Week 16: Intermedia Arts + Little Earth of United Tribes

Intermedia Arts - Micheal Hay - 1 hr

This past week I couldn't make it to Kulture Klub on Thursday because of Finals at MCAD--I also did not go to Franklin Middle School because Ms. Strong had a family emergency to this week attend to so we are pushing back my lesson plan for next Friday (May 13th). I took the opportunity of not being able to TA at Franklin to attend a planned meeting at Little Earth of United Nations with Kevin Yang from Intermedia and representatives from Little Earth. Intermedia Arts is preparing for their 3rd installment of GenArt, a set of three workshops where they involve elders and youth from Little Earth to collaborate on art projects. Throughout the month of May I am helping out with their 3rd GenArt workshop where we'll be facilitating graffiti art painting sessions outside on wooden panels and at the end of the workshop (4 weeks) we'll be installing the boards inside Little Earth's gym. I will be helping out every Saturday from 12-4pm. I know this exceeds the timeframe for MCAD's Teaching Artist Practicum course but want to be involved with the local native community of Little Earth and help in Intermedia's amazing project in anyway I can. 

I look forward to being involved with all the organizations I've been aquatinted with through this course in the future and hope to facilitate positive change in young lives!

Week 15: Franklin Middle School

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 4.5 hrs

This week I helped Melodee with prep and some install for their "Best at Franklin" exhibition at Homewood Studios! Melodee has been planing to showcase the best work made at Franklin for a few weeks now and it was very exciting to see everything come together! Since I was helping her set up the remainder of the show after class at 4pm I arrived at Franklin a little later than usual with her permission, . I walked into Melodee's Art class at 2:30pm and helped the remaining two periods with their Piñata assignment due next Thursday. After the last class was dismissed we gathered our things and left for Homewood Studios to put the final touches on the exhibition.

We arrive around 4:20pm and had until 5pm to get everything ready for the reception. I helped Melodee install the last pieces . I also helped install a few didactics and place silver stars next to those who received votes from a judge panel a few days prior to the reception. After 5pm I got to see Franklin faculty, staff, students and parents look at the work in awe and amazement. I find Melodee's willingness to exhibit student's work in a professional space and in a professional manner inspiring and motivating. No one asked her to take on this responsibility but she wanted to show her student's that their input is taken note of and matters. The panel of judges came to pick their favorites a few days prior to the reception and the ones with the most votes received gifts donated by MCAD, Franklin Middle school, and Blick Art Supplies. 

Next week I'll be teaching my lesson plan at Franklin! I have decided to do a self-portrait project where each student re-creates themselves with cut pieces of colored paper. I'll be sure to write about and include pictures in next week's post!

Best at Franklin exhibition at Homewood Studios

Best at Franklin exhibition at Homewood Studios

Week 14: Kulture Klub / Franklin Middle School

Kulture Klub - Crystal Birkman - 2 hrs

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 4 hrs

We finished our two week long workshop at Kulture Klub this week! There were a few new faces many familiar ones the second time around--in total there were about 15-20 participants both weeks. We finished up our "self portrait"project were students would paint objects, places, or abstract expressions that would imply their identity. For example, if i were to create one I would paint art brushes and oil paints, spray cans, landmarks of Chicago (where I'm from), Mexican food, etc. After both workshops we collected everything that was produced, both in draft and final form. As of right now the plan is to create an art exhibition of the work and have an art reception sometime early May (working date is the 15th). I've attached a picture of the second workshop at the bottom of this post!

This week I also spent Friday at Franklin Middle school for the first time in two weeks! Franklin's schedule has rolled over into a new quarter while I was absent which means there were new students I haven't met, but the majority of students re-scheduled to be in art again. This week they were making piñatas for Cinco de Mayo and I helped where ever I was needed. I helped glue tissue paper onto a few and help construct others with cardboard and paper-mache. Since Ms. Strong and her students will be working on this project up until the 5th of May we have decided the best date to do a lesson with the kids would be Friday May 6th, after the day of celebration. I'm looking forward to working with the kids on their piñata projects next week and to teach a lesson the following week! I've also attached a picture of the piñata project they're working on.

Second watercolor workshop at Kulture Klub! 

