Early this summer, NVAM Education welcomed teens from IMPACT Family Center who participated in a Creative Community workshop with veteran artist Stuart Hall. IMPACT and NVAM Teen Council members worked with Stuart to learn more about his art practice and what inspires him to make art. Primarily, they learned about his art intervention work called fleurs de guerre (flowers or war) and participated in making these poppy inspired flowers as well as consider where they would place these flowers as symbols of peace. IMPACT shared what they did with their flowers after the workshop as well as a film they made that reflects their experience at NVAM and with Stuart.
I place this flower at Impact Family Center because peace brings unity and Impact Family Center has a way of bringing people together as community.
I put this flower on my couch. The reason why I have put this on my couch is because this was a couch my grandmother gave to my family, and she passed away. I cherish this couch, and value it.(JPG 51-215 Sent in Previous email)
Every individual deserves to live a prosperous and healthy life full of blessings; the lighting was too bright so I couldn’t take a picture with the words showing. (JPG 7209)
I decided to place my Poppy at Robichaux Park , located on 9247 S Eggleston. In July a neighborhood friend was shot at this park 2 days before his college orientation, and died. I have a lot of friends that still go to this park , along with little kids. This is why I placed my Poppy here. This is a place where peace is needed.
I place this flower here for peace because we need better lives and better people that’s not killing each other over they most craziest things in the world.
I put this flower on my couch. The reason why I have put this on my couch is because this was a couch my grandmother gave to my family, and she passed away. I cherish this couch, and value it.
My flower will be placed at Altgeld Park, on the West side of Chicago. I practice football here in the mornings and there is a large homeless community. When I walk from the train, you see a lot of them in the stands of the football field just waking up. I place the flower here for peace in these peoples’ lives as they struggle living every day.
These flowers represent the love that we need to share the world because in order to be peaceful, you have to be loving and spread love to everyone and everywhere.
I put my flower on the stairs to show my steps to greatness.
Last Saturday, veteran artist Maurice Costello led the workshop Unconventional Approaches to Painting where magazine pages were utilized as studies in tone and shading. By using only black, dark grey, light grey, and white acrylic paint, participants colored over portions of the magazine page that matched the tonal value. The results were fascinating! Below are images of the NVAM teen council showing off their work. It seemed like once the teens got the hang of the activity, they used the parameters of the assignment to focus on brushwork and demonstrated the experimentation that can occur when placed in an art making situation with boundaries.
To find out more about Maurice Costello’s work, visit http://mauricestudios.com/artwork1.html
Tell Me a Story I DON’T Know!
NVAM Education workshops at the Chicago Childrens Museum at Navy Pier
The art in the National Veterans Art Museum collection showcases the memories, experiences and histories of our nation and the veterans who have served to protect it. Each work of art shares the unique stories of the individual who made it and provides the opportunity to start a conversation resulting in a deeper, more meaningful learning experience. The art brings history to life through the eyes of those who lived it. For our younger audiences, the museum is careful to select age appropriate art from our collection that allows children and their families access to understanding and exploration of veteran voices through art.
In March, NVAM was excited to have the opportunity to work with young artists and their families at the Chicago Children’s Museum. The Tell Me a Story I DON’T Know! workshops invited museum visitors to share stories while creating a portrait of one another. The workshop theme was inspired by the 100 Faces of War Experience and the process of meeting and speaking with each veteran the way Matt Mitchell did over the course of his 9 year project.
On Saturday February 28th, veteran artist Mel L. conducted a free workshop where he taught basic rhyming skills and writing techniques. The NVAM teen council was in full attendance along with some fellow veterans. To get things started, Mel had the whole group engaged in exercises that activated the abdomen which helped with our enunciation. We then did a stream of consciousness writing activity to generate ideas for our rhymes. After refining our thoughts through a cappella writing, Mel played some beats and we adapted our rhymes to become amateur hip hop artists!
The teen council had some questions for Mel and he ever so graciously replied:
How can I improve my graffiti skills?
Practice, practice, practice. Figure out the best way for you to hold the can to get the results you want.
What inspired your technique for your style in graffiti?
I was inspired by the culture. I remember watch old Hip Hop videos and movies back in the day, like Wild Style, and wanting to be a painter. Because I was self taught (I didn’t really know any other graffiti writers in my town) I would say my technique was inspired by what made me the person I was/am today.
What is the name of your crew? The Microphone Misfitz
Do you like doing workshops? I love it. Its a good feeling getting to work with people from so many different ages, cultures and backgrounds. I get to create art while I’m teaching and I like building and feeding off of the people involved.Plus, its cool to know that something I’ve said or done may inspire the group of people to step up in the arts.
What led you to pursuing teaching the youth?
My first job in education came from me being hired as an actor/interpreter at a local museum teaching classes about the exhibits. At the time I had just started my theater company and I was approached by someone who was working there who said I kinda looked like someone the museum wanted portray. I loved working there and since then I have grown to love education as much as the arts.
What inspired or led you to go into the music industry from acting?
