Judy Baca Arts Academy LAUSD Proposal Explained
ART | COMMUNITY | EDUCATION | SOCIAL JUSTICE – Creating Sites of Public Memory: The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) was founded in 1976 by renowned artist and educator, UCLA Distinguished Professor Judith F. Baca, filmmaker/director Donna Deitch and Artist/Teacher Christina Schlesinger. SPARC is a cultural center that creates public art as a vehicle to promote civic dialogue, foster cross-cultural understanding and address critical social issues.
SPARC accomplishes its mission by producing, preserving and teaching methods to create community-based, public art. SPARC’s intention is: to examine what we choose to memorialize through public art, to devise and produce excellent artworks that articulate community needs through innovative community participatory processes, and that include creative visualization and collaborative teams composed of local residents of all ages.
SPARC has a rich legacy of artwork that provides an ethnic face for our city. SPARC’s public projects, which are national and international in scope, now number in Los Angeles alone in the 100’s and are considered among the most important landmarks for our city. For over 35 years, SPARC has been working in Los Angeles’ communities, including poor and immigrant communities with youth and their families as participants in the production of public monuments – artworks that make their stories evident to local, national and international audiences. Through the expansion of the American historical narrative, SPARC seeks to create understanding between diverse ethnic groups, and respect for the significant contributions made by diverse populations that make up a nation of immigrants.
UCLA@SPARC Programs and Services
UCLA students from Prof. Baca’s Beyond the Mexican Mural course led a three-year pilot project with the Judy Baca Arts Academy (JB Arts Academy) through which we have mentored 60 sixth grade youth, created 60 identity portraits, and completed an artistic assessment of the JB Arts Academy campus. We have done 3 years of productions and created new children artworks on the campus, and have expanded the workshops to incorporate the JB Arts Academy computer lab to maximize our mentoring outreach. SPARC educators work with JB Arts Academy 6th grade teachers and assist in providing an additional 1-hour of in-class instruction per week on exploring identity formation through the arts and their visions for their own future. JB Arts Academy students learn to utilize photographic cameras, computer equipment, and Adobe Photoshop to digitally compose their self-portraits in imaginative landscapes that depict their dream jobs in the future. The student compositions are then printed as “underpaintings” on 24” x 30” fine art canvas sheets. The Emancipation Project’s in-class instruction culminates in the painting of the identity portraits and a 6-week long mentorships with university students from UCLA through Judy Baca’s Beyond the Mexican Mural undergraduate course. We transform the school’s auditorium into a painting studio and provide the students with fine arts instruction on painting self-portraits over their digital compositions with acrylic paints. Once completed, the artworks are protected with a special UV coating and permanently installed on campus in a mosaic fashion to create one integrated 20’ by 5’ mural.
Curriculum and Pedagogy
SPARC’s pedagogy stems from a long history of creating artworks that serve social justice causes. Our pedagogy evolved from initiatives like the Great Wall of Los Angeles and the Neighborhood Pride Programs. Judy Baca innovated methods for the Great Wall of Los Angeles mural program that combined community engagement techniques with art education. The program engaged “at-risk” youth and their families in the design and painting of a half-mile mural. SPARC’s Neighborhood Pride mural program built upon the success of the Great Wall pedagogy by creating community partnerships across Los Angeles. SPARC’s artists created 105 empowering murals on the walls of private businesses, service organizations, and LAUSD schools.
SPARC’s current initiative, the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab advances methods for art education and community engagement through public art. The Digital/Mural Lab develops curriculum that combines traditional visual arts training with media arts techniques to create accessible art engagement experiences for youth of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
The Digital/Mural Lab also develops public art that incorporates the stories or aspirations of community participants. We incorporate scholarship and archival research in our design process to develop imagery that is anchored in history and social realism. Our design methods also generate curriculum that informs the public on the content and ideas present in our murals. Our design processes and our curriculum combines arts disciplines by collaborating with accomplished artists from fields such as music and performance.
