Tag: Emily Hopkins

Meet our Hatch Content Contributors

The deadline for the Fall 2016 Hatch Training Intensive is closing in! We are so excited to meet our next cohort. In anticipation of the next training session, we thought you might like to meet some of the wonderful folks that have helped us to develop this program along the way:

CenterForward President Heather Alhadeff shares case studies with our Hatch pilot cohort about Art + Planning.
CenterForward President Heather Alhadeff shares case studies with our Hatch pilot cohort about Art + Planning.

CenterForward, lead by Heather Alhadeff, President: Places that people cherish and thrive in are ultimately achieved via rigorous and thoughtful dialogue across disciplines. Transportation Planning and Engineering combined with sincere and effective community involvement represent a collaborative and ultimately implementable decision making process – a core principle of Center Forward. With that philosophy in mind, Center Forward Inc was established in December 2012 as a transportation and land use planning firm.

Heather has over 19 years of Atlanta-specific Planning experience. Center Forward is a big proponent in helping the city integrate artistic principles into all stages of planning. Center Forward helped C4 Atlanta develop content that introduces artists to planning, trends in planning, and how the artist may fit into planning projects that engage community members and community stakeholders.

Ebony Noelle Golden, CEO of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative, speaks about Conscious Creativity.
Ebony Noelle Golden, CEO of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, speaks at a her keynote last March, Conscious Creativity.

Ebony Noelle Golden: Ebony Noelle Golden is the CEO and principal engagement strategist at Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC. BDAC is a NYC-based cultural arts direct action group that works to inspire, instigate, and incite transformation, radical expressiveness, and progressive social change through community designed, culturally relevant, creative projects. The Houston, TX native is also an accomplished performance artist, poet, director, and choreographer who stages site-specific rituals and live art performances that profoundly explore the complexities of freedom in the time of now. Ebony holds a Master of Arts degree in Performance Studies from New York University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from American University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from Texas A&M University.

Attorney Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, teaches our Hatch pilot artists about negotiations and contracts.
Attorney Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, teaches our Hatch pilot artists about the importance of copyright.

Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, lead by Jim Grace, Executive Director: The mission of the A&BC is to strengthen a vibrant arts community by providing quality direct legal and business services and ongoing educational programs to the creative community. Programs include business training for artists and creative entrepreneurs, pro bono legal services, nonprofit board service training and placement, microlending, fiscal agency, estate and legacy planning, human resources support, insurance programs, and corporate art lending partnerships.

Emily HopkinsEmily Hopkins is an artist and the executive director of Side Street Projects. Emily works to develop sustainable, community-based systems that connect working artists directly to communities.

Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects talks about Expanding the Definition.
Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects shares a quote by Pablo Heguera.

She is committed to hands-on, standards-based art programs for K-12 that appeal to multiple intelligences and incorporate into core curriculum. Emily serves on the art curriculum advisory committee for the Pasadena Unified School District (DAT CAT), and the advisory board for John Muir High School’s Arts Entertainment & Media Academy. Emily has a BFA & MA from CalArts and lives and works in Pasadena.

Katina Parker, filmmaker, pictured here during her time documenting Ferguson, MO.
Katina Parker, filmmaker, pictured here during her time documenting Ferguson, MO.

Katina Parker: Katina Parker is a Durham-based filmmaker, photographer, writer, graphic designer, cultural curator, social media expert, and communications consultant who has advised both the Ford Foundation’s Just Films and the Association of Independents in Radio’s Makers Quest 2.0 initiatives. Parker teaches social media and film through the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and serves as an Instructor for North Carolina’s Community Folklife Documentation Institute.

She is the Co-Chair of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Task Force and the Vice President of the Association of Wake Forest University’s Black Alumni (AWFUBA) group. Prior to this Parker worked as a creative director in Los Angeles. She spent several years working as a Media Strategist for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), where she fine-tuned her public relations and communications savvy.

Clarkston Community Center Executive Director McKenzie Wren leads the artists through an exercise in asset mapping.
McKenzie Wren leads the Hatch pilot artists through an exercise in asset mapping.

McKenzie Wren: Mckenzie has a background in public health, alternative medicine and variety entertainment.  Since 2007, she has worked within the refugee community of Clarkston, GA – a community called “the most diverse square mile in the nation” by a NY Times article. She was previously the Executive Director of the Clarkston Community Center for six years. McKenzie uses arts-based and place-based strategies to bring about change. Her particular areas of focus are helping businesses and nonprofits strengthen culture through participatory processes and identify new processes for information and resource flow. She is a skilled facilitator who believes in the power of community to identify and solve its own problems.

The Hatch Training Intensive is specifically targeted towards readying artists to work in community-centric art projects in ways that are both sustainable and meaningful to all involved stakeholders. Deadline for application to the 2016 Fall Hatch Training Intensive is August 15th at 11:59pm. To learn more or to apply, see our Hatch Training Page.

