Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Art for the People

Every year the City of Richmond, in collaboration with the Richmond Art Center and the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission engages the community in a public art program appropriately titled, the Neighborhood Public Art Project. The Neighborhood Public Art Project [NPA] serves as a vehicle for the community to actively participate in public art. By collaborating with Neighborhood Councils, Non Profits, community groups and professional artist, the NPA project is able to produce work that sparks dialogue and encourages the community to share in the experience of the creative process.
This year’s NPA project is a continuation of the 2009 project. Due to the scope of the 2009 NPA, the project was extended to encompass 2010. The current NPA project is in collaboration with renowned muralist, Judy Baca. Judy is the founder of SPARC (The Social And Public Art Resource Center). The Richmond Art Center, in partnership with the City of Richmond, commissioned Judy and her team at SPARC to create a mural (site TBD) that engages the community and represents the diversity of the city. The project is being coordinated and managed by local artist, Eduardo Pineda. The central theme of the piece is one of empathy and of understanding. Bellow is a glimpse of the process thus far.
Early last year Judy was invited to Richmond. Judy gave a wonderful presentation about her organization and her process. This also gave the NPA Committee the opportunity to propose our plan for a mural to Judy

One of the exciting things about Judy and her approach is her ability to work with various groups within a community and the ability to spark a dialogue amongst members of the community. Through a series of workshops, Judy is able to actively engage the community. The workshops are intended to gather resources for the mural and to interact with the community allowing for their voice to be heard in the creative process. During the workshop, participants are given a presentation, there’s a group discussion, and exercises are conducted.
Here are some photos taken at the first workshop at the Nevin Park Community center. This workshop involved the residence of the neighborhood and guest from Richmond’s Native American Wellness Center.
Here, Judy Baca interviews Betty Reid-Soskin at the Richmond Art Center. The interview was not planned and was an organic, impromptu event. After meeting, Judy was captivated by Betty’s vast knowledge of Richmond’s history as well as her warm and delightful demeanor. Betty agreed to an interview and delighted us all with her wit, knowledge and insightful views on Richmond, politics and the world.

Later that day, two more workshops were conducted. Here is a photo of the youth workshop with participants from SEAYL and the RYSE Youth Council

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