The Population Served at the Judy Baca Arts Academy
Our students at the JB Arts Academy are about 87% Latina/o, about 12% Black, and about 1% White or Native Indian or Alaskan. The surrounding Watts community reflects a similar demographic of about 62% Latina/o, 37% Black and 1% other. We are proud to serve our students and their families because Latina/o and Black children are more likely to “suffer from a collapse in art education…” It is, therefore, a critical part of our mission to train and educate our students in visual art, media art and art history in order to address this educational inequity.
Watts is often remembered for the 1965 riots that lasted for 6 days. However, it’s equally powerful history of local musicians, such as Horace Tapscott, and the Underground Musicians Association has set a precedent for music and art in Watts. Studio Watts, a collective of visual artists, poets, writers and dancers also marks the strong tradition for a thriving arts community in Watts. And while Black and Latina/o children are more likely to be disadvantaged from a lack of art education, the community of Watts boasts a strong history of artists and art collectives, one that we are proud to celebrate and participate with. It is our intention to incorporate this history and local knowledge into our future work with the JB Arts Academy school.
About the Emancipation Workshop
We currently offer the Emancipation Workshop for twenty 6th grade graduating students at the JB Arts Academy located in the Watts community. We work closely with 6th grade teachers and the school’s administration to create a selection process by which students write essays about identity and their community. Twenty students are selected from the pool of essays based on their merits, potential for impact, enthusiasm, and/or artistic inclinations. Our program has serviced the JB Arts Academy for the past three years through Judy Baca’s Beyond the Mexican Mural class at UCLA without additional funding. Our workshops are conducted in the classroom, in the JB Arts Academy Computer Lab, and in the school’s auditorium, which we transform into a painting and performance studio. We seek additional support to expand our services to impact the whole 6th grade class at JB Arts Academy by providing more immersive digital media and traditional arts instructions.
Judy Baca and SPARC has worked closely with several LAUSD schools in the past. The most notable mural projects are the Gente del Maiz mural at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Arches located in the Paul Schrade Library at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.
The Judy Baca Arts Initiative for the Judy Baca Arts Academy
- SPARC proposes a 1 to 3 year initiative to create a unique arts environment for children in the Watts community.
- UCLA students from Beyond the Mexican Mural class will mentor over 90 graduating 6th grade youth.
- Transformation of the Judy Baca Arts Academy to a school filled with murals
- Integration of historical content in the fine art murals of Judy Baca into the everyday curriculum of Judy Baca Arts Academy educators
- Production of new children artworks on the campus
- Maximize our mentoring outreach to all Judy Baca Arts Academy graduating students
- The creation of a template for replication in other LAUSD schools as interdisciplinary innovative arts curriculum
Transformation of the Judy Baca Arts Academy to a school filled with murals
Year I will include the transformation of the campus environment by the installation of high resolution Digital replicas of original murals by Judy Baca. UCLA students will work in the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab with SPARC artist educations to develop arts curriculum based on the historically rich content depicted in each of Judy Baca’s artworks and Baca’s pedagogy developed with “at risk” youth for identity and self esteem building. Baca’s murals use an interdisciplinary methodology of historical research and archival image gathering, primary sources such as historical documents and interviews of scholars and community members to develop the artistic content. These resources have been archived and organized at the UCLA and SPARC Digital/Mural Lab. The development of curriculum that takes advantage of this wealth of historical knowledge will provide youth with an enriched understanding of history that is often overlooked by major textbooks. SPARC educators will tailor the arts curriculum to meet LAUSD common core standards with focus on teaching compassion, civic engagement, community pride, elevating self-esteem and supporting identity formation.
SPARC proposes to create a thriving arts environment for K-6 Judy Baca Arts Academy (JB Arts) youth and the surrounding Watts neighborhoods. We will accomplish this through the integration of five artistic elements: the installation of five Judy Baca mural reproductions on the interior campus walls and the development of curriculum for JB Arts Academy educator use, the installation of 15 artworks inside the JB Arts Academy classrooms, the creation of durable outdoor chalk walk on the campus playground, and the expansion of our current workshops to maximize our mentoring outreach to all 6th grade graduating JB Arts Academy students.
Key Instructional Materials/Support for Students and/or Staff
Some of the materials and support we will provide to both students and teachers include formal arts training with digital photography, Photoshop, computer training, mixed media arts, acrylic painting, procedural thinking skills involved in developing an artwork from conceptualization to completion.
