Novum: A Compendium of Theories, Ideas, & Explorations For the Curious and the Creative
ART FOR ALL: Promoting Cultural Vitality in Our Communities
Alex and A’misa Chiu
Evelyn Serrano is a Cuban interdisciplinary artist, educator, independent curator, community organizer, and mother currently living in Los Angeles County, California. Serrano obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts, School of Art, in Valencia, California. Prior to that, she studied visual arts, design, art theory, epistemology, and literature in Havana, Montevideo, and Miami. She has exhibited her work in many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. In addition, she is honored to have worked with talented artists, choreographers, writers and performers in many exhibitions, projects and art events she has organized and curated throughout the United States as well as in Montevideo, Tel Aviv, Tijuana, and La Habana. Serrano currently teaches at the CalArts School of Theater, and has lectured and led workshops at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, the CEART in Mexicali, the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, the University of Texas in Dallas, and the Instituto Superior de Diseño Industrial in La Habana. She is the founder of NOMAD LAB, a laboratory of pedagogy, the arts and social change in the heart of Valle del Oro, Newhall. Her work is focused on context-specific practices that advance the impact of the arts as a tool for social change.
Evelyn will talk about NOMAD LAB, a laboratory of creativity, collaboration and community for youth and their families, located in the heart of the Valle del Oro neighborhood in Newhall, Santa Clarita. NOMAD LAB designs and implements free inclusive arts, capacity building and leadership programs to address the rise in criminal activity in the neighborhood, and to offer a safe forum for dialogue, learning and community engagement. NOMAD LAB’s multigenerational and multi-locational programming makes use of vacant apartments available in the community. It moves to different locations throughout the neighborhood as the apartments it occupies become rented, hence the “nomadic” nature of its programs. NOMAD LAB is a truly collaborative project that relies on the passion, commitment and strong partnerships with community youth, parents, teaching artists, property managers, policy makers, and City staff. Through its inclusive and innovative pedagogical approach and community-based programs, NOMAD LAB aims to be a laboratory for “home-grown” change. Beyond its impact in the Valle del Oro community, NOMAD LAB plans to continue to work closely with policy makers, City staff, community organizers, and educators to design neighborhood-specific inclusive and integrated alternatives to traditional gang-suppression and graffiti abatement strategies. NOMAD LAB is committed to developing a community organizing and engagement model that can be successfully replicated and implemented in other low and moderate-income rental communities in Los Angeles County dealing with issues of neighborhood violence and intolerance.
Elizabeth Chin is an anthropologist whose work has focused on race and inequality, children and childhood, and dance. Her book Purchasing Power (U. of MInessota Press 2001) was a finalist for the C. Wright MIlls prize. She has taught at Occidental College since 1993 and in the fall will join the faculty of the Media Design Matters program at Art Center College of Design.
Elizabeth will present Katherine Dunham’s Magnetic Circle which explores the work and legacy of Katherine Dunham, who was a pioneering dancer and anthropologist. This performative presentation explores the technique that Dunham developed, examining its ethnographic basis in Haitian vodou practices and principles, and in the process argues that Dunham’s intervention in the dance studio was radical for its challenge to the elite, racist practices ingrained in the world of concert dance in her time.
Alex and A’misa Chiu are the publishers and editors of Eyeball Burp Press. Alex is an illustrator who has built a reputation for himself in the underground art and comics community. He creates stream of conciousness drawings. A’misa is an artist who is exploring subconsciousness and the role of dreams through collage and writing. Through Eyeball Burp, they build, experiment, and collaborate with fellow artists, musicians and thinkers, in an attempt to create new ways of expression & community.
Alex and A’misa will talk about their personal experiences within art communities (what works, what doesn’t, and the importance of like-minded people). They will touch upon do-it-yourself education (alternative schooling), throwing events beyond trying to make a buck (transforming spaces and engaging people), trends in the artworld (honing in on the zine and doodle movement), and the importance of publishing and blogging.