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Conference Update

February 29, 2012 in news

Esteemed community builders,

I want to personally invite you all to Portland, May 30th – June 2nd, 2012  for the CBA Biennial Conference 2012.   The theme for this year is “Community Building in the Urban Village”.    It is promising to be a dynamic and inspirational event!  We have worked hard to make this event as affordable and accessible as ever before, by getting back to our grass roots.   We are being hosted by an excellent neighborhood community center called TaborSpace.  This will also be the site for our hands-on workshops including a labyrinth, concrete sculpture,  and natural playscape.  This year, we are so happy to be collaborating with Portland’s City Repair Project to dovetail the CBA conference with the annual Village Building Convergence.  This means you will have an opportunity to participate in over 30 community build sites around the city, and some great workshops and presentations.   As always, the program will be filled with a variety of inspirational and engaging presentations on a variety of topics relating to community built.  The full program will be available soon!

The Early Registration price is still open until the end of this month, so don’t delay!  $160 for CBA Members includes all conference events, as well as food.  Various housing options will be available from local hotels to home-stays with local Portlanders.  Register now by clicking HERE.

We are expecting a diverse mix of long time CBA members with new folks from Portland and beyond.  Just a few of the people you should expect to meet at CBA 2012 include:

Mark Lakeman – City Repair Project, Communitecture
Tom Arie Donch – Interplay Design
Rusty Keeler – Planet Earth Playscapes, Earthplay Network
Sharon Danks – Bay Tree Design, International School Grounds Alliance
Steve Badanes – Jersey Devils, Univ. of Washington Dept. of Architecture
John Pitman Weber – Public Artist
Laurel True – True Mosaics
Steve Wood – Concrete Couch

This is one not to be missed!

Leon Smith

 

Village Building in Portland

August 3, 2011 in news

The last week of May is the Village Building Convergence (VBC)  in Portland, OR.  The annual event features numerous community build sites around the city, as well as workshops and evening community gatherings.  http://vbc.cityrepair.org/

I was able to bike around to several build sites on the last day of the convergence and get a sample of some of the highlights.  There are going to be some great collaboration opportunities for the 2012 CBA Conference in Portland!

Call for Volunteers to Build Playground in PA

May 10, 2011 in news

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York, Pensylvania— This Wednesday, May 10th kicks off the community build at the Jewish Community Center. ALL are welcome! And encouraged to stop by and lend a hand, anytime between Wednesday morning and Sunday evening at 2000 Hollywood Drive, York, PA 17403. CBA member Rusty Keeler designed the natural playscape that the community will be building over the next five days. To get more information about volunteering at the build, call (717) 843-0918. To learn more about the JCC, visit http://www.yorkjcc.org

Power of Art —Haiti

April 23, 2011 in news

Last year, CBA member, Laurel True was working with Art Creation Foundation For Children in Jacmel, Haiti. During four trips she trained 75+ youth and artists in mosaic making techniques for both murals and small, salable objects, eventually stepping out as facilitator and becoming more of a consultant/ advisor and cheerleader as the mosaic wall progressed. Together, True and the community dedicated the almost 300 foot long Jacmel Memorial Mosaic Wall on January 12, 2011, the 1st anniversary of the earthquake. A mosaic team of ACFFC kids has grown out of this project and has  received two architectural mosaic commissions to date in Jacmel, has started documenting their work for future portfolios and have made over 60 mosaic bottles, which will be on display at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this month and sold through Brandaid!

This year, True is really excited about her next project in Haiti, which will be with public health organization, Partners In Health. PIH has been doing good work in Haiti for almost 25 years and True says she is “proud to be working with them”. PIH is in the process of building one of the largest hospitals in Haiti (in Mirebalais) that will serve the very poor in Haiti’s central region.

True will be working with PIH and their sister organization in Haiti, Zanme Lasante, to bring mosaic artwork to the hospital, offering a creative respite for hospital patients, visitors, and staff. “We have developed concepts for four mosaic projects that will have high visual impact in and around the busy hospital. The design process will heavily involve community feedback and I’ll be training a team of Haitian adults to work with me on these projects” says True. The training will include precision setting techniques that True employs on professional commissioned work and specific sculptural and mural making techniques that she teaches to adult artists and students in the States.

To come full circle, she’ll be bringing several teenagers from Jacmel who are part of the core ACFFC mosaic team up to Mirebalais to assist and to learn these advanced techniques!