We will develop curriculum that uses Judy Baca’s murals to compliment in-class instruction based on Common Core Standards and History-Social Science Content Standards. This curriculum will help support teachers in creative and visual educational pedagogies.
Installation of artwork and Integration of arts curriculum into the general classroom pedagogy
Emancipation Mural Project
Year 1 will integrate our pilot project called the “Emancipation Mural Project” over the course of one academic year for sixth grade youth. SPARC educators will work with Judith F. Baca arts Academy 6th grade teachers and provide assistance in providing an additional 1 hour of in-class instruction per week on exploring identity formation through the arts and their individual identity development.
The Emancipation Project’s in-class instruction will culminate in the development of identity portraits and 6-week long mentor ships with university students
Dance and Performance Workshop
JB Arts Academy Computer Lab Workshop
Art Composition with Digital Media and Photoshop
Students and Teacher Testimonies:
SPARC has also identified additional enhancements for youth along the exterior playground wall. SPARC artists will install a durable outdoor-rated CHALK WALL so that youth can draw and explore scale, color and composition.
UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab’s
Judy Baca Arts Initiative Phase 1
Phase 1 will include the transformation of the campus environment by the installation of high-resolution digital replicas of original murals by Judy Baca. SPARC will develop arts curriculum based on the historically rich content depicted in each of Judy Baca’s artworks and Baca’s pedagogy developed with “at risk” youth for identity and self esteem building. Baca’s murals use an interdisciplinary methodology of historical research and archival image gathering, primary sources such as historical documents and interviews of scholars and community members to develop the artistic content. These resources have been archived and organized at the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab. These resources will be curricularized and made accessible to the JB Arts Academy educators for integration in their daily instruction. The development of curriculum that takes advantage of this wealth of historical knowledge will provide youth with an enriched understanding of history that is often overlooked by major textbooks. SPARC artists will provide training to JB Arts Academy educators on how to integrate the arts curriculum into their everyday teaching.
Phase 1 will also expand our pilot project called the “Emancipation Mural Project” to span over the course of one academic year for all sixth grade youth, approximately 97 students. SPARC educators will work with Judith F. Baca arts Academy 6th grade teachers and provide assistance in providing an additional 1-hour of in-class instruction per week on exploring identity formation through the arts and their individual identity development. SPARC will incorporate dance and performance workshops, and include new music and choral reading modules to the Emancipation Project. Students will receive in-class instruction, learn to utilize computers to digitally compose their self-portraits, and fine art painting instruction. SPARC technicians will administer lab improvements for fine art use. The Emancipation Project’s in-class instruction will culminate in the development of identity portraits and 6-week long mentorships with university students from UCLA through Judy Baca’s Beyond the Mexican Mural undergraduate course. Students will have the option of developing a fully digitally composed and digitally painted self portrait, or a traditional acrylic painted artwork. The works will be permanently installed on campus and digitally displayed on the school’s website and featured on SPARC’s digital gallery.
SPARC artists will also install an outdoor chalk wall that will allow youth to draw and explore scale, color, and composition. This will provide youth and educators with a rotating space for creativity and play. SPARC will provide educators with curriculum ideas on how to use the chalk wall for their lesson plans.
Student will receive one hour of formal arts training per week with digital photography, Photoshop, computer training, mixed media arts, acrylic painting, procedural thinking skills involved in developing an artwork from conceptualization to completion. We will tailor the arts curriculum to meet LAUSD common core standards with focus on teaching compassion, civic engagement, community pride, elevating self-esteem and supporting identity formation. We will install 5 fine art reproductions of murals by Judy Baca on the interior walls of the JB Arts Academy, and 15 artworks inside the classrooms. Each artwork will include curriculum for integration into daily classroom instruction. We will create a chalk wall in the JB Arts Academy playground and provide curriculum ideas for integration into class instruction. Students will create another Emancipation Workshop with a digital and studio art component. The final painted self-portraits will be installed on the JB Arts Academy Campus.
Emancipation Project 2015 Book