Documentation, Self Care and Community Organizing – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Katina Parker, documentary filmmaker and Black Lives Matter activist. A staff recap of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Referring to the slides from the presentations  – What is your position? Why do you want to do the work that you do? What are some of the challenges, privileges and “tools of the colonizer” you must be aware of in order to do your work?
  • What are some of your struggles with “self care”? Are there safety concerns in your work that you must be aware of?
  • How has documentation been a part of your artistic process in the past? Are there forms of documentation you wish to explore in order to more fully realize your vision or in order to best express the communities you are working within?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

My exploration of the human experience through art is not so much activism as it is advocacy. I wouldn’t define my art to be radical. I do however, spend time creating art with communities as a way to be supportive and more integrated. I do this because I believe in the powers of community, acts of service and using art to intersect the two.

Mural by Lauren Pallotta for Unifying Youth at Douglass High School, in participation with re:Imagine/ATL. Photo by Lauren Pallotta.
Mural by Lauren Pallotta for Unifying Youth at Douglass High School, in participation with re:Imagine/ATL. Photo by Lauren Pallotta.

With any outreach, there is generally privilege. Parker’s words to “identify it and check it” were a pertinent reminder to be conscious of our place, our true intentions, our assumptions. It brings to mind the notion of “being a wombat” that Emily Hopkins discussed. Sometimes people mean well doing the things they think are right, but in reality it may be more destructive than helpful to the community if it’s not being done sustainably, alongside them, underpinned by their input.

I aim to work with communities that express a need: maybe it’s a mural or a children’s book or art sessions that coax out self-reflection and healing. I’m typically not a face of these communities, but rather an outsider who is welcomed in based on consistent mutual respect. As an outsider, I have to, as Parker put it, “be cool,” otherwise I become the stereotype these communities may have of me.

Then there is public art – sometimes created alongside a community, sometimes not. There is a school of thought that questions whether altruism is truly unselfish. It seems to me public art is entering the same sphere of ambiguity, something I need to be mindful of as an aspiring street artist.

Part of Foward Warrior, mural by Lauren Pallotta located along Wylie Street in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta.
Part of Foward Warrior, mural by Lauren Pallotta located along Wylie Street in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta. Photo courtesy of Lauren Pallotta

When I painted my first mural in Atlanta, the opportunity came from a demand in the community for more street art, but I was basically allowed to do whatever I wanted, as long as the wallkeeper/curator approved it. With total artistic freedom, this was as much of an ego piece as it was a community piece, because I needed to paint something to be considered valid, to be considered at all. Does that make it less relevant? I’ve found myself wrestling with this idea throughout the Hatch process. Am I being too sensitive or not sensitive enough? Am I being too egocentric or not egocentric enough? Am I being too controversial or not controversial enough? Am I being… enough?

For me, I think the biggest takeaway from Parker’s session was the notion that this sensitivity and consciousness are, in some ways, enough. Even if we aren’t a face of a community, that doesn’t mean we can’t be supporters of it. What’s more, we can utilize our places of privilege to combat the forces or voices that may be – knowingly or unknowingly – encouraging systemic oppression. That is to say, by being advocates as outsiders, we can be activists as insiders.

By Lauren Pallotta

Working with (Not for, or to) Community – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ classes by Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects in Pasadena, CA and McKenzie Wren from Clarkston Community Center in Clarkston, GA. Staff recaps of both sessions are available on our blog in the links above.

For these two classes, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

Session #2 – Themes to consider:

  • depositing information vs. sharing information through dialogue
  • artists coming from a place of privilege
  • managing expectations through all aspects of working with community and with all of the stakeholders involved.

Session #3 – Themes and questions to consider:

  • What are the assets offer by the arts community of Atlanta?
  • What assets are available to you?
  • What are your personal assets?
  • What are the reflections that you had after the discussion about doing with the community (vs. for, or to) based on your own personal experiences?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

These past two Hatch sessions focused on active methods of engaging community and gave us artists a lot of concrete examples of how to do so, either through experiencing methods as a group, or through the breakdown of other projects that had been effective or not. Through this process, we learned about mistakes that can be made and were given a chance to examine our own work through the lens of this learning.

Jessica Caldas (center) with Angela Davis Johnson (left) and Hez Stalcup (right) after her performance of her work "#3everday" at Oakland Cemetary.
Jessica Caldas (center) with Angela Davis Johnson (left) and Hez Stalcup (right) after her performance of her work “#3everday” at Oakland Cemetary.

I was able to reaffirm something I have known about my work: that it doesn’t truly and deeply enter the realm of community work, mine is, thus far, a social practice. This is okay, but my ultimate goal is to develop a practice which also works with the communities I care about and am invested in. What I understand better through these lessons is how to approach that goal. What is seems to involve most is trust, because you have to let go of so very much control if you actually want to work with people, not dictate to them or for them. That requires trust given to them, and building trust in them of you (a herculean task of time effort, energy, and consistency).