There is a major fund raising effort going on to raise money for the creation of the hospital mosaic projects through the Artwork Fund for Mirebalais Hospital. “We are currently about a quarter of the way to our funding goal and are actively seeking sponsors and tax- deductible donations for the Mosaics at Mirebalais” says True.

True has put together an inspiring lecture tour as a fundraiser for the Mosaic Artwork Fund for Mirebalais, called “The Power of Art: Building Creative Capital through Community Mosaics; Laurel True’s Community Mosaic Projects in the US, Africa and Haiti”, which will be in several US cities including New Orleans, Charlotte, Philly (at the Magic Gardens!), Oakland and Seattle so far. If you live in one of these cities go hear True, take a workshop, and support the cause. When you think of good that is happening on the planet, think of these communities in Haiti and please consider a tax- deductible donation to the Mosaic Artwork Fund for Mirebalais Hospital.

*Starred locations will also host the weekend workshop Facilitating Community Mosaics Locally and Internationally with Laurel True

New Orleans*
May 20th, 2011 Friday Evening
Location: New Orleans School of Art and Craft
Contact:

Charlotte, NC*
June 10, 2011 Friday Evening
Location: Ceil Gallery/ Studio
Contact:

Oakland, CA*
July 29, 2011 Friday Evening
Location: Institute of Mosaic Art, Oakland
Contact:

See the True Mosaics Blog for up to date info on confirmed dates and locations. More information coming soon for Boston, DC, Austin, Tucson, LA, San Diego, Houston and Seattle, Portland and St. Paul.


Notes from Kansas and Beyond

April 14, 2011 in news

David Loewenstein is working on the third in a series of six state (Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Texas) community mural projects this summer. Last year he was leading a community mural painting process in Tonkawa, OK and Newton, KS. This summer he will be in Joplin, MO. Here’s a picture in process with the Newton Community Dance Project during the painting of “The Imagineers”.

To find out more about these six Mid American community murals that David is working on see http://www.maaa.org/muralproject and look for the movie that is being made about it! Here’s a sneak peek:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Eomvqn4rA6I]

That’s not all folks! David is also teaching a course he designed called “Roots and Practice: Community-Based Public Art” at Washburn University in Topeka. Beginning with a series of lectures, visiting speakers, readings and field trips, this new course will introduce art students to the roots and current practice of collaborative community-based public art:  projects that bring local people together in partnership with professional artists to engage in an open process that culminates in the creation of site specific artworks reflecting their interests and their workmanship. Following the classroom work, students will move to the studio where they will each develop a design proposal for a community-based public art project at a specific site in the Topeka area.  This process will include site visits, meetings with stakeholders, and consideration of logistics in the execution of the work. The completed designs will be shown at the end of the semester in an exhibition open to the public. Wow! bringing up a whole new generation of community engaged artists!!

Loewenstein is also working with an international artists’ collective. Together they have an exhibit called “Celebrate People’s History” that is traveling the U.S. and recently was published as a beautiful hardcover book. Read more about the artists’ collective Just Seeds and their projects at http://www.justseeds.org/josh_macphee/04cphbook.html

But wait there’s more! Our hero, David Loewenstein, is also currently having an installation show called THEM as well as running a community art space called Percolator. Below are an image from THEM and a shot of Percolator in action parading “This Cardboard Thing”. Looks like fun! If you are thoroughly inspired you are going to want to surf over to David’s blog, click subscribe (all the way at the bottom) and stay up to date.

Mini Conference Schedule and Presenters

April 6, 2011 in news

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OFF THE COUCH!: A regional mini conference on community building, presented by Concrete Couch and the Community Built Association (http://www.ConcreteCouch.org)

Composed of 5 hands-on WORKSHOPS, and 2 special MEETINGS, this conference is for anyone (teachers, artists, planners, designers, builders, etc.) who wants to incorporate the community in their practice.

WORKSHOP dates: Thursday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 26.
Each workshop meets 3 to 5 times.

MEETINGS: Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday the 24th.

All the workshops and the Sunday meeting are free events!

REGISTRATION for SATURDAY MEETING:

Mail a $50 check to:
Couch Concrete Couch
211 Illinois Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829.

You will receive a complimentary CBA membership with registration, and a free lunch. Tell us what workshops you hope to attend, and if you need housing (available for $10/night, with a host family). Cash strapped? Drop us a line and we will work something out (first born child, that kind of thing). (NOTE: students from collaborating schools attend for FREE).
More info?: , or call Steve Wood at 719-338-6156

WORKSHOPS:

1) Art Bench Workshop at Fort Carson: military and civilians work together to make a concrete and ceramic tile bench for a playground on post (10 am to 1 pm weekdays, with a Sunday session). Run by Cody Gravestock (CC teacher and board member), Bob Dawes (Outward Bound Instructor and an army Ranger during the Vietnam War) and Steve Wood (CBA member; CC director; http://www.PublicArtAssociates.com).