Piñata project for Cinco de Mayo at Franklin Middle School with Melodee Strong

Week 13: Kulture Klub / Intermedia Arts

Kulture Klub - Crystal Birkman - 3 hrs

Intermedia Arts - Micheal Hay - 4 hours

I taught my first lesson through MCAD's Teaching Artist Practicum this week! This past Thursday at Kulture Klub I facilitated a watercolor workshop that went great! We started with a brief introduction of that we were doing for the rest of the session and had them experiment with the materials for the first half of the lesson. I didn't want there to be a timidness to the materials for those who never used watercolors or had a "formal" artist training before. The goal of the session was the divide the work time into two parts--experimentation and investigation. Once participants were done with experimenting with the medium on scratch paper we moved onto a nice sheet of mixed-media paper that was taped onto the working table to have a nice consistent white boarder on all the pieces at the end of the session. I'd say a little less than half of the students were able to move onto the nice sheet of paper. We collected all the work and will resume with the session next week! 

This Sunday I also went to the Intermedia Art Center to help with their bi-annual Family Art Day--it was so exciting! I arrived at Intermedia early to help set of for the day where there would be art workshops and live music happening for the public to participate in. Family Art Day catered to parents to enjoy free and exciting experiences with their kids. I helped facilitate the supply desk for the art activities that were happening. A couple of teaching artists were hosting a workshop where participants were able to make a portrait of either themselves or others, as well as had the option to make puppets out brown paper bags. I was in charge of giving out yarn for the hair of these creations as well as any extra supplies that anyone needed i.e., colored paper, glue sticks, scissors, etc. Attached to this post I included the portrait I made for the event! I am so happy and privileged to have been able to help out with such a great event and hope to apply what I learned from this event to my own practice as an emerging teaching artist!

Self portrait made at Intermedia's Family Art Day! (2016)

Week 12: Kulture Klub

Kulture Klub - Crystal Birkman - 3 hours

This week past week felt like 100 mph. At MCAD, a group of students and I started installing Monday in gallery 148 for an art reception on Friday. I spoke to Melodee Strong from Franklin and asked if I could take Friday off, which she nicely gave. I did however go to Kulture Klub to finalize plans for the upcoming lesson plan, which I can talk about a bit later.

I went to Kulture Klub this past Thursday where they were scheduled to have an open mic for the night--it was so much fun! I associate open mic's with poetry or spoken word performances from my experience going to a few open mics throughout the years, but this different in a great way. Youth from Kulture Klub performed everything from song covers, heavy metal vocals, original music, poetry, rap performances, etc. This was by far the widest sampling of talent I have ever seen in one space. This experience made me realize how diverse the youth at Kulture Klub are but also have a huge bond among themselves. No matter what someone played or did in front of the mic, everyone else show enormous support for the artist. 

At MCAD I have been exposed to some of the open mic culture in the Twin Cities through my Introduction to Poetry class, but having this experience has widened my view on what is possible in a safe space where people can express themselves without fearing criticism. I did not manage to put my name on the list of participants because I did not know what to expect at the time but think about doing so the next time around!


Week 11: Franklin @ MCAD!

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 10 hrs

The Franklin kids came by Friday for their last day of spring break academy! Before going into that experience I want to review what I helped with last Tuesday at the Franklin building. This past week the kids helped Melodee Strong paint the mural we prepped in front of their media center. The only day I was able to help out was Tuesday before a Student Union meeting I had at noon. I spent a bit that morning helping Melodee trace the design onto the primed wall and facilitate the kids while they painted the under layer--we as artists help the students fill the design to the best of their abilities, we do not paint for them or make them feel we're the artists creating the piece. This mural is for Franklin Student, by Franklin students!

This Friday was their last day of spring break academy and Melodee organized a field trip to MCAD for it! The kids arrived on campus at 9:30am and I helped as soon as they got off the bus. I helped Melodee give a tour of the school, both of the main building and the Morison building. We visited the main gallery, illustration studios, painting studios, library, drawing rooms, 3d shop, media center, advanced painting studios, etc. We visited all the major spaces on campus. One of the more memorial parts of the tour was when we stopped by the library and the kids had an opportunity to sit down with some pop-up books that library staff courteously put out for us. There's a photo attached at the end of this post!

