Eric Garcia visits the Back of the Yards CPL branch YOUmedia

Teens from the Back  of the Yards YOUmedia visited NVAM in July at the beginning of their summer Creative Community workshop series. Operation Mom’s Couch, a solo exhibition by local artist and veteran Eric Garcia was on exhibition .  Through out the course of the Creative Community workshops, BoY teens made art in response to the NVAM collection as well as in relation to the art made by Eric Garcia including development of superhero characters that relate to personal stories or issues of importance to the teens, developing short comic strips and narratives and designing comic book covers.

 

These finished projects as well as other works in progress were shared with Garcia when he was able to visit the branch in August. Along with sharing the process behind his work, Garcia shared how his work has developed over time and offered insight into how to work with changing ideas and influences.  Teens and youth in the program used this inspiration to decorate the YOUmedia space by adding their superheroes to the glass windows that make up the walls around the space. Overall everyone had a ton of fun and learned a lot about ways art can be used to share ideas through our personal stories as well as humor.

National Veterans Art Museum at the Chicago Childrens Museum at Navy Pier

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.

The Great Artdoors: T-shirt Therapy

Today for the Great Artdoors, teens looked into the NVAM collection at Regina Vasquez, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, and and her work with Fatigues Clothesline. “Fatigues Clothesline is a vehicle which bridges a gap between survivors and their family, their therapists and the advocates who are advocating for us in Washington DC by providing communication, symbolism, awareness and Change regarding military sexual trauma. By allowing our survivors to be heard once and for all!” We discussed the seriousness of this issue, the importance of Fatigues Clotheslines work for the victims and spreading awareness, and how our choices with clothing are impactful. Clothing is used as our personal identifiers, whether that be our choice of brand, make, or imagery.

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“My t-shirt is covered with colorful words that I use to define myself such as sensitive, proud, devotion, commitment, and friendship. The words are covered with hands. The hands are representative of how other try to hide me behind their own perceptions.

-Hunter // 17 // Westinghouse College Prep

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“I feel like what Regina Vasquez is doing with Fatigues Clothesline is for a very good cause. The fact that we need to speak up more about military rape is empowering. I completely understand that, more than anyone else possibly could, without getting into details, this is a really important issue to me. Rape is serious.”

-N.G. // 15 // Illinois Online High School

And We’re Back & It’s Cold: The Great Artdoors 2015

If snow days will not stop teens from heading to YOUmedia, a frozen Chicago will not stop us from making art! The Great Artdoors, for new readers, is a public art workshop series hosted by YOUmedia and the National Veterans Art Museum. Each week we have one hour workshops taught by an NVAM teaching artist. Each workshop is centered around creating public art in Chicago and connecting to the NVAM’s mission to create a greater understanding of war experience.

For the first workshop of 2015 we headed straight into the cold! The teens were introduced to the NVAM.org online collection, looking at veterans artists that use moldmaking techniques such as Marcus Eriksen, U.S. Marine Corps, Persian Gulf War (Kuwait), and Jim Leedy, U.S. Army, Korea. We discussed how what moldmaking is and how artist use it as a technique to get extreme details and create mass multiples.

Angel in the Desert
Angel in the Desert by Marcus Eriksen
The Earth Lies Screaming and The Atomic Skull by Jim Leedy
The Earth Lies Screaming and The Atomic Skull by Jim Leedy

We also looked at Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo‘s Minimum Monument installation of 5,000 “melting men” at Chamberlain Square, Birmingham on August 2, 2014 to commemorate victims of WWI. The ice figures were placed out with the help of volunteers and left to melt in the sun.

Minimum Monument by Nele Azevedo
Minimum Monument by Nele Azevedo

Using dental grade alginate (a food-safe, seaweed based, inexpensive, moldmaking material), the teens thought of symbols to create molds of and cast in ice to place in public space in the loop. Some of the symbols included peace signs, hearts formed from hands, and palms.

Here are some reflections from the teens about the workshop:

Yesterday I was, Today I am

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 info@nvam.org.

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!

Oct 10, 2014:
The NVAM Education Team has been invited to represent 
Hive Chicago and presentYesterday I was, Today I am at MozFest 2014 in London, UK! While NVAM Education is presenting YIWTIA in London, NVAM Teen Council will be at Collect-O-Rama on October 25th presenting YIWTIA at a mini-Maker party hosted by Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

Check back October 23-27 for international updates!


