Archive: Programs 2005

ArtSeed was planted in the year 2000. A grant from the LEF Foundation allowed a group of professional artists, teachers, and parents to put on a unique fine arts summer camp hosted by the Western Addition Beacon Center. Two public middle school classrooms were turned into art studios generously equipped with donations from artists and art supply stores. Fifty citizens with wide ranging arts and life experience (from kindergarten through high school plus adults and seniors) explored Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela, and much more through architecture, painting and printmaking. Significant current events were discussed. The culminating exhibition, “Gods & Monsters,” at Southern Exposure Art Space featured collaborative experiments and work from skills-based and professionally documented portfolios. Our website (www.artseed.org) grew out of this project and continues to promote our mission with its updates of activities and resources for artists, teachers, youth and their families. Sustained and mutually beneficial relationships between core participants evolved into ArtSeed’s unique programs. Charitable contributions provide for scholarships and sliding-scale fees making our services accessible to everyone.

 ArtSeed programs involve three highly interrelated and equally important areas of activity: 1. HouseCalls, 2. Shebangs, and 3. GrapeVines. Based on two years of past programming and plans developed from current pilot projects each program area comprises approximately one third of ArtSeed’s time, efforts and resources.

 1. HouseCalls (Private lessons, art commissions and outreach to individuals)

  • Apprenticeships: Long-term lessons and behind-the-scenes experience working with a professional artist in his or her studio, and assisting with teaching or exhibition planning.
  • Outings: To museums, galleries and studio visits to see art, meet artists, buy supplies and install exhibitions.
  • Outreach: Exhibited artwork returned to students, parent/teacher consultation, art instruction and/or gifts of art and/or art supplies to ill, elderly, incarcerated, expelled or suspended students.
  • Commissions: Temporary or permanent installations of artwork or creativity stations in the home or workplace.

a) Description of the activity, including its purpose and how it furthers our mission
This unique program, instrumental to the success of our organization, involves several interrelated activities. “HouseCalls” refers to one-on-one mentorships or apprenticeships between young or inexperienced artists (especially those from disadvantaged circumstances) and emerging or established professionals in a broad range of creative fields. It also includes the behind-the-scenes support we offer individual families and organizations that help to ensure the sustained participation of those whom subsidized programs are meant to benefit.

HouseCalls seeks to help solve the truancy problem many serious art programs face. A growing number of kids do not have the necessary family supervision and resources at home to ensure their ability to comply with standards of attendance, behavior and organization. Safety concerns cause vigilant parents in troubled neighborhoods to keep their kids at home after school. Girls have younger siblings and household chores they are expected to look after. Transportation, logistical and financial difficulties, learning differences and cultural barriers may preclude participation as well. Therefore, it is often kids from financially stable families in secure neighborhoods who, by default, end up finishing these cost-free programs. To attract and maintain involvement among disadvantaged youngsters many youth art projects are forced to offer activities that provide little incentive to learn or try new things. They become more recreational than educational, reinforcing activities and interests kids already have instead of exposing them to new ideas and skills. 

Resisting the head count orientation of most funding initiatives, ArtSeed believes that learning through a committed, long-term partnership creates profound shifts in the individual student. 

Our goal is to follow students over an extended period of time and to expose them to a variety of fundamental professional skills and artistic perspectives. We also develop their critical understanding of art history from cultures around the world and connect their interest in popular culture to contemporary fine art trends. Individualized, face-to-face attention from a teacher improves the student’s discipline and involvement when he or she is then integrated into group situations. Participants get the craft, criticism and business skills necessary to being a professional. We have found that once meaningfully engaged, youngsters have the ability to reach out to each other in exponentially greater numbers than the ordinary “here today but gone tomorrow” program for hundreds.

b) When activity was or will be initiated
We plan to expand several pilot projects that were initiated three years ago. These include escorting or transporting students to classes and events, delivering art supplies and instruction to ill or suspended students, consulting with individual teachers and students over specific arts related home work, developing portfolios and assisting in applications or auditions for competitive award opportunities. We are poised to collect abandoned children’s art from other programs to decorate hospital walls or to send on lunch trays as greetings to seniors who get “Meals on Wheels.” ArtSeed is capable of setting up and maintaining studio-like creativity centers in schools or corporate settings. In these “Art Gyms,” employees will have a convenient place to make greeting cards or try new forms of art to take home, decorate their place of work or send out into the community as public relations drives or displays. Young artist assistants will be introduced to business environments. Their interactions with, and contributions to, various professionals open new possibilities for symbiotic mentoring relationships. Apprenticeships normally involve two meetings per month.