I been singing all my life even though acting was my first love. I would sing all the time and even started break dancing and rapping as a kid at school dances. At a lot of my shows we would sing and have competitions to see who was best. When I was sophomore in high school when I was cast a musical, Fiddler on the Roof, when i figured that could do both. because Hip Hop allowed more freedom of speech to say what I felt, how I felt it and me growing up in and embracing the culture as a whole it just kinda took over.
As a veteran, do you find a lot of inspiration from your time serving in the Marines?
Yes, it has influenced my life as a whole and I draw inspiration from my life in general. I did a lot of writing during my time in service. Plus it made making songs, like Ready for War, easier to write.
What inspires you? My family, life, politics, comedy, silly things I see people do on the train, my students, education, things I’m passionate about, books (I read a lot esp. biographies and comic books), people.
Who is your favorite rapper? My two favorite rappers (I’m a Misfit I can’t name just one) would be Scarface and E40.
How do your words flow so naturally? Practice, even the most naturally talented/gifted people have to work at it.
What do you do in your free time?
Hanging out with family, listening to music, and occasionally play video games(Madden, Batman, or war games the don’t remind me of personal experiences).
Is making music your career? Have you gone on tour before?
My career is a mix of arts and education that some people refer to as Edutainment. I make a living a Site Manager for an After School program as well as teaching and performing across the country. I have been blessed to apart of several tours over the years from Comic Con to The Cross State Connection Tours. I usually tour a couple times a year and since my evenings, weekends and sometimes summers are free it really helps.
Did you always like music or did you just pick up on it?
Always, from listening to the blues and in Mississippi with my grandfather, to listening to soul and funk with my mothers aunts and uncle, to picking up country music in the south, classical and jazz in the theatre and Hip Hop in the neighborhood. Music has always been with me.
How do you get yourself to focus on writing a song?
Its never the same. Sometimes I lock myself in a room with the music, a pen, and paper until I have what I want. Sometimes it just comes to me and I have to drop what I’m doing to get the thoughts on the paper. I do a lot of free writing when I’m writing songs as well.
What should I do to sound better?
Speak clearly and enunciate. Your voice is yours, play with it until you find one that you are comfortable with. The tone, inflection and intensity of my voice changes depending on my mood and what message I’m looking to get across.
What should I do to flow when reading out loud?
The more you read over something the more comfortable you become with it so before you read it aloud in front of others read it to yourself a few times and if possible read it out loud to yourself a few times.
For more information about Mel’s work, visit http://themicrophonemisfitz.bandcamp.com/
The National Veterans Art Museum celebrated African American History Month with our “Check One, Two!” free emcee workshop hosted by USMC veteran and artist Mel L.Workshop attendees explored voice projection, creative writing, and freestyle rhyming in our interactive gallery space, marking the second successful creative community workshop in February.
Our first creative community workshop, “Hearts for Vets,” where participants made prints for loved ones, or to be sent to Hines VA, was a huge success!(Pictured above): top left: students work hands on with the printing press.
top right: Workshop leader and veteran artist Eric Garcia gives a demo.
bottom center: prints and other artwork from the workshop being hand-delivered to Hines VA.
Yesterday I was, Today I am (YIWTIA) is a workshop created by the National Veterans Art Museum Education Team that invites participants to create a diptych (two-image) animated GIF (Graphic Interface Format)using Mozilla PopcornMaker to address a personal narrative: Yesterday I was _____, Today I am _____. YIWTIA GIFs are showcased together on NVAM Out Loud. Below is a collection of GIFs from the National Veteran Art Museum Collection, NVAM Teen Council, and other members of our community.
We invite you to create your own GIF using Mozilla PopcornMaker and tag #YIWTIA. You can even remix/respond to existing YIWTIA GIFs! Share the link of your Yesterday I was, Today I am creations in the comments below or e-mail the link to email@example.com.
UPDATE: Aug 11, 2015: Unfortunately, Mozilla has discontinued support for Popcorn Maker online. However Yesterday I was, Today I am continues as a part of NVAM’s educational curriculum using Photoshop to create GIFs!
Nov 22, 2014: NVAM Teen Council led Yesterday I was, Today I am at Flagship: An Art Exhibition Created by the Students at LEARN Charter School” at the Great Lakes Naval Museum! The teens held the workshop for some of the coolest elementary school kids. Check the gallery for photos!
Nov 18, 2014:
NVAM Out Loud was invited to present Yesterday I was, Today I am at the C3 Student Clubs Summit mini-Maker Party at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Check out the YIWTIA GIFs below!
Oct 28, 2014:
NVAM Education is back at the National Veterans Art Museum and have uploaded the YIWTIA GIFs made during MozFest 2014 to the blog, check them out below!
Oct 24, 2014: Second day in London and first day of MozFest 2014! NVAM Education will be presenting Yesterday I was, Today I am on Oct 25 with the Hive Maker Party! Check out how to participate in the Yesterday I was, Today I am workshop at here!
On Tuesdays, high school students from all over Chicago participate in workshops hosted by NVAM teaching artist Carolyn Hoerdeman at YOUMedia, located in the Harold Washington Library downtown. On February 25, 2014 these students visited NVAM to participate in an art making workshop lead by resident artist and veteran Erica Slone and education coordinator Christine Bespalec-Davis.