 

How To Use Mozilla PopcornMaker to Make a YIWTIA GIF!connectedlearning_yiwtia

By Maurice Costello Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 196th Light Infantry Brigade 1967-68
By Maurice Costello Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 196th Light Infantry Brigade 1967-68

 

Teen Council goes to the Chicago History Museum!

What happens when you take 15 teens to the Chicago History Museum?

First of all– I was impressed by the connections and insight that the teens made in regards to engaging with history and their role in the results of important social political and cultural events that impacted our city as well as the country as a whole.

We spent time looking at photos in the Vivian Maier exhibition which captures the streets and people of Chicago in candid, everyday happenings.  These photos highlighted important historical events like the Democratic Convention of 1968 and the race riots following the assassination of Martin luther King Jr., but it also showcased the day to day moments that reveal the true life of the city.  Both themes were recognized and admired by the teens who could recognize neighborhoods and contemplate how these events affected the lives they are living today– both similar and different, complicated and commonplace.

This sentiment continued in our viewing of the Exhibition 1968 which showcases the overwhelming multitude of events and trends of the year that shaped the future of our country, still evident today. From these events, teens were asked to focus on one that really stood out or grabbed their attention. This event will be used as inspiration for an art project we will be working on in the coming weeks looking at identity, history and looking into the future. Additional questions included what did you learn today?  Who will you be in 50 years? What will you remember and what will have changed? to supplement generating ideas for a reflective art project.

Teen Council made a list of things they learned during their trip. Here are a few highlights:

> The largest population of young people were entering college and being drafted (baby boomers) a major drive of the energy of the 60s.

> If Robert Kennedy was not assassinated he would probably have been elected president.

> The first Miss Black America Pageant was held, giving black women a chance to role model and represent their beauty.

> Don’t put ketchup on a Chicago Style Hot Dog

 

 

 

Cross Regional Art Exhibit hosted by NVAM

This is the cross regional photo and media art exhibit. In it were the following programs; NVAM OUT LOUD, Elevarte: Community Studio, Seeking the Hero Within: digital photography with Monica Cruz & Orlando Comacho, and digital photography graphic design with Peter Chechopoulos. We put this all together both separately and together. Each program made their pieces within their own program but when it came to the big day we all came together to make it happen.
In it were various pieces ranging from clay sculptures, woodblock photography, sketching, painting, digital artwork, videos, installations, and many more. We also had some art that we gave away…things like buttons or zines that were made to link with our final art pieces. We wanted other people to try comprehending and understanding our work the way that we see it. Therefore we all put together this art exhibit and made it open to the public so that they can see it our way. We feel the show was a great success because each piece told one of the artists stories, and were all appreciated by all of whom may have looked at our pieces because it brought them closer to understanding who we are.

Destination Chicago: Milan J.

Throughout the exciting times I’ve had at NVAM, I have to say that I was not prepared for this. When I first entered the Cultural Center where Destination Chicago was being held I immediately got lost in the artwork on the first floor, but then i realized that the show was actually being held on the second floor. So as I walked up the stairs I simply fell in love with the building’s architecture, entered through a long hall,was greeted by some nice people who directed me to my table, then I helped set up.

During the time that I was helping with our own table I never looked up once, but when I did I was so surprised… Never have I ever seen so many Art types in one place made by people and teens you interact with almost every day. I was so happy to be a part of that environment because I was filled in a room of people like me who shared my interest in art as well as their own opinions on what they believe art really is.

When the show officially started, things seemed to just keep getting better. First, there was the first wave of people coming in, and their excitement in our displays was so great. It was honestly a new feeling to me because these were children younger than me who respected art for what it is and not just a picture or random object.As the show continued more and more people came, but that wasn’t as exciting as one of the main visitors that came in and took a leisurely stroll around viewing our artwork. It was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and he really did seem busy, but even so he took the time out of HIS day to look at OUR art which is one of the reasons that he gets respect from me, because showing your appreciation in art like he did just makes me so happy to be an artist as well as a respected human being. Hopefully more memories like this will be made…and if I’m lucky they will come very soon.

Well that’s how my experience at Destination Chicago went….(not to mention i got lost downtown looking for the building and i was directly across the street from it) even so good memories come in different shapes and form. This is just one of mine.