching differs from most professions in being such an idiosyncratic craft. The immediacy of the classroom, its unpredictability and social complexity, makes teaching not just an intensely involving occupation but also an innately individualistic one. In many respects, teachers are, as Michael Huberman, author of The Lives of Teachers, observed, “independent artisan[s]” — tinkerers, intellectual craftspeople who use whatever they can find in their workshop to solve the problems presented by the project they are working on — and who work autonomously. Teachers are not deliverers of highly scripted, linear, instructional sequences; they are skillful, adaptive improvisers who must be able to modify a lesson plan on the fly whenever necessary. Much of what any educator does is highly personal, and over time, every teacher develops a unique instructional repertoire, a set of personal, artful, but often tacit assumptions and responses.5 This is true even for those who team-teach together and those who employ a similar classroom methodology.

“The entrenched norms that prevail among teachers have always been those of autonomy and privacy, not those of “open exchange, cooperation, and growth.”

What this means is that technical communication among teachers is more difficult, less necessary, and in some ways even less appropriate than it might seem…

[…]

Personal Obstacles

The nature of teaching and the structure of schooling pose significant challenges to collegiality, but the larger obstacles are personal; they lie in the make-up of teachers themselves. They were captured bluntly for me by a veteran history teacher, known to his administrators as “The Grouch,” who objected to his school’s effort to create PLC’s this way: “We don’t see the necessity. Plus, if — if — we had any time available, we’d rather spend it with students.”"

[…]

Conflict Avoidance

These tendencies in teachers help explain why so few schools go beyond congeniality. But there is an additional personal obstacle, one that is powerful and pervasive: educators are profoundly conflict avoidant. Teaching attracts people with a strong security orientation and a strong service ethic, not entrepreneurs with a thirst for risk and competition. It also attracts people who tend to be less worldly than, say, corporate professionals. Teachers try to accentuate the positive. They wish to help, foster, inspire, and encourage the best in students. They generally like people and want to be liked. And they take their work very personally. All of which makes them loathe to risk direct disagreement with or criticism of one another.

[…]

Avoiding conflict is not a terrible flaw. Schools have never resembled corporations. They’ve always been more like villages — venues where feelings are often powerful, but their expression must be measured. The price of civilization is restraint — and gossip. No village — no relationship — can survive total candor. Villagers, including the elders, often can’t speak their minds fully, but they also can’t contain all the feelings that are stirred in the course of living and working together. Hence, when they disagree or feel inclined to criticize, they often talk about one another instead of to one another. So it is in schools.

No wonder, then, that efforts at collaboration and collegiality are ever fragile — hard to start, hard to sustain. But although the obstacles are significant, there is much that can be done. And most of the key steps are simple. They’re not necessarily easy, but they are plain rather than fancy, straightforward rather than complex, and they draw in part on skills that teachers routinely apply in their work with students. Coping begins with commitment."

[…]

Disabling Avoidance: The Third-Time Rule

It is easy to get educators to agree that conflict avoidance interferes with their work and that they should take up significant issues directly with those involved. It is something else again to translate this into action. To many teachers, the very norms of avoidance they acknowledge as problematic also feel insurmountable, especially in one-to-one interactions. One way to cope with this dilemma is to formally adopt a simple agreement: Don’t be the third party the third time about any issue that bears importantly on the work of the school. This means that if Teacher A complains about Teacher B to Teacher C, C can listen, make suggestions, and so on, and can do so again if A returns to complain. But the third time, C must invoke the Third-Time Rule and insist that A take the issue to B. Otherwise C has become part of the problem, even if she didn’t create it, and is reinforcing a culture of avoidance, of talking about one another instead of to one another.

As noted above, there will always be static and irritations in relationships, and we all need occasions when we can just vent or complain. The Third-Time Rule is for concerns that involve the work of the school. It does not mean that C must simply turn A away. C can offer to meet with A and B together, or can suggest that A engage an administrator to help, and so on. The key is to keep the focus on improving the faculty’s working relationships.

