On April 2nd, I had the pleasure of participating in the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts' Catalyst Conference. It was an incredible day of learning, sharing and questioning how we address art, democracy and civic engagement in education. I facilitated a workshop on how barter and cooperative methods can serve as tools for increasing access and engagement in our lives. Below you'll find links to the worksheet and powerpoint used in the presentation, along with helpful links. Use and share freely.
I had the honor of presenting at a recent Arts-Tune Up event, sponsored by the LA County Arts Commission. My topic was on how individuals and non-profit organizations can turn the knowledge & skills they already have into workshops that will get them things then want. To complement the presentation, I created this 8-step guide for how anyone can create a workshop. It takes you through the whole process, from conceptualizing your topic to choosing your audience, to outlining the class, promoting it and getting feedback. It also includes tips on running a great class, which I've collected from the hundreds of students & teachers I've talked with via Trade School LA. I really do believe that everyone has something to offer and that we can create a better world by sharing our skills with each other. Please use & share this freely. Any credit back to me & this website is hugely appreciated.
I founded Trade School LA in the spring of 2014. Trade School is a volunteer-run, open-to-everyone "school" that runs on barter instead of money. Within our first year, over 600 students attended trade school classes - all without the use of money. There are dozens of Trade Schools in cities throughout the world.
How Trade School works:
Step 1) Classes at Trade School LA are taught in exchange for barter items provided by students. For example, if you teach a class about building a website, you might ask students to bring 1 of the following barter items: a pack guitar strings; a paperback novel; a bag of local fruit; help with finding an apartment. Every class's barter will be different, as each instructor sets their own class's exchange.
Step 2) Students sign up for classes on our website, and, by signing up, they agree to bring 1 of the barter items requested by the instructor.
Step 3) On the day of class, the teachers & students meet in a space that is made available by Trade School LA. Students give their barter item to the teacher, and the class begins!
Trade School is a place to learn with other people who value practical wisdom, mutual aid, and the social nature of exchange. We believe that everyone has something to offer.
How did Trade School make it to Los Angeles?
Trade School LA was started in May 2014 by Leanne Pedante, a graphic designer, fitness trainer and community organizer who lives in Highland Park. The organization is powered by a small but mighty crew of volunteers & community partners. It's with a strong belief that communities throughout LA can benefit from this project that we dedicate our time and energy to this project. We can ALWAYS use more volunteers - if you'd like to get involved in the organization, please send us an email!
Each season needs a new soundtrack. It's for this reason that I started SummerSwap in 2011, asking friends to put together their Best Summer Mixtape Ever. Everyone then received burnt CD copies of everyone else's mixes and so that each participant received a package with 12 hours of new summer tunes to enjoy.
Since then music listening has become an online activity, so the Swaps have followed suit. Everyone emails a Spotify or online listening link, and I post their playlists to this very simple page. Mixes are also posted on our Facebook page.
It's a labor of love and something we all look forward to when our music libraries start to get stale. New friends are always welcome, so join in us!
Since the summer of 2013, I have been working with HM157 as a volunteer, and then, as Secretary of the Board. HM157 is a lush oasis of art & community in East LA and working with them is one of my favorite projects. The historically preserved house operates as an artist space, art gallery, music venue, and community center, just to name a few of its functions. To read more about HM157 or to come visit, please stop by our website!
After starting Fun-A-Day Delaware, I wanted to continue to give people a reason to continuously make art. Thus, I started the open-access, online art project called Art Assignment, which posted weekly opportunities for people to make and share art online.
What Is Art Assignment?
Art Assignment is an online art project open to everyone. The goal is to provide artists incentive and momentum to create some art every week, while cultivating an encouraging community.
Each week, a new Theme Word is selected and participants are invited to use that word as a jumping-off point to make/do/say/compose something and share it here on the site.
Absolutely anyone is invited to take part and you can start or stop at any time. Please help spread Art Assignment and help perpetuate continuous creation. ***To download an instruction sheet to submit your artwork, click HERE***
How Art Assignment Works
1. Each Monday a new word is selected from the Art Assignment Theme Word lottery to be that week’s subject word. The word is posted on the site and on the Art Assignment Facebook page and emailed to the art assignment listserv.
2. During the week that follows you create a piece of art (whatever you want – honestly!) using that week’s word as a focus, inspiration, catalyst. You have fun and feel super creative and proud of yourself. Your life is remarkably better.
3. Before the following Monday you submit your creation here.
Together with artist Kati Driscoll, I put together the first-annual Delaware Fun-A-Day community art show in 2012, which hosted the art of over 30 artists in Wilmington, DE. Since then, hundreds of pieces of art have been made and showcased each year in Delaware as part of the event.
What IS Delaware Fun-A-Day?
Fun-A-Day is a community-centric art project and show that happens in cities all over the country each year – including Delaware! Participants choose a project and produce one piece of artwork every day for the entire month of May. The 31 resulting pieces create a narrative outlining each artist’s journey throughout the month.
Fun-A-Day originated with the Artclash Collective – a Philadelphia-based group of artists who organize art projects and shows that aim to be fun, inclusive and participatory. The original project came about as a way to motivate creativity by making it a daily ritual. Fun-A-Day is now in its 8th year and spans dozens of cities! Delaware Fun-A-Day simply adopted the same core concepts and name.