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:

Community Drawings

To expand on our drawing exercises and to further practice our ability to see and represent our community we went our with the group on several drawing "missions". We spent our time choosing locations and objects in our neighborhood that we wanted to depict, and pt drawing (and looking/seeing)skills to the test. Here are some examples of the work created during these sessions (work by Anthony, Arlene, Elsa, Julisa, Wesley, Jason):

Mapping Home

One of our first lessons focused on mapping and color. We worked on creating a map of our home. Once these maps were completed we talked about color and its meaning and connotations. Next, participants worked on assigning color to each of the areas of their homes, which, in their minds, expressed the "feeling" of each of the rooms (ie.: Living room=green=calm, organized, clean, fresh) and put together list of words to describe their favorite room in the house. Here are some examples of these home maps by Elsa, Arlene and Wesley:

Drawing = Seeing!

Some of the exercises we worked on during this Spring session of NOMAD LAB focused on drawing from nature and drawing arrangements of objects. We explored concepts such as volume, foreground and background, shadows and light, composition and object relationship.
Below are a couple of examples of participants's work.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Choruses, family stories and more mapping! (Week 5)

Last Saturday we had the pleasure to welcome some of our participants' family members into our Public Art and Creative Writing Lab. Older siblings and parents helped us tell stories about their experiences in our community, which we represented through drawing and writing. Some of the work created will be added to our VDO google map soon!

We continue to work on a 5-layer map of our Valle del Oro community. Using Google maps, drawing, storytelling and writing, we are mapping our experiences in the community using the following sequence:
1st layer: Our community and its physical components (its buildings, streets, trees, pools, playgrounds)
2nd: Our experiences with our families in the VDO neighborhood
3rd: Our challenges and difficulties (personal experiences an those affecting others in our community)
4th: Our dreams, desires and wants for our community
5th: Our beliefs about the community

This sequence was inspired by a Theater of the Oppressed game created by Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal, which we have adapted to create our multi-layered map. Our final map will be exhibited on May 1st -the day of our neighborhood festival) and the virtual Google map is already available online (see our previous post).

Creative Voice Lab continues to provide a fascinating space for playful investigation of our individual voices. We were also able to explore our voices in the context of an improvisational exercise that allowed us to experience Voice as a group. Our instructor Carmina, "directed" our voices like an orchestra director would: using her hands to indicate changes in volume and quality of sound, silence and creative improvisation, we were all able to try on different musical phrases, noises and support each other in the making of a new, completely improvised song. It was wonderful and quite revealing. We talked with our participants about the power of the collective voice, of the choir, of individual voices coming together into a single song... a beautiful metaphor for the work of collaboration and partnership Valle del Oro residents have engaged in for the last 3 years.

We continue to be inspired by the commitment, creativity and willingness to share that all workshops participants show in every session. Everyone, teachers and participants, is growing in the best possible way: together.

Three more weeks before the festival!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Check out our Map!

View Valle del Oro, Newhall in a larger map

Some of our work

Drawing our community, mapping our homes, our words, our neighborhood's "spooky" places, our favorite spots, our best weekend... come by NOMAD LAB to see our drawing in The Map Room!