Sunday, October 27, 2019

Love My Neighbor at the Taste of Soul 2019 with Bank of America

Our awesome Love My Neighbor Day “Scottsdale” art tent was front and center at the remarkable TasteOfSoul 2019 celebration this past Saturday thanks to my awesome partners from Bank of America Better Money Habits community volunteer team. 

The Taste of Soul Marching band parade passing by our Love My Neighbor booth

350000 people attend this annual iconic LA celebration.  

So many things were super special about it.  Bank of America team of volunteers worked their hearts out from 5am setting it up and all throughout the LA heatwave day assisting kids with my art program and giving their parents free financial advice (of course regardless of where they bank) just as they always do in our Carson based program.  It’s an amazing and real dedicated effort by a corporate player to truly make itself part of the community.  


It was amazing as always to see how kids respond to an idea of thinking about their special neighbor after learning the stories of my special neighbor that I love to portray.  

As an artist it is a special privilege to see how portraying diversity of my special Carson neighbors affects the viewers and participants of Love My Neighbor project.






Another amazing part was that the long marginalized and neglected epicly troubled “Scottsdale” neighborhood in Carson that was given up on so many times throughout its 5 decades of policy failure history was now representing The City of Carson right next to the booth of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at the event that carries particularly special meaning for “Scottsdale’s” long time African American residents. We did it all with art.  Art is power. 

It was also great to see my good friend  Carson Councilmemeber Jawane Hilton stopping by the booth.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Love My Neighbor Day with Bank of America at the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration in the City of Carson

The bucolic village at the foot of the mountain in the El Salvador jungle.  The incoming fire of rockets and mortar grenades.  The house hit and on fire.  The people running from it in horror.  This is the image by 13 year old Krystina depicting the story of her grandparents in our LoveMyNeighbor art tent at  the City of Carson Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration . The raw testimonial power of the image simply cannot leave any viewer indifferent.  The great communicative power of Art.

There were a number of works of a remarkably meaningful visual impact depicting personal family stories of children's’ great parents and great great parents which is the real world meaning of the strange word “heritage” that none of the kids knew the meaning of before.

I am deeply grateful to a remarkable group of Bank of America volunteers from Better Money Habits community outreach program who in the scorching heat worked with amazing dedication, non-stop and as long as needed.

Even inside my 20’ x 40’ tent it felt like broiling but Anh, Gwen, Maria, Sandy, Miguel and the whole team worked their hearts out tirelessly assisting me with kids and giving free financial advice to parents.

In our unique colaboration with the City of Carson and Bank of America we really developed a unique model when children  can experience art making in the professional setting, often for the first time in their lives.

There is no time to teach them how to make art in those setting, but it is an opportunity to give them an experience of being an artist. Once guided, the kids once and again show an amazing capacity for grasping the idea and purely on their own convert it into a viable and compelling visual image, producing content driven form which is a big thing to me in my own art.

Art is inherent in the way we, the humans, process the world.  Looking at amazingly powerful Krystina’s image proves it yet again. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Public Unveiling of “The Chief” at the Foisia Park Renaming Ceremony
"James Foisia. "The Chief". Love My Neighbor Project"  sepia on paper 32" x 22"
It was truly an amazing celebration of all that’s good and right about our community in Carson with renaming of its popular park after beloved community leader James Foisia. 

I did his portrait which I called “The Chief” as part of my ongoing Love My Neighbor public art project.
The unveiling was part of the ceremony.
First of all the issue of re-naming.  Former Scott Park was named after army general Winfield Scott. No, he did not set foot in Carson, most likely didn’t even know of its existence in his native Virginia.  He was a very capable military commander who was tasked with implementing horrifying US Congress Indian Removal Act of 1830. He led ground troops against Seminole People, The Sauk People and presided over one of the most tragic chapters in The Trail of Tears - the horrific Cherokee Nation forced removal of 1838.  Does not seep plosable, but this is after whom the public park in Carson, Californis was named after for many decades.

That is why it was particularly meaningful to me that James Foisia, a local legend, was a true modern day chief. He was the chief and not only because he carried the noble spirit of his ancestors. He was the true chief in his local leadership, in his forceful service to his community and in his lasting inspiration to kids of all fenomenally diverse Carson. It was a great decision long championed by the community on the ground and wisely supported by the City Council. It was truly a community celebration with full chiefly honors.  It was also the perfect local subject matter and inspiration for my ongoing series of depicting my special neighbors and portraying divercity with Love My Neighbor public art project.
From the Trail Of Tears US general out of East Coast to a Samoan tribal chief and local hero - you’ve done right, the City of Carson! It is a great honor to be part of it!!