2) Environmental Restoration Workshop: Manitou teens and community work with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute on several manitou trails (3 to 5 pm Thursday, Friday, and Monday). Run by Rocky Mountain Field Institute staff (http://www.rmfi.org) and Laurel Hesse (CC teacher).

3) Mosaic Workshop: community works with mosaic experts on a direct project in downtown Colorado Springs (1 to 4 pm weekdays, Sunday 1 to 4). Run by Betty Rosen Ziff (CBA board member; http://www.MosaicAlchemy.com), and Nao Marshall (CC teacher).

4) Design Workshop: community works with design professionals to develop public art models and schematic drawings for the PPLD. Hosted by Library and PPCC Downtown Studio Art Gallery. 9 am to 12 pm Thursday, Friday, Monday at the library and Sunday afternoon at PPCC. Run by Helen Helwig (CBA member; http://www.HelwigStudios.com), Niki Glen (CBA board member; http://www.GlenStudios.com), and Rodney Wood (http://www.RodneyWood.com).

5) Marimba Workshop: Ute Pass Elementary students, parents, community members and musical playground professional make a marimba at the school (3 to 5 weekdays and Sunday 1 to 4). Run by Bond Anderson (CBA member; http://www.soundplay.com), and Katie Orr and Joel Newmiller (CC teachers).

MEETING 1: “Community Building!”
Saturday 10AM to 4:30PM, at the Business of Art Center

Birgitta DePree: Using movement and drama to get ’em going (Manitou Art Theatre; http://www.TheMAT.org).
Steve Wood: Concrete Couch, CBA and creative community building.
Susan Edmondson: Building buzz, and finding perfect partners
(http://www.BeeVradenburgFoundation.org).
Umberta Crenca: The Providence Renaissance and AS220: community building and civic  revitalization (http://www.as220.org).
LUNCH: provided by Adams Mountain Cafe.
Rodney Wood: Helping artists (and engineers) become better teachers (http://www.rodneywood.com).
Art Goodtimes: Community building: navigating project politics by telling your story (Art is a poet, activist and four term commissioner from San Miguel County).

MEETING 2: “Talking Gourd Circle: telling YOUR story”
Sunday morning 10AM to noon

Facilitated by Art Goodtimes and John Weiss (Colorado Springs Independent), we will meet in a local park and share our stories.

Collaborators:
Pikes Peak Library District
Pikes Peak Community College
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Colorado College
Futureself
Partners for Healthy Choices
Smokebrush Foundation
Imagination Celebration
CoPPER
Mountainside and Ute Pass Elementary Schools
Rocky Mountain Field Institute
The Business of Art Center

Supporters:
Bee Vradenburg Foundation
The Pikes Peak Community Foundation
The Fund for the Arts
Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation
Catto Charitable Fund
The Quail Roost Foundation
Schwab Charitable Fund
The Pikes Peak Arts Council (mini grant program)
The Manitou Springs Arts Council
Manitou Springs School District 14
Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Mural at Mexican Orphanage

March 9, 2011 in news

Community Built Association board member, Niki Glen, has been asked to work with children at Kid’s Kingdow, an orphanage in Imuris, Sonora, Mexico, to create a mural on their back wall (see the wall in the photo).  “We plan to design and draw up our ideas with the children and then paint a mural on the wall.” says Glen. “The wall surrounding the dirt playground is drab and uninviting. The whole playground space would come to life and the area will be transformed into a special spot. The children will be able to create art as they design and paint the mural with us; and also gain a sense of accomplishment and pride.” This mural will serve as an opportunity for the kids to do art in a learning environment and also create a beautiful mural while working together. The children will have the chance to work side by side with artists and other volunteers from both Mexico and the US.

Even though these children have been displaced by the violence in Mexico, they are full of life and ready to learn. The orphanage already provides food and education and a loving environment with caring people.

Glen and the Imusis orphanage are working to find funding in order to pay for supplies and the artists’ time. “I think a little effort can go a long way to truly impact the lives of these children as we also start to build real and long lasting relationships with the adults who teach and care for the orphans.”says Glen, a professional artist and long time member of CBA.

If you would like to volunteer or support the project financially, please contact Ms. Glen at for more information.

