Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fall Trimester with NOMAD LAB

12 weeks of NOMAD LAB!!! Where to start??!!!
This has been a remarkable trimester with the residents, teaching artists and NOMAD LAB partners. We had many breakthroughs:
- NOMAD LAB received a donation of 10 laptops that allowed us to open a computer class for adults in the community, as well as support our existing Electronic Music Lab for youth. 
- Mr. Jose Chunga joined our team of NOMAD instructors. He is the first Valle del Oro resident leading a NOMAD LAB workshop. Mr. Chunga has done an inspired job this semester, and we hope other residents follow his lead. 
- We added 2 new workshops for youth:
Candrice Jones, a recent graduate from CalArts, taught our first-ever Storytelling Lab. This creative writing workshop was inspired by Elsa Colorado, one of our NOMAD students, who early on identified the need for a place to share stories in our community
Jan Smail led the Cooking Lab whihc included both adult and youth participants. A wonderful and tasty success!!
- NOMAD LAB partnered with CalArts theater student Sam Breen and mother Lydia Breen in their Trailer Project. This is an outstanding public art project that invited students to explore and define their ideas of "home" and "community" through theater games, creative writing and visual arts. 
- For the first time, NOMAD was allowed to occupy 2 (instead of only one) apartments in The Village Apartment Complex. This allowed us to add classes for adults and install our computer studios. Thank you to The Village Management Staff for their continued trust and support!
- NOMAD LAB has been honored with recognitions from the City of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and we remain humble and grateful for their constant trust and support. 
- CalArts students in the Arts and Activism class visited our NOMAD LAB spaces and worked with our students during 2 of our sessions. This direct relationship with CalArts students will continue, and students will receive credit for their work in NOMAD.

Thank you to our courageous participants and their supportive parents for the work they are creating in NOMAD LAB. They are the leaders of change in the Valle del Oro Community. And to our volunteer instructors... you are the proof that passion and creativity are the engines of change.

If you would like to know more about this program please contact us at

Below are some of the pictures that capture our work this trimester. Enjoy and see you on February 5th!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Contact Information

Evelyn Serrano, Program Coordinator and Teaching Artist

WHAT A SUMMER!!! NOMAD LAB in session!!

Electronic Music Beat Lab
Parent Volunteer Jose Chunga teaching T-shirt design
Parent volunteer Jose Chunga printing the youths' t-shirt designs
Off-The-Wall Graffitti Lab / Making Stencils
Off-The-Wall Graffitti Lab
Off-The-Wall Graffitti Lab
Off-The-Wall Graffitti Lab
Architecture Lab
Architecture Lab
Architecture Lab
Architecture Lab
Electronic Music Beat Lab
Electronic Music Beat Lab
Guitar Lab
Electronic Music Beat Lab
Creative Voice Lab / Teens and Adults

This summer NOMAD LAB worked with over 50 Valle del Oro residents during 7 consecutive weekends. The labs offered were:

Creative Voice Lab 
Journalism Lab
Architecture Lab
Off-The-Wall Graffitti Lab (Painting Lab)
Electronic Music Beat Lab
Guitar Lab

We would like to thank the remarkable team of NOMAD LAB volunteer teaching artists: Carribean Fragoza, Alfredo Miranda, Sasha Monge, Arturo Betanzos, Javier Barajas, Erinn Horton, Megan Broughton, Jack Heard, and Cindy Santos Bravo

Our special thanks go to Mr. Jose Chunga, one of our parent volunteers, for teaching a great workshop on t-shirt design and printing, and to the best partners one could ever wish for: City of Santa Clarita's Cynthia Llerenas and Hope Horner and The Village Management Company staff!!!

And to the Valle del Oro youth and their parents... what a pleasure and honor it is to work, create and learn with you. Can't wait to see you for our Fall session in October!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

NOMAD LAB awarded the Los Angeles County Fifth District's John Anson Ford Human Relations Award!!!

Hurra for NOMAD LAB!!!!
Our program is one of only 5 in LA County chosen to receive the John Anson Ford Human Relations Award!!! The recognition was given to our program by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and Commissioner MIchael Antonovich for excellence in community-based programming that advances equitable inter-group relations, non-violent conflict resolution and an inclusive multicultural society.

We are thrilled and honored by this recognition!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our NOMAD LAB Spring 2010 Culminating Event and VDO Festival!!

The NOMAD LAB culminating event and Valle del Oro community festival on May 1st was a wonderful success!! It was so inspiring to see so many community residents, the youth, the NOMAD LAB instructors, volunteer artists, The Village Management staff, City staff all working together and enjoying the fruit of our collaboration!!!

Some of what we did...

Drum circle with Rob Peterson
NOMAD LAB certificates and summer session announcements
Concert by The Bossanova Project
Concert by The Nomad Jokers Band
Storytelling sessions at Elsa’s Storytelling Lab
Opening of NOMAD LAB art exhibition
Road Art Chalk Mural
Car painting workshop by Wesley F.
Face painting
NOMAD Garden
“Homes for Puppies” by Ana
and much more!!