Resolving Conflict
The prospect of actually abiding by the Third-Time Rule makes many teachers fearful. They can’t imagine what they would say to A if they were in C’s shoes. If they are to be more appropriately candid with one another, they usually benefit from learning concrete ways to improve communication, especially ways to resolve differences constructively. The relevant approaches are those taught in conflict-resolution seminars and are neither complex nor outside the range of teachers’ existing competence. They include:

1. Confront the issue, not one another. The goal is to resolve the difference and preserve the relationship. This means, among other things, assuming good will — not leaping to negative assumptions about a colleague’s views or motivation, not reading the effect of a remark or an action as its intent.

2. Listen carefully. Seek clarification and make sure to understand a colleague’s point of view (Can I ask you about that? Can you say more about what makes you think that?).

3. Share views honestly but respectfully — by, for example, making “I statements” (I find our meetings frustrating when we wander off topic, instead of, These meetings are a waste of time).

4. Speak as directly as possible, preceding it with something that makes it “hearable” (I don’t know quite how to say this, but I’m reluctant to speak because every time I suggest a solution you dismiss it, or, Can I disagree for a minute? I’m not sure you’re right. I think I see it differently).

5. In serious disagreements that persist, look for options, rather than full solutions (Is there part of the problem we agree on, even if we don’t see it all the same way?)."
robertevans  criticalfriends  collegiality  congeniality  2012  leadership  candor  honestry  constructivecriticism  via:carwaiseto  michaelhuberman  teaching  teachers  communication  honesty  feedback  avoidance  conflictavoidance  conflict  conversation 
july 2012 by robertogreco
coupled-inquiry cycle: A teacher concerns-based model for effective student inquiry, The | Science Educator | Find Articles at BNET
"During course of designing & facilitating teacher inquiry workshops, concerns voiced by participants, & reinforced by research literature, led to evolution of inquiry model that addresses many reservations teachers express about using inquiry as a teaching strategy…specifically addresses issues of control over content & curriculum goals; teachers' need to "lecture" to make sure students ''get it"; & control over safety, time, & materials. The coupled inquiry cycle endeavors to balance these needs, while still adhering to vision of true student-centered "full" inquiry, by combining or "coupling" together "teacher guided" inquiries w/ "open" inquiries that are completely student-driven. These "coupled inquiries" are embedded in cycle based on traditional learning cycle models, such as 5E model of Bybee (1997) & problem solving models, such as Search, Solve, Create, & Share (SSCS) model (Pizzini, 1989). A description of the components of the coupled inquiry cycle is as follows:…"
inquiry  assessment  teaching  science  tcsnmy  via:carwaiseto  inquiry-basedlearning  learning  projectbasedlearning  exploration  curiosity  content  curriculum  control  coupled-inquiry  pbl 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing | Video on TED.com
"Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices -- and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions."
choices  choice  economics  culture  psychology  motivation  sheenaiyengar  via:carwaiseto  ted  social  preferences  research  self  success  independence  collaboration  interdependence  interdependency  tcsnmy  learning  options  identity 
july 2010 by robertogreco
San Francisco's Best Street Food - Budget Travel
"Bay Area foodies are sidling up to trucks, carts, and tables serving everything from authentic Neapolitan pizza to dark-chocolate creme brulee."
food  sanfrancisco  travel  via:carwaiseto  tcsnmy  offcampustrips  2010  streetfood 
may 2010 by robertogreco
South Indian food truck in San Diego - California - Chowhound
"This is to report on a really interesting food find near Miramar - the Copper Chimney South Indian food truck!

In India, it is very common to get snack-based south Indian food (dosas, idlis, vadas) from food carts or street vendors, but this hasn't really caught on in the U.S. - so eating a dosa or idli streetside remains a rare experience (I know of just one other such truck - and its in New York - i'm sure theres others in different cities that would be great to learn about)

In any case, San Diego now has it's own food truck. It is usually parked at the intersection of Black Mountain Road and Kearny Villa road, opposite the Am-Pm gas station. The owner, Allen mentioned that they may change their location, but they can be reached at 619 997 6946 to find out where they are parked. They are there fridays 5-7, sat/sun from 12.30-5pm and mondays 5-7.30pm. Probably better to call and check before driving out there."
food  sandiego  foodtrucks  indian  via:carwaiseto 
january 2010 by robertogreco

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