The main letting go is of false expectations, which I call “shoulds.” These are process focused methods, the process is where the art is, and the product, or the should, is secondary. I have a mentor who talks a lot of about the fallacy of “should” and this session also reinforced that idea. It may be cliche to say, but in life “should” is a lie we tell ourselves which really only hurts us, and this is as true for art practices as it is for anything. We make the best decisions we can in every moment, everyone who is present are the best people for that conversation, and everything that is said is what needed to be said. When we worry so much about shoulds we do damage, because we are trying to predict something that is unreal and it feels inherently negative because it assumes we somehow did less in the reality of what has actually taken place. That “should” deems less valuable the actual work being done. The asset based community development work we did in the session speaks strongly towards acknowledging only what actually exists, focusing on the reality of what we know, what we can do, and how we can use it to create positive, powerful, solution oriented conversations and I pretty much adore that idea.

As much as I love these ideas, I struggle to apply them to my own life, and I certainly believe that how we engage our communities should be equally reflected in how we work and care for ourselves. So it’s scary to know I am so bad at believing in the reality of what I can do, of what I am capable, and yet to expect myself to use all of these tools to work with others.

by Jessica Caldas

Asset Based Community Development = Looking at the “Haves,” Piling the Bounty

I work in art. Because I always have worked in art. Growing up in rural Georgia: Art, storytelling, puppetry were my solo means of personal fulfillment.
Ironically I kept thinking of this as McKenzie Wren facilitated Hatch Session #3…
My art growing up always began with looking at a pile. A pile of…fur, craft supplies, paints, whatever! And then saying, “Okay, what can I create?”

Scottie Rowell's illustration of "piles" from a deficit based mindset vs. an asset based mindset.
Scottie Rowell’s illustration of “piles” from a deficit based mindset vs. an asset based mindset.

Asset Based Community Development is that. Collectively looking at the “pile.” The skills, resources, and offers of individuals to better a community as a whole…”Okay, what can we create?”

By utilizing the Community’s bounty, their “pile,” the community is intrinsically involved at the core. It is theirs. The project or mission doesn’t exist without the community. The “pile” of assets doesn’t exist without them.

We as artists hold the ability to actualize, curate, and help the community utilize the assets to the fullest.
“Okay Community, what should we create?”

by Scottie Rowell

 

Hatch Session #2 – Expanding the Definition & Managing Expectations

“Art is made by those who show up.” – Mel Chin

Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects talks about Expanding the Definition.
Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects talks about Expanding the Definition.

Last Saturday, Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects in Pasadena, California was our guest facilitator at C4 Atlanta for our pilot Hatch program. Per their website, “Side Street Projects is an entirely mobile artist-run organization that gives artists of all ages the ability and the means to support their creative endeavors.” We were so excited for Emily to share both her expertise with working in diverse communities as well as best practices for managing the size, scope and expectations of your arts projects.

The day was divided into two sessions. The morning session, called “Expanding the Definition”, focused primarily on the different types of community engaged art and how their implementation and authorship differed depending on their stated goals. Emily gave a brief historical context for art in community and explained that artists could borrow practices for working in community from other fields such as anthropology, community organizing, sociology and urban planning so as not to “be a wombat”, as she put it. Artists were encouraged to do ample due diligence to make sure that their best intentions didn’t do more harm than good in the community through improper execution. We then focused on several case studies of art projects within the community with highly successful community engagement models. Our artists particularly liked the Operation Pay Dirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project and enjoyed making their own Fundred Dollar Bills.

Hatch artists hard at work making their Fundred Dollar Bills.
Hatch artists hard at work making their Fundred Dollar Bills.

After the end of the session, we allowed time for rumination upon the artists’ concerns regarding community. Questions of race relations, sensitivity to hierarchy of authority, authorship and effective communication permeated the conversation. Emily provided some fantastic insight for our artists, but the group also had a lot of dynamic input for their peers.

After lunch, everyone reconvened to hear Session #2, Managing Expectations. Since we had identified all of the stakeholders involved in our projects through the morning session’s due diligence, we were ready to define the kinds of roles and relationships each stakeholder party would take on during the project. By having clearly defined roles and delegation, the artists could avoid any miscommunication with the community and key stakeholders regarding how their projects would be implemented. From there, we discussed funding opportunities and the expectations funders might have regarding how a project is presented. Emily urged the artists not to “chase the money”, or rather not to create projects just for the sake of applying to grant opportunities that don’t already fit your core values. Instead, pursuing the opportunities that already align with your core values as an artist and the work you are already creating is much more likely to bring about higher success in securing funding as well as be more meaningful to the artist. Finally, our Hatch artists worked on an exercise to flesh out communication and language used by the different stakeholders involved with their projects. By working out the different needs, wants, values and perceptions of each community, we can look for patterns of overlap and see the variations and subtleties necessary to manage the interests of all involved parties.