Many times we wonder what impact art has on a community and how that can be measured. The night after the banners were installed, we witnessed this young girl interacting with one of the banners. The mother kept calling to the girl to keep walking but the little girl stood there touching the image of Frida, then touching her own face and she did so for a few minutes. This young girl was fascinated by Frida and all her perfect imperfections.
Our youth rarely have the opportunity to see positive images of themselves reflected out in the world – and they need more of this!
Arte Es Vida!
SOY ARTISTA | MI BARRIO in a partnership Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), Metro and McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) featuring 15 large scale banners that encapsulate the vision and artwork of the 2015 class of S.O.Y. Artista (Summer of Youth). This temporary public art engagement project was developed this past summer through the SOY Artista program of SHG.
A group of young artists from Boyle Heights, East LA, El Sereno, Pico-Union, amongst other communities, came together to discuss and analyze their role as young artists in neighborhoods that are quickly changing. Under the premise of the Mi Barrio project, this process allowed the artists to share their views of their neighborhoods. The young artists created work used to produce the 15 banners touching on topics such as use of public space, food equity, and transportation among themes of cultural preservation and affirmation.
S.O.Y. (Summer of Youth) Artista is a five-week summer art-training workshop series taught by a core team of art instructors from the Barrio Mobile Art Studio program and consists of various workshops including photography, mobile phone/tablet art and printmaking.
Self Help Graphics & Art serves youth with this critical need for programming while providing positive and alternative models for creativity in an environment that is nurturing and reflective of our community. Classes are meant to inspire one on one instruction and provide in-depth art experiences that culturally connect youth to their community, and create stronger coalitions between community organizations, students and higher learning.
The banners will be displayed on the construction fence surrounding the Santa Cecilia project, which is currently under construction on the southwest corner of 1st Street and Boyle Avenue. This project is being developed on Metro-owned land by McCormack Baron Salazar, and will provide 80 units of affordable housing and 4,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space when complete in summer 2016.
Self Help Graphics & Art firmly believes that art transforms communities and this project is not solely a platform for young artists to share their views but it is also a launch pad for careers in art, another form of civic and community engagement.