Evelyn

NOMADS Mix It Up, Make It Up On Human Rights Day

The NOMAD Lab Art Project for children celebrated Human Rights Day on December 10 by envisioning a world – real or imagined – that they would like to live in. Multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and musician/composer Kevin Robinson led the event, held in an apartment complex at the Valle del Oro Neighborhood in Santa Clarita, CA., where the children live.  The Trailer Trash Project organized the event in collaboration with NOMAD Lab founder Evelyn Serrano, who uses art to encourage children to work together build a peaceful, tolerant multi-cultural neighborhood.
Musician/Composer Kevin Robinson with NOMAD kids

Tenor Saxaphonist Kevin Robinson, who is a firm believer in the power of music to heal, demonstrated how the sound that comes out of his instrument is influenced by his stance, breath, emotions – even the rate of his beating heart.  He showed how musical instruments can be fashioned from found objects such as hat stands, lamp stands and shades. Even the voice, hands and feet can be effective instruments, he said. A lesson in learning about how the music becomes one with your body came with Kevin encouraging the kids to clap their hands to a set beat, while he riffed and a NOMAD kid repeated sounds to a tune.This winter, the Kevin Robinson Ensemble (KREation) will be on tour in New York City and Baltimore this Winter (see dates)

For her part, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle recounted tales from her Kentifrica homeland, providing maps and drawing of the people who live there and the instruments they play.  She encouraged the NOMADS to draw maps of their own home country (real or imagined) and then asked them to describe what life was like there.

Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle's shows her portrait of a fellow citizen of Kentifrica to kids with the NOMAD Lab Art Project

Kevin Robinson, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and the NOMAD Lab Art Project collaborate with Sam Breen’s Trailer Trash Project in its mission to foster creativity and a sense of community through a program of art performances, exhibits and residencies in local Los Angeles neighborhoods.

NOMAD Lab founder, artist and CalArts faculty member Evelyn Serrano

In recognition of Human Rights Day, two international human rights lawyers based in Geneva, Switzerland joined the group.  Tom McCarthy and Anna-Lena Svensson McCarthy who were in California on a family trip, provided an opportunity to explain to that shelter is a human right.

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housingand medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” (article 25(1))  Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Thanks to Whole Foods of Valencia and  Steve’s Valencia Florist for their donations. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

NOMAD Invasion!

Children with Evelyn Serrano’s NOMAD Lab Art Project toured Sam’s trailer to inspect the progress since his last visit to their neighborhood in December.

Sam and friends gave neighborhood children a tour of the trailer during the Valle del Oro Neighborhood Festival, held May 6th at an apartment complex near Cal Arts. The festival was a chance to highlight the art work of  at-risk children, age 6-14, who participate in the NOMAD Lab Art Project.  Trailer Trash partners with the NOMAD Lab, exploring the importance of home and community through art.

In a public art “lab”,  the children made signs stating their views on the ingredients necessary for a safe and happy neighborhood.  In another lab they designed furniture for the inside of Sam’s trailer and gave pointers how to make it a welcoming place for young people.

Artist and teacher Evelyn Serrano directs the volunteer-run NOMAD Lab with help from Cal Arts students and others. The City of Santa Clarita is one of the project’s boosters and helps with the cost of materials.  In an email thanking the project’s teachers and helpers, Evelyn described  how happy the children were  to put their art (music, drawing, story-telling and photography) on display at festival:

Children at the Valle del Oro Neighborhood Festival watch as NOMADS receive certificates for participating in art projects held throughout the school year on the grounds of their apartment complex.

Test run on an experimental design for modular furniture inside the trailer.

Nomad signage filled in the blanks: "A good home is....", "A safe neighborhood is..."

I was at the verge of tears more than once during the festival. I was just so very proud of the young people and of the work we have accomplished this year. I can’t tell you how many of them came to me pleading that we have class THIS Saturday, that they can’t wait till September…

They have made friends in the program, they have become advocates of the program and understand the importance of it.

A NOMAD reads one of his stories while Evelyn Serrano holds the mike.

The girls shocked me with their impromptu speeches [saying why they like the NOMAD Project].  How proud I was! To see them exercise their collective and individual voices with power and fearlessness. How energized I felt after witnessing them. And seeing the boys so proud of their work (and rightly so).

My best wishes for an extraordinary summer.

Lots of love, Evelyn

Stay Tuned: On June 4th the NOMAD kids will exhibit their signs in a show called “ Slanguage” at a gallery in Willmington, CA.  For more information, check out the blog for the NOMAD Lab Art Project.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Nomads: The Art of Observation

A Nomad student draws scenes from his neighborhood. Photo Credit: spartanrestoration.com

The Nomads take a good look at their own back yard in a drawing lab taught by artist and Cal Arts instructor Evelyn Serrano.  (See Sam’s post #3 for more on the Nomads also this link. )  The kids are told to take their time, to observe closely before starting to draw.

Click to view slideshow.

“Don’t compare your work to anyone else,” Evelyn tells them. “You are all different so your art will be different, too.”  She points out the details in a tree and the colors and squiggly lines of a nearby play set.   At the end of the session, the children seem eager to show their work to the rest of the class.  Evelyn says she is proud of them for being fearless, unafraid to take risks with their art.  Then Evelyn and Sam look over the spot where the Spartan trailer will be on display for the Nomads on November 6th.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Nomad Alert (Sam’s Post 3)

As part of the Trailer Trash Project,  Sam will be working with the Nomad Lab – children and their parent from the Valle Del Oro Neighborhood Association in Newhall (Santa Clarita) CA.  The Lab offers all kinds of  art workshops in graphic design, print making, music, acting, etc.  It is run under the direction of Evelyn Serrano who also teaches a class on art and activism at CalArts. Sam recently met with the class. Here are his notes: [ed.]

-by Sam Breen, October 17, 2010

I met with Evelyn’s class, and we are starting to make a plan.  Our first date with theNomads and their parents is in Newhall on Nov 6 . There should be about 30-40 students there, ranging in age 6-14. Evelyn wants me to bring the trailer, so I will need to install a work-floor in the Spartan  by then! Nomad workshops in photography and creative writing are already under way. Teachers are exploring the idea of what home means to them. So they’ve begun thinking about this theme (which is great ’cause that’s my theme, too!) I’ll give the kids a small presentation of the project and take them

What makes a house a home?

on a tour of the Spartan. Then the photography kids will take pictures. Some will start writing, some of the Arts and Activism students from CalArts will lead theater games (with the idea of home in mind). Some of the Nomad kids will be commissioned to talk about what they’d want in the trailer if it was their home (they could draw, write etc.) We could have a projector in there, so I might put up some ideas for my wish list – things like solar panels, a grey water system, compost. I’ll also be asking them about ways to use the trailer as a performance space – even before it’s finished.

On Oct 20, well’ll have another meeting of the Arts and Activism Class.  Stay tuned.  [Sam will have got to install a temporary floor in the Spartan in the next three weeks. That also means floor insulation, a belly pan, and tanks for storing clean and water. -ed.]


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.