Around noon we took a break for lunch and went outside to let out some of the energy the kids had after eating. A little later we returned to the main hallway on the first floor started to brain storm for a temporary mural that they were going to paint for MCAD to see! We broke up into groups and each had a section to work on. My group focused on our experience at MCAD and how the north and south side of Minneapolis are different and similar. We worked on the temporary mural until 2pm which was when they had to depart to head back to Franklin. I stayed behind after their departure and cleaned up parts of the mural and cleaned the brushed left behind. Over all this was a great experience! MCAD needs their youthful energy and their creativity--and they delivered! 

Working on the mural last Tuesday at Franklin Middle School

Franklin Middle School in MCAD's main gallery!

Beginning to sketch for the temporary mural at MCAD!

Painting the temporary mural at MCAD!

Week 10: Franklin Middle School

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 4 hrs

The kids at Franklin on their spring break! They have two weeks of break where teachers come in to the school building to catch up on grading and other responsibilities while the kids are out, and some students come back to school the following week for that Franklin called Spring Break Academy where teachers open their respective projects/classes for the week before official classes start. These include some classes where students need to come in and catch up on work from the semester's quarter. Melodee Strong opened a class for registration to paint a mural during spring break academy at Franklin. Since no students are allowed to be here this week we had an opportunity to start prepping the wall for the following week.

The wall we'll be painting next week with the kids will be in front of their media center! Ms. Strong and I taped off the edges of the walls we'll be painting and primed their surfaces. The walls take up about half of the hallway they're located in but are not terribly large. We finished prepping in four hours! I'm super excited for next week and helping kids invest their creativity into their school. Ms. Strong won't have the design for the images until next week when we'll most likely project it onto the walls and trace the design with black paint in order to make the painting process go by a bit faster. Ms. Strong also believes in having students contribute in all phases in mural painting, so she'll sit down with her kids next Monday and take their ideas and sketches and incorporate them into what she already has in mind. 

I'm really excited for the physical creation of the mural as well as helping the kids with contributing. I'm also looking forward helping them next Friday, April 1st, when they take a trip out to MCAD and experience and see for themselves what art college looks like! I'll be giving a quick tour of the school to the kids and show them around the studios to let them see what people like myself mean when we say we go to an arts college.

Week 9: Franklin Middle School / Kulture Klub

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 15 hr

Kulture Klub Collaborative - Crystal Brinkman - 7 hr

SPRING BREAK! Well, for me at least. This last week I managed to spend more time at both Kulture Klub and Franklin Middle School. Originally I had thought MCAD's spring break would align with Franklin's but that didn't end up being the case. This week at Franklin I sat in during the classes Ms. Strong usually teaches but after the 6th grade class on Tuesday she asked me to help with mural prep. I would take a few students from each class for the rest of the day and have them help me plaster holes in the wall overlooking the main entrance of the school. I have a picture attached at the bottom! We filled holes Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday we started priming the wall for the mural next quarter's art class will finish. We had smaller scaffolding up had the kids paint with brushes in order to keep the mess from getting out of hand. The wall we were painting is really rough on the surface and having to paint with rollers would have splattered too much paint toward the students and floor. Next week marks the start of what Franklin Middle School called Spring Break Academy where students who have signed up could come to school during break and help Ms. Strong paint the mural! During Spring Break Academy they will be painting a different wall, one in front of their Media Center, and save the wall I helped prep this week for class time when the kids return back to school. 

A also managed to help out at Kulture Klub both days they are open during the week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. This past Tuesday Kulture Klub had zAmya theatre project come by and do a performing workshop with the youth. zAmya Theater Project is a unique creative process that brings together homeless and housed individuals to create and perform a theatrical production. Eventually, zAmya will create an original performance with the participating and input from the youth at Kulture Klub! This specific workshop we started warming up to one another by playing interactive name games and creating body sculptures and having group discussions about what we interpreted from the sculptures. Kulture Klub and zAmaya Theatre Project will be meeting every Tuesday for a 10 weeks--I'm pretty bummed I won't be able to stop by Tuesdays from here on out. Although, Thursdays are not bad at all! This past Thursday I helped prime canvases while helping out folks who needed help with painting. We facilitated a "free" time from 5pm-8pm Thursday where the majority of participants painted on paper or canvas. I am most likely going to create a lesson plan to do painting workshops at Kulture Klub in April because of their immense interest in painting! 