This festival is an initiative of the Valle del Oro Neighborhood Committee, and was made possible thanks to the invaluable commitment and energy of our Valle del Oro residents, and the exceptional support of Cynthia Llerenas, Hope Horner, and the City of Santa Clarita Community Services Division. We would also like to give very special thanks to Geoffrey Palmer, owner, GHP Management, and the management staff at The Villlage Apartments for hosting this event and supporting NOMAD LAB programs at the Village. The Committee would also like to recognize Dr. Sandra Thomas, Josh Parr and the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. We would like to thank musicians Rob Peterson and his Bossanova Project music ensemble for generously sharing their artistry with us all. To the outstanding NOMAD LAB team of instructors and volunteers, and our brilliant, fearless and infinitely talented NOMAD LAB Spring 2010 participants and their supportive families we say: your dreams, talents and collaborative spirit are helping us turn our neighborhood around!
Thank you all for your contribution to this festival and to our Valle del Oro community!!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Valle del Oro 5-Layer Google Map is now very close to completion!

Check out our work, our neighborhood, stories, dreams, desires, and hopes for the future right here:

View Valle del Oro, Newhall/ Spring 2010 in a larger map

Our Final Projects!

The last couple of weeks have brought a whirlwind of creativity! And we still have one more session to go before we celebrate our community festival on May 1st. We have been tiredlessly working on our final projects which will be shared and exhibited as part of the festival, along with our 5-layer community map, our Google map and a gallery exhibition of all of our work. And as always, the participants (raging in age from 6 to 58) don't cease to amaze us with their endless creativity, energy and commitment to their NOMAD LAB projects. We want to thank Cynthia and the City of Santa Clarita Community Services Division for providing the necessary supplies that are making these projects a reality.

The final projects came from the participants' response to the following: If you could build/propose/change in your community, what would it be? The projects all embody the dreams and desires of the participants for their neighborhood. And they all abide by the two conditions we put forth: the projects needed to benefit the community AND had to be shared in a public venue (our upcoming community festival). And here are some of the proposals!!

ROAD ART! This project, proposed by Gabby with Megan, will take over an area of approximately 100 x 30 ft of paved road for the purposes of a chalk mural that will be created collectively by the festival participants. The proposed artwork and accompanying text were designed by Gabby.

This project was proposed by Vanessa, who worked with Sasha, Jack and Evelyn to refine the concept. Vanessa wanted a community garden for our community. We discussed space, logistics, and maintenance issues and came up with an alternative that pleased everyone: our first NOMAD LAB garden! This project is a variation in the traditional community garden in that this garden will be nomadic: a garden on wheels! This week we will build a container garden with casters. On the day of the festival we will do our first plantings and sign up neighborhood families who are interested in taking care of the garden. Families will have the garden under their care for a week. After a week, the garden will be relocated and a different family will take over its care. The ambulant garden will be cared by many and enjoyed by all.
Here are our first drawings. Stay tuned for photos of the new NOMAD Garden!

This project was proposed by Wesley with his mom, Ms. Arlene. Wesley is already a skilled artist in his own right. On the day of the festival he will be leading a car painting workshop for youth, in which participants will be guided in the process of creating and completing paintings of cars that they will be able to take home as decoration.

This project was proposed by Elsa who is currently working closely with Cari to bring it to life. The project proposes a place for reading, sharing of stories from the past and the future, and learning of the craft of writing.

This project, proposed by Jenny, consists of a theater for the performance of puppetry and theater plays. Can't wait to see this project continue to take shape!

This project was proposed by Oscar with the help of Megan. On the day of the festival Oscar will share a presentation board with his ideas for this game room of the future!


This project was proposed by Arielle in collaboration with Jesus and Jimmy. They will be sharing their presentation board with their ideas for a water park you won't want to miss!
By the way, we have started to work on planning for our summer session and are considering having a big closing celebration at the end of July which might include an actual version of this water park!!!

This project was an original idea by Ana and the team bringing it to life consists of Joei, Ana, Julisa, and Evelyn. The team is designing veritable dream homes for neighborhood puppies. One the day of the festival neighbors will be able to admire these puppy paradises and even take one home for their favorite puppy!

Join us on May 1st -11am to3pm- to share on the NOMAD LAB participants' generous and collaborative creativity!!!

Our Stories, Our Selves

Three weeks ago we invited our family members to join us for a session of drawing and storytelling. Here is our writing prompt for this particular session:

Discovering Stories!

Last week we wrote about our own memorable experiences in the neighborhood, whether they were fun or scary. This week, let’s help each other explore and discover the stories of others in the community.

1. Listen to your partner’s story.
2. Draw your partner’s story.
3. Give your drawing/partner’s story a title.
4. Switch! Repeat steps 1-3.
5. Share stories with everyone.
Here are some story prompts to help you get started. Have fun!

Do you remember the first time you came to this community? Tell us the story of your first time here. What do you remember seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling?

An interesting thing happened on my way to…. What happened? Where? When?

The most interesting I discovered was…. Tell us about a discovery you made one day? Where did it happen? Where and when? How did it feel?

Think of a time when you had a visitor come to your house. Who was it, what did you do? How did you feel about having them visit?

One time my neighbors…

If I had a magic wand and could change anything about my neighborhood, I would….

The best thing about living here is….

Great writing prompts, no? The participants and their family members told stories about their neighbors, family visitors, ditching school, witnessing violence, discovering the moon, making friends, taking classes in NOMAD LAB, learning about art, moving into Valle del Oro,etc. The stories, just like our group, were rich and diverse, and we enjoyed sharing them with each other. Here is some of the work that we created during this session: