|Nicole, 10 years old "Don't Litter"|
The PLACE program has resulted in the creation of dozens of works of art that will be exhibited throughout Tucson starting in May 2012. The art describes the challenges, hopes and aspirations of youth and adults in the 29th Street area. The project is part of the 4R Neighborhood Coalition’s multi year efforts to improve life in the area. The coalition includes five neighborhoods; Julia Keen, Myers, Alvernon Heights, Roberts and Naylor. Economic development has been a recent priority, in the past crime had been the number one concern but after nearly a decade of neighborhood activism the crime rates finally came down enough for people to take a breath. TAB was called in as part of the seeding efforts – to provide positive community building programs that engaged everyone in beautifying the places they live and work.
|By Macielle, 11 years old|
Our work with youth over the past few years has been informed by the concept of transformation, and we use the overpass, the site of our second mural, as a metaphor. Destination – Transformation – Portal – Arrival can be interpreted in a number of ways. We have danced and sung this idea, created artwork and poems. Perhaps the most important part of this analogy is that we ourselves are changing, and growing as a community of learners and neighborhood stewards.
Students have selected a number of themes to work on ranging from bullying, graffiti and litter bugs to eating healthy and protecting our beautiful and unique desert eco-system. We had a number of visitors come and speak to us about neighborhood issues and what was important to people living in and around the 29th Street area.
|Macielle, 11 years old "Protect our Delicate Environment"|
We have been working with TAB Marketing Director Jodi Netzer on transforming these artworks into posters and banners. The 11 x 17 posters will be rolled out on Suntran buses over the next year. Pat Richter, now community outreach director for Suntran, also came to visit our class to show examples of the current ads. This was nice because Pat was instrumental in running the 29th Street Weed and Seed Coalition for years. We talked about what worked and what didn’t. It was impressive to see how visually advanced the students in our program are.
We are now making final touches on our artwork. PLACE students are going back and looking into their portfolios to finish old artworks, some are writing about their ideas, others are starting new posters. We are really excited to see these images as they transform into posters.
Stay tuned to this blog to see the final artworks, or join us May 9 for an exhibit and celebration of our work this school year.
This project has been made possible by support from the Puffin Foundation, Pantano Christian Church, Pro-Neighborhoods, The Tucson Pima Arts Council PLACE initiative funded by the Sorros and Nathan Cummings Foundations.