Spotlight on Helen Helwig and a Georgia Community

March 7, 2011 in news

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We’ve been asking CBA members to let us know what they have been doing and would like to share what Helen Helwig shared with us about her recent community building activities.

“Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for our local soup kitchen.  I helped to start the one here in west Georgia (Carroll County) when I moved here in 2003.  We hold the bowl sale, art auction and soup lunch on the last Sunday in February. We just had our seventh Empty Bowls and raised over $24,000.  It is a very big community project with hundreds of participants of all ages creating clay bowls throughout the year and over 800 visitors at the sale and lunch. Local bands play music while we choose our bowls, bid on art work in the silent auction and eat our delicious soups donated by local restaurants and individuals.  It has become the social event of the year and a true community building experience.”

Thanks, Helen. Beautiful and delicious!

Please let us know what you are currently working on, just finished, or is on your creative horizon in terms of building community with communities.

MINI CONFERENCE SPRING 2011

January 31, 2011 in news

pikes peak

PIKES PEAK REGION , COLORADO

OFF THE COUCH!: A regional mini conference on community building, presented by Concrete Couch and the Community Built Association (ConcreteCouch.org

DATES: One week of community-building activities open to conference and public participation, April 21 – 25; conference: Saturday April 23.

LOCATION: Activities will take place throughout the Pikes Peak Region. Conference will be held in Manitou Springs. Ride share, bike and bus transportation available.

Composed of 5 hands-on WORKSHOPS, and a one day MEETING, this conference is for anyone (teachers, artists, planners, designers, builders, etc.) who want to incorporate the community in their practice. A series of lively gatherings for discussion, learning, networking and inspiration.

WORKSHOP dates: Thursday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 26.
MEETING and mini conference date: Saturday, April 23rd

Fees: Participants are asked to get a CBA membership ($40 and up, on the CBA website) and pay a $25 registration fee (to Concrete Couch, with a check/cash).
(NOTE: students from collaborating schools attend for FREE)

Housing: Available for $10/night, with a host family.

WORKSHOPS:

1) Art Bench Workshop at Fort Carson: military and civilians work together to make a concrete and ceramic tile bench for a playground on post (10 am to 1 pm weekdays, with a Sunday session)

2) Environmental Restoration Workshop: Manitou teens and community work with Rocky Mountain Field Institute on several Manitou trails (3 to 5 pm weekdays)

3) Mosaic Workshop: community works with mosaic experts on a direct project in downtown Colorado Springs (1 to 4 pm weekdays)

4) Design Workshop: community works with design professionals to develop public art models and schematic drawings for a site in downtown Colorado Springs (9 am to 12 pm weekdays)

5) Marimba Workshop: Ute Pass Elementary students and community work with musical playground professional to make a marimba at their school (3 to 5 pm weekdays)

Workshop presenters:
1) Cody Gravestock (Concrete Couch teacher and board member), Bob Dawes (Outward Bound Instructor and an army Ranger during the Vietnam War) and Steve Wood (Concrete Couch director; PublicArtAssociates.com)
2) Rocky Mountain Field Institute staff and Cody Gravestock
3) Betty Rosen Ziff (CBA board member; Mosaic Alchemy”; mosaicalchemy.com), and Nao Marshall (CC teacher)
4) Helen Helwig (CBA member; helwigstudios.com) and Niki Glen (CBA board member; glennstudios.com)
5) Bond Anderson (CBA member “Soundplay”; soundplay.com)

MEETING:

Presenters include Birgitta DePree (Manitou Art Theatre), Rodney Wood, Susan Edmondson (The Bee Vradenburg Foundation) and Steve Wood.
The meeting will focus on developing, funding, and collaborating on creative, community-building projects.

Birgitta DePree: Using movement and drama to get ’em going
Rodney Wood: Helping artists (and engineers) become better teachers
Susan Edmondson: Finding your perfect project supporters and collaborators
Steve Wood: Community building for fun and profit

Lunch from Adam’s Mountain cafe is included!

RSVP: Please register by getting your CBA membership on-line and contacting Concrete Couch (conference@concretecouch.org, Steve at: 719-338-6156, or mail: 211 Illinois Avenue, Manitou Springs, CO 80829). Please tell us what workshops you hope to attend, and if you need housing.

Collaborators:
Pikes Peak Library District
Pikes Peak Community College
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Colorado College
Smokebrush Foundation
Mountainside and Ute Pass Elementary Schools
Rocky Mountain Field Institute
The Business of Art Center