c) Where and by whom the activities will be conducted
 ArtSeed artists and volunteers will continue visiting homes, schools, hospitals and detention centers to solve the problems preventing full participation in extracurricular programs with parents, caretakers, and students. Homes and studios of ArtSeed artists and volunteers will continue to be used to prepare refreshments or full course dinners to honor teachers and parents. Josefa Vaughan works with teachers and counselors in schools to find ways to enable a young person’s involvement in projects of interest. Family members are invited to attend classes and go on field trips to studios like Vaughan’s Bayview Hunters Point space. They visit galleries, museums, art supply stores, and community centers. Both the glamour and the rigor of the professional artist’s life are experienced in many different settings.

 “HouseCalls” create mutually beneficial relationships between artists and students. Both parties stand to gain in a variety of ways from the experience. Older artists benefit from the practical assistance and fresh approach that a youthful intern is likely to inspire, and aspiring artists gain knowledge, experience and a prospective reference and mentor. We also offer our outreach services to other initiatives and organizations. For instance, we have organized carpools for, or phone call campaigns to, parents reminding them to attend other programs’ events. Ultimately, families and communities are served as generation and cultural gaps are bridged with activities and celebrations that began as “HouseCalls.”

 2. Shebangs (Public art commissions, workshops and culminating events)

  • Classes for children, youth, adults and seniors after-school, weekends or summers.
  • Teacher/artist training & docent programs connecting communities to art exhibitions.
  • Lectures, panels and demonstrations in schools, libraries, hospitals and galleries.
  • Exhibitions, performances and receptions in galleries, alternative art spaces or parks.
  • Commissions of artwork installations or creativity fitness stations in civic centers or work places.

 

a) Description of the activity, including its purpose and how it furthers our mission
ArtSeed has grown out of several years of classes and residencies in public and private schools and through outreach programs of museums and alternative art venues. “Shebangs” refers to classes, lectures, demonstrations, and panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions or performances offered to the general public. Artists, youngsters and volunteers meet and discover new aspects of their own excellence and ability to solve problems while assisting with learning and culminating events. Acknowledgement of interdependence builds self-esteem as mentorships mature. Most of these educational programs culminate in festive exhibitions, performances and continuing collaborations between participating individuals and organizations. Subjects for art making, exhibitions and events have ranged from classical literature to current events. Public presentations of artwork – both individual and collaborative – give families a chance to celebrate and showcase the talents and courage displayed by ArtSeed students, volunteers, and teachers. During festive culminating events participants of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to meet and cooperate as well as discuss each other’s art. Additionally, Shebangs are “asset builders” as youngsters create constructive occasions to obtain positive attention and discover ways to invest in the well-being of their community. All culminating events and some educational programs are intergenerational and embrace a variety of communities.

b) When activity was or will be initiated
ArtSeed has held numerous public workshops and exhibitions in the past two years and will continue to do so as an integral outgrowth of our HouseCalls apprenticeship program. We are looking into the possibility of organizing a Bay Area Arts Apprenticeship Summit in the summer of 2003 to showcase participant’s experiences and artistic results and to encourage the formation of new partnerships. We are also seeking corporations that will commission ArtSeed to design permanent artworks and/or “creativity fitness centers” for the workplace. These drop-in “Art Gyms,” monitored by ArtSeed interns, will give employees an opportunity to make greeting cards or learn new art forms from ArtSeed interns. These young interns will benefit from having access to studio space and regular contact with professionals in a variety of fields with real life experiences to share. Public workshops or presentations could be offered in these corporate studios as well.

c) Where and by whom the activities will be conducted
Venues have included libraries, civic centers, senior centers, community centers, schools and museums. We would like to include hospitals, churches and detention centers along with various corporate and industrial sites. Professional teaching artists with many years of experience conduct classes and workshops. Sometimes invited guest artists or experts in other professions help connect lessons in the visual arts to other art forms, subject areas or to careers. Shebangs are a time of sharing between ArtSeed artists, students and their families, but they also help to cross-fertilize communities and enrich the public at large. 

