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.

YOUmedia: Back of the Yards Creative Community Workshops Summer 2016

Summer programming at Back of the Yards will be split between curriculum focused on the NVAM Permanent Collection and the Operation Mom’s Couch Exhibition currently on display and the Vision Quilt project founded by Cathy DeForest of Washington state.

Students at BoY are predominantly Latino, or middle school- early high school age.  According to CPL YouMedia staff, these youth have been regularly and directly influenced by gang and gun violence in the neighborhood which has some of the highest rates of gun related deaths in the city (this is also true of the Woodsen branch in Roseland where we will also be running programs this summer.)

Weekly goals:

  • 15-20 youth engaged per session
  • Create a cohort of 10+ youth that regularly attend weekly sessions
  • Complete weekly as well as full program projects
  • Gather feedback from participating youth, non participating youth and CPL staff weekly
  • Gather data at beginning and end or summer program from participating and CPL staff
  • Weekly reflection by NVAM staff at each CPL location of programming
  • Document and share on NVAM Outloud as part of working in the open model

Resources:

  • NVAM Staff: Christine Bespalec-Davis
  • Materials provided by
  • NVAM
  •  CPL
  • Vision Quilt
  • Funding staff hours
  • Hive
  • CPL- Non funded partner in development of YouMedia programming around the city of Chicago to underserved neighborhoods
  • Beginning Summer 2016 to 3 branches
  • Expanding in 2016-17 school year and following summer

Expected outcomes for youth as they engage with the NVAM Curriculum:

  1. Greater understanding of teh real impact of war through th eeyes of those who were there.
  2. Learning to look- utilizing teh NVAM permanent Colelction adn current exhibitions to interpret meaning and the ways in which art shares a story unique to the artist and to the audience.
  3. Meet artists actively sharing stories through art making
  4. Feel confident in sharing ideas and stories through artmaking

Expected outcomes for youth as they engage with the Vision Quilt Project:

  1. Students will view Vision Quilt panels made by a variety of people and reflect on the impact of gun violence on their personal lives and in their communities
  1. Students will generate possible solutions to preventing gun violence through short visual and written exercises, followed by discussion.  These activities will allow students’  voices to be heard and introduce the power of art to create dialogue and social change
  1. Students will create their own 18 x 24 panels, with modeled, guided support.  These Vision Quilt panels will be displayed and celebrated at the Camp Sweeney Open House on June 24, 2016
  1. Students will offer ideas on how to involve their families in making Vision Quilt panels in the future

Inspiring kids about the Vision Quilt:

The Vision Quilt is a national grassroots project using the power of art to prevent gun violence.  You will be  creating panels for the Vision Quilt using spray paint, drawing, painting, stencils and the power of writing, with visiting artists to help.

No art experience is needed.

Your Vision Quilt panels will be displayed at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago in the fall of 2016. Panels made in Chicago will stay in Chicago and be displayed in libraries, community centers, and places of worship. 

Logistics: Students will participate in 8+ sessions of 2 hours each. The model for each session will follow the model of:  Look, Dialog, Make.

June 28- Session 1 NVAM Curriculum

Introduction: NVAM Permanent Collection and Operation Mom’s Couch

Youth are introduced to the NVAM permanent collection and especially Operation Mom’s Couch.  Slideshow from online sources nvam website, nvamoutloud and Eric’s website.

Impact:Art of the Comic Book Cover

  • Looking more closely at examples of comic book covers by Eric Garcia
  • Students break down the elements that make a successful  comic book cover and design a sketch for a super hero comic book tat include: name, superpower, mission , location , etc
  • Finished drawings were hung up in the space.  Proposal tp make the windows of the space into a comic book emerged
  • Prep for Field trip

July 5- Session 1 Vision Quilt Curriculum

  • Kris shared links to research and learn more about the Vision Quilt and the AIDS quilt
  • These links are meant to help teen understand the inspiration behind their project and provide inspiration for preliminary sketches.  Next session will show examples of the VQ and begin more directed drawing and development

July 12- Session 2 NVAM Curriculum

  • Review visit to NVAM
  • Surveys completed
  • Show examples of VQ—look at any sketches of ideas
  • Begin plan for comic book windows!

Summer Wrap up:

  • Finish Quilt– document and critique
  • Meet with Eric Garcia-
  • Critique comic panels and add art to the windows!
  • Prepare for Vision Quilt Showcase at NVAM

NVAM teens participate in Creative Community workshop with Maurice Costello

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.

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To find out more about Maurice Costello’s work, visit http://mauricestudios.com/artwork1.html

Check, one, two! MC workshop with Mel L.

Mel workshop1mel workshop 5Mel workshop 3

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/

Teens react to printmaking workshop with Eric J. Garcia

On Valentine’s Day, Chicago-based artist Eric J. Garcia led a public workshop titled “Hearts for Vets” where he discussed the historical context of printmaking and led a demonstration where participants created Valentine prints for veterans. Below are some of the immediate responses the NVAM Out Loud teens had to the activity:

Members of NVAM Out Loud working on linocuts.
Members of NVAM Out Loud working on linocuts.

eg business card 2 Teens respond to printmaking activity. eg response2 II eg response 3 eg response 4 eg response 5

The Art of Self-Definition: A Graffiti Arts Workshop with Mel L!

Mel is back at the National Veterans Art Museum as a part of the NVAM’s Creative Community workshop series and Chicago Artist Month! Mel L. is a hip hop artist with The Microphone Misfitz and Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. Mel L. created “Evolution of War,” a graffiti mural installation, at the National Veterans Art Museum in 2011 and hosted “Identity and Representation,” a graffiti arts workshop in February 2014.

Why the Art of Self-Definition?

Most graffiti artists are self-taught. They came to the medium for self-expression, self-discovery, and the challenge and thrill of publicly expressing themselves as artists. We invite you to join us in this workshop and to claim your own identity as an artist. No prior experience needed; all artists must begin somewhere. Being an artist is a choice: come learn techniques of spray paint art and learn to see yourself as an artist.