Week 8: Franklin Middle School / Kulture Klub

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 5.0 hr

Kulture Klub Collaborative - Crystal Brinkman - 4.5 hr

I've started my first week where I spend time both at YouthLink with Kulture Klub (on Thursdays) AND with Franklin Middle School (on Fridays). I'll start by talk about my first day at Kulture Klub! This past Thursday I visited the YouthLink building for the first time where Crystal gave me a tour of where everything was. YouthLink is a place where youth in Minneapolis that are experiencing homelessness can receive free hot meals, showers, and hygiene supplies. They also offer programs that help youth complete their GED, offer access to computers, help find shelter or look into housing options, etc. YouthLink is a haven where young folk can find the help they need! Kulture Klub is an organization that partners with YouthLink and offers a creative means to help those who are willing to participate. This past Thursday we went on a play at Mixed Blood Theatre! Tickets to events are often donated to Kulture Klub and they organize a field trip afterward. We went to go see DJ LATINIDAD’S LATINO DANCE PARTY, a hybrid play that involved active participation by the audience. I had the opportunity to meet some of the youth from Kulture Klub during this event, and am looking forward to get to spend time with them in the the coming weeks!

The next day on Friday, I spent the afternoon at Franklin Middle School where I helped students complete their final pattern projects. Last week I left Franklin when the students were brainstorming of different motifs to make patterns where they drew 5-10 different ideas with pencil on paper. This week most students had already cut rubber bricks into their motifs and made patterns on small paper. I help students catch up and others on their final project--a final pattern using their rubber stamp on a large sheet of grey paper. In total, students were expected to turn in the large sheet and two smaller ones on colored paper. Only a few students in all different periods managed to finish all the requirements--those who couldn't finish will have Monday to finish up their assignments. Next week I'll be at Franklin more days of the week since MCAD has spring break and Franklin won't until a week later. Melodee mentioned we might start prep by priming for a mural kids signed up to help paint during their spring break. Should be fun!!!

Week 7: Franklin Middle School / Kulture Klub

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 6.0 hr

Kulture Klub Collaborative - Crystal Brinkman - 1.0 hr

Meet with Crystal from Kulture Klub today over some coffee! We meet over some coffee to introduce ourselves and outline general responsibilities I would take on next week. The Kulture Klub Collaborative engages art and artistic practice to provide enriching opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness and artists to grow individually and to transform community. I asked in the beginning of the Teaching Artist Practicum course to be paired with this organization because of their goal and intentions as an empowering organization. Crystal and I have decided to go ahead and have me come in to meet the youth next week! I'll be going over and helping out every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm--this upcoming Thursday we're going to Mixed Blood Theatre to watch a show starting at 7:30pm, so I'll be staying a bit later this specific time. Super excited to be spending an evening with everyone next week!!

I meet with Crystal for an hour Friday from 10am to 11am, then headed over to Franklin Middle school at 11:30am to TA for Melodee afterward! I have to get to Franklin a little before noon because thats when the first period of kids walk into the art classroom. We have art students from 4th to 8th periods of the day. Today we went over the term of the day, which was Motif. The kids had worksheets they had to fill out about the term and collectively answered them. After the Motif exercise they moved onto an activity dealing with patterns. I walked around making sure everyone was on task and understood the material. On the worksheet kids had to identify if a design followed a straight repeat, brick repeat, or half-drop repeat pattern--I even had a bit of trouble at first! I worked through the worksheet with a few students and kept my completed packet as a guide to help other students that needed help in following periods. Pretty chill Friday!

Like usual I helped Melodee tidy up at the end of class. We made colored copies she needed for class next week. I also compiled a bunch of donated tubes of paper towels into a large box for a piñata project she plans on doing with the kids later on in the semester. Another day well spent! 


Week 5 & 6: Franklin Middle School / Intermedia Arts

Franklin Middle School / Intermedia Arts - 0 hours

I've been really sick these past couple of weeks and haven't been able to attend my residency placements :-(

It's been pretty rough. The first week I fell ill was due to a general flu, and after recovering a bit a case of stomach flu swooped in and kept me in bed for another week. I plan on getting back into the swing of things within the next couple of days. I am upset I missed out on a chuck of time but am determined on coming back 100 percent! I've been thinking of ways of how I can be a better TA and brainstorming of lesson plans for my two residency placements. 

