Final Installation at the Arvin Health Fair, April 19

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On Friday, April 19, Michelle Glass and I installed our first Arvin community project at the annual Arvin Health Fair.  This is the first in a series or works entitled DeColores: A Community Story Project, focused on the city of Arvin and surrounding communities in South Kern County. The Health Fair was held at the Veteran’s Hall courtyard and we installed the pieces in the middle of the yard, so they were surrounded by the activities and festivities. These included booths representing health and community services, food (delicious tacos for $1.00, snow cones, fruit, and lemonade), music, and dancing. At one point, the ‘Zumba’ ladies performed a routine, which both entertained and encouraged others’ to join their exercise group. The event lasted for 3 hours, from 4-7pm.

Zumba ladies led by Teresa perform

Zumba ladies led by Teresa perform

The triangular canvases were made with sail cloth, cut and stretched over  triangular frames fitted with magnets, after they were embellished by community members. Collages represent individual families, histories, memories, and symbols of Arvin.  Michelle and I chose the triangular form  for its geometric and architectural potential, but also because it symbolizes the mountains that we found to be so distinctive of our first visual impression of the Arvin landscape. Often, on topographical maps, mountains will be symbolized by simple triangles.

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In all, we had about 27 canvases that were made by community members. These canvases were the results of several workshops and conversations, and each one that was created was done so with care, enthusiasm, and

heart. In another post, we will showcase each original canvas that was made for this project. Those who met with us over these several months, shared their stories, told us about their families, and were generous enough to give their time to this project. As Arvin and the rest of South Kern County work to build a healthier community, we hope these continued engagements with citizens will support their cooperation to meet the challenges they face.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Zumba ladies, Margarita, Amalia, the rest of the staff and especially the families of the Arvin Family Resource Center for their participation and advocacy for this project.

Timoteo from Dolores Huerta Foundation admires one of the triangles.

Timoteo from Dolores Huerta Foundation admires one of the triangles.

Booths represented local health and community services.

Booths represented local health and community services.

looking through the canvases

looking through the canvases

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The Arvin Health Fair event was very family friendly.

The Arvin Health Fair event was very family friendly.

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New Project for 2013: 1000 Wildflowers and the Women of Arvin

Update: 3-D Collage with Arvin Residents

In this new year, we intend to wrap up our inaugural project in Arvin. Hataya and Michelle have spent a good part of last year acquainting ourselves with community members and holding workshops. We especially thank the Arvin Family Resource Center, Margarita Perez, and the ‘Zumba Women.’ We also thank the Arts Council of Kern, The California Endowment, Kari Heilman, Laura Wolfe, and Jeanette Richardson Parks. Below is one concept sketch of our 3-D collage, featuring pieces made by community members, which we plan to install during March or early April. The installation will be a community event.

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New Project:  1000 Wildflowers and the Women of Arvin, California

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A guide to the region’s wildflowers published by Howard K. Dickson, 1963.

Additionally, Michelle and Hataya are proud to announce that we have received funding to begin a new project in Arvin, entitled 1000 Wildflowers and the Women of Arvin, California. This project will recall Arvin’s lost wildflowers while also attempting to examine the community’s history of female migration and labor.  This project is been funded by a Faculty Enrichment Grant from Samsung Corporation and the Art Center College of Design.

Wishing for a Healthier Community

               

Last Saturday at the South Kern Arts and Culture Festival in Weedpatch, we asked participants to imagine what would improve the quality of life and health in their community. After drawing and writing their wishes on a flag, they planted them in our Wishing Flag garden under the shade of a nearby tree. At the end of the day, community members planted over a hundred wishes. Here are some of them.

Wishing for more trees

Wishing to live better

Wishing for less fertilizer use

Wishing for healthy foods

Wishing for farmers market produce

Wishing for a health center

Wishing to recycle clothes and shoes

Wishing to go green

Wishing for Ice Cream

Getting ready to plant a wish

Joining the Wishing Flag Garden

An ant’s eye view