3. GrapeVines (Networking, brainstorming, follow-up documentation and referrals) 

  • Website: www.artseed.org
  • ArtSeed Bay Area Directory of Resources for Artists and Youth: This unique document began as a feasibility study ArtSeed compiled in its earliest formative months. Answers to questions addressed in this survey of arts providers became a useful community needs-assessment that informs and validates ArtSeed’s mission.
  • Professional development and vocational guidance: Students develop their résumés, make site visits, conduct interviews, design invitations, compile press lists, do mailings, promote events, learn computer and administrative skills, and attend board meetings with brainstorming, fund raising and accounting components.
  • Information and referrals: ArtSeed artists, students and volunteers attend workshops, symposia and receptions by other agencies to share ideas, develop skills and cultivate connections that enrich others and contribute to the cooperative spirit of the arts community.
  • Public relations and media access: Artists, students and volunteers have aired their opinions in newspaper articles and on KQED-TV’s live webcast. Projects such as “Postcards to People in Power” will allow them to address their hopes to world leaders and media. ArtSeed “scribes” (students and artists on buses and in schools) will also make this activity available to others. 

a) Description of the activity including its purpose and how it furthers our mission
ArtSeed is becoming an important resource for vocational guidance, information and referrals in the arts for youngsters. Information gathered during our feasibility and needs-assessment research is developing into a comprehensive Directory of Resources for Artists and Youth. This document describes employment opportunities for artists and services offered to youth. ArtSeed officers and volunteers will develop and distribute information from this directory through our website, and upon funding, it will have a printed form. Once published, this directory will give our clients access to otherwise unknown possibilities for their artistic, social and professional development.

ArtSeed promotes new opportunities and possibilities for participants to expand their talents and interests beyond that of ArtSeed itself. We provide links to other organizations, venues, and events in the Bay Area arts community. As a result of ArtSeed tutoring, which helped produce competitive portfolios, several students in recent years have won prestigious awards or have completed programs such as the San Francisco High School of the Arts and the Yerba Buena Center’s Young Artists at Work Program. Our website displays a gallery of art works, step by step lesson plans for art projects, a glossary of art terms, philosophical discussions, tips for addressing learning differences, links to other resources and much more.

b) When activity was or will be initiated
Emerging and established artists have acted as impresario to disadvantaged students for several years through private lessons, portfolio reviews and referrals. ArtSeed has assisted many students’ preparations for interviews, submissions and auditions after compiling and distributing information about various competitive or collaborative opportunities offered by other agencies. We write letters of recommendation for deserving students and make contacts that could further their goals. We attend symposia and receptions to stay abreast of current initiatives, distinguished persons and new programs in the arts.

c) Where and by whom the activity will be conducted
ArtSeed participants at various levels and programs will be encouraged to learn and teach new technologies related to administrative, organizational and design skills at Vaughan’s Mission District home office. GrapeVines will not only serve students and artists. The Bay Area community in general will have access to our Directory of Resources for Artists and Youth via our website. This directory may develop into an artist’s book using geographical information systems and other visual mapping techniques. The state of Bay Area arts and education at this critical time will be distilled, beautifully (and perhaps humorously) archived for future generations to appreciate. ArtSeed artists, volunteers and students will connect with various professionals and agencies to expand their ability to serve the elderly, ill or incarcerated with art lessons, mentorships, exhibitions and gifts of artwork by children. 

ArtSeed’s mission is to invite people of all ages and backgrounds to grasp, utilize, and transform the arts. We are a nonprofit alliance of artists working with various individuals and organizations to develop innovative projects while providing long-term vocational guidance to the young or disadvantaged. Our apprenticeships, field trips, and workshops result in exhibitions, competitive individual portfolios, collaborative proposals and employment opportunities. Our behind-the-scenes mentorships and festive events cross-fertilize the cultural richness of diverse communities. We envision homes, schools and work environments infused with shared creativity, critical thinking and peaceful self-expression. Contact: Josefa Vaughan, Box 401177, San Francisco, CA 94140-1177, Phone: 415-641-5909, Fax: 415-641-4442, Email: art@josefa.com , Websites: www.artseed.org and www.josefa.com (please sign the guest books!)