Friday, June 29, 2007

Community Arts 360

Before it closed, I went by MICA to check out the Masters of Art in Community Arts Americorps Show"Community Arts 360". Last year, I was a member of the inaugural class of this innovative Master's degree. Since graduating, I have focused my attention on working with Seniors in the Washington, DC area. I was curious to see what this year's class had accomplished during their Americorps residencies.
Several projects stood out.
First, was Tracie Pouliot's work with "Kids on the Hill". The goal of her residency was to talk about health and what 'being healthy" means. She dispalyed beautiful block print postcards with health concious messages created by the youth she worked with. Some of the slogans were pretty good. (and, I am also a sucker for the blockprint...a la "Bread and Puppet") She also had a video featuring the participants talking about healthy food choices, etc. What a great way to approach her residency. You can tell she was very passionate about these issues and was able to ignite that passion in the youth she worked with.
Another piece that stood out was the work of Ashley Minnor. She worked with Native American Youth of Baltimore City during her residency. She delved right into stereotypes by featuring photos of participants she worked with holding signs with derogatory sayings or assumptions about Native American people. What captured me the most about these photos, beyond the 'in-your-face" ness, is the beautifully composed shots. The background with lockers painted institutional pinks and mint, certainly far away from any native culture.
Finally is Amanda Smit's installation of books she made during her residency at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Amanda graduated with me during the first MACA class. However, she decided to stay and do another Americrorps residency at the library. Her installation impressed me by the sheer number of books, but also how she clustered them in a way that conveyed a sense of community within the making of these books. Lovely.

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