I also have a schedule meeting with Crystal, the executive director at Kulture Klub--a collaborative that engages art and artistic practice to provide enriching opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness and artists to grow individually and to transform community!! Super excited to start to meet Crystal and start helping out over there soon!



Week 4: Franklin Middle School

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong - 4 hours

There were no classes today because the date was reserved for parent-teacher conferences. We took the opportunity to bring in scaffolding into Franklin Middle school from storage to begin preparing for mural projects coming up in March and the summer. I'm excited to be helping out with a mural project coming up this spring break! Melodee Strong will be leading volunteer middle school students in a painting project covering a large slab of black and grey wall facing the main entrance of the school. 

Franklin Middle school is a brand new school and their building is a reworked high school building meaning there is a lot of blank and grey space that Melodee plans on productively transforming! I've worked on a couple of mural projects this past summer and really appreciate her communal approach. For example, she invited the community to paint the FLOW mural and we as artists were there to simply facilitate and encourage the community to build a mural with artistic skills we all house. 

I feel like the Franklin Middle school students will feel empowered knowing they participated in the creation of something permanent and positive within their school. The youth, specifically in Northern Minneapolis, sometimes need to be reminded of their great talents in a world that is not so nurturing.

Week 3: Franklin Middle School

Franklin Middle School - Melodee Strong, Art Teacher - 5.5 hours

I observed class at Franklin Middle School for the first time this past Friday! Melodee Strong teaches art classes at the school for the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Franklin Middle School has a 7 period schedule, and art classes take place in the last 4 periods of the day. I walked up to the classroom at 11:45am to get situated before the first group of kids walked into art room at noon. The first group of kids were 6th graders, the squirmiest and most energetic group of the day. I didn't get to participate too much with the kids since I was taking the opportunity to observe for the first day I was there. Some of the kids confused me for Melodee's son before she was able to introduce me formally--it wasn't the first time this has happened!

The next period was the "Advanced Art" class. Students are able to register for this specific course if they have already taken an art class before. This class was a mix of all grades but mainly consisted of 7th and 8th graders. This class was more quite and on task and their eagerness to learn more about art showed in their attitude toward the material being taught and how they followed directions. All classes on Friday were doing the same project. The project consisted of starting a pattern project by drawing straight lines with rulers on nice paper and filling in specific sections with pattern designs to eventually compose a collage of pattern on the paper. 

The last two classes were with the 7th and 8th graders, which were smaller than the 6th grade and Adv. Art classes. Over all, I enjoyed my first day at Franklin Middle School because of the authentic and hands-on experience. Franklin reminds me of my elementary school in the fact that they both consist of a ethnic-minority majority! I look forward to participate in a classroom with a teacher I highly respect and spend time with kids of the Minneapolis public school system. 

Week 1 & 2: Intermedia Arts

Intermedia Arts - Michael Hay, Director of Youth Development - 3 hours

This week was my second time meeting with Michael Hay at Intermedia Arts! Intermedia Arts is a multidisciplinary and multicultural arts organization which does most of its programing after school when Minneapolis youth are available to take arts classes. Michael Hay, Director of Youth Development, and I finalized a few different ways I would be able to help out around Intermedia and their programming.

The first way is to help out with their GenArt program happening February. GenArt is a program where Intermedia connects Native American Elders and youth to create art and poetry. I would be helping out in setting up and participating in some of the creative events that outside organizers and artists will be facilitating. 

Secondly, I will be helping the Intermedia Youth Council with the creation of a zine or some type of publication. They will be responding to the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover and voice their own political concerns and opinions through this means. I have experience in making and putting together zines for myself and for political collectives in the past so I am looking forward to helping out the youth in finding their own voice through art! 

Lastly, I will be helping Intermedia spread word about their programs and events by going out into the community and doing some hands on grassroots organizing. I plan to contact a few schools and community centers in order to inform them of the great things Intermedia is doing and how their youth could participate. For example, I have another residency at Franklin Middle School with Melodee Strong, and I hope to inform students in the art classroom about certain events happening at Intermedia in case they were interested in being involve with the arts outside of the school as well!