May 5, 2008

Blog #8/9 - Response to Two MDG Presentations

Honors Presentations:

ONE:
Kelly Berry and Broc Blegen's presentation on Goal 8: A Partnership of Global Development was well researches and the layout of their PowerPoint was excellently composed. I found this presentation to be relatively interesting and educational, as I had no idea that countries such as Somalia hadn't had any access to the Internet until as recently as 1999. I can't fathom how Somalian government, corporations, schools and organizations could have functioned all without the Internet, much less meet the increasingly modern world's standards in these areas. My only criticism of Kelly and Broc's presentation is their unenthusiastic and quite verbal contributions. I know I would be pretty nervous to speak in front of an auditorium full of students, but it is still imperative that one puts a little oomph, a little jazz (for lack of better words) into any verbal presentation. Even with my verbal qualms, I believe that their presentation overall was very successful.

TWO:
I enjoyed the honor group who analyzed MD Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. They used the so called "Crack Stacks" [my term] otherwise known as Riverside Plaza apartments as a case study in remodeling buildings for increased sustainability and decreased slum status to provide adequate affordable housing for Minnesotans. I enjoyed learning about different sustainable methods, especially the usage of gray water (sink and shower water) to replace drinking water in toilets. I had no idea either that Energy Star appliances conserved so much energy. A friend of mine is opening his own restaurant and I will definitely suggest that he invest in energy star appliances. I thought it was nice that the group offered there own design solutions to the problems of sustainability and aesthetics in Riverside Plaza as opposed to critiquing an already retrofitted building. The group also did a good job verbalizing their presentation, which was an overall success.

April 28, 2008

Color Wheel Pt. 1

As I've been perusing my blog entries, I've realized I never wrote about my first painting project with the kids I volunteer with. Opps! Anyway, It was great - a far cry from the first art project I did. I had a full group of kids, and although they were a bit rambunctious, they all worked with their tutors and figured out how to mix not only green, orange and purple using the primary colors, many of them went on to make tertiary colors and and black and white as well. There was one major glitch though - there wasn't enough blue, red and yellow paint! Thankfully I realized this before the kids started to show up and I ran home (I only live 3 blocks away) and brought my own paint. Because of that lost time, I wasn't fully set up for the kids, but it all worked out. When it comes down to it, I was just relieved that many kids wanted to do the project with me. I made a color wheel at home for them to see and I painted an apple with all the colors I created. I learned a lot and I helped me for next time. I had everything set up, including paint pallets, water and paper towels for each kids so as to make it less chaotic. I could totally be an art teacher with a little more practice and authority.

Color Wheel Pt. 2

This last Thursday I continued the color wheel art project I created for the kids at Nicollet Bethlehem Community Center. I had more kids paint with me this week than last, and almost all the kids who did the art project last time came back. We worked with the colors we learned how to make using only primary colors and painted whatever. All the kids took a different spin on their projects. One of the girls really just liked to get messy and mix all the colors together with her hands. I gave her a paint tattoo as a reward for cleaning up well. It was a blast - it felt good that the kids were having fun.

Next week I'll be planning an activity for the following Thursday, which is family fun night. I think we'll do some spin art. I think this position is a great fit for me, which makes it more rewarding than a chore. Last year I attempted to teach adults, mostly African from war torn areas, how to read and write. It was physcologically straining and I never look forward to it. I can't imagine how the teacher could deal with that day in and day out. Painting with little kids seems more my forte.

April 3, 2008

Blog #7 - Title Page

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March 28, 2008

Crazy Colors, Primo Painting

Today I planned an art project that I'll do with the kids in 2 weeks (next week they have a break, so I won't be coming in). I'm super psyched because I got to plan my own project instead of take one that's already been done. I'm going to teach the kids about the color wheel and have them experiment with the primary colors to make secondary and then tertiary colors. I'll teach them about white and black/ tints and shades. After they make their own colors, they can name them (like crayons) and paint a picture.

I typed up a worksheet today laying out what they'll be doing. First they've got to make a hypothesis on what secondary colors they think will be made with combinations of primary colors. Then they'll mix the paint and write down their observations. I think it'll be a lot of fun.

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March 27, 2008

Blog #6 - Presentation/Documentation Styles

think UN Millennium Development Goals
think primary education...
think Mali...
think...

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These are layouts and I really wish I knew/owned inDesign...


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These are not graphic layouts, but the inspiration for a unique presentation that includes all the aforementioned "thinks"...

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March 25, 2008

Blog #5 - Affects of The Built Environment

frameworks, clockworks, oppositions, phenomena

Hmmmmmm.

I wake up in the morning to the clockwork of my cell phone's alarm. I press a button and fall asleep for 8 more minutes till it goes off again. Repeat, Repeat. Repeat. Spring out of bed knowing that I don't have time to shower and I'll have to drive and pay for parking. The conflict of mind and body - knowing I must wake and greet the day, dreading it for a reason I'd rather not look at. My body is able to function even with only a few hours of sleep. My mind is unruly. The polarity of want and should. Should is such an ugly, guilt ridden word. Cranky! I'm Cranky! In the morning.

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There are no curtains or blinds in the common areas of my first level apartment. I live on 24th Street and Grand Avenue South. People walk by. The house is situated on a slight hill, which provides a minimal amount of privacy and a historical advantage of elevated status and defendability. The physical phenomena of architecture. The body inhabits the space: a lack of curtains has no strictly physical impact on the body (in the western sense). When we think though of the mind body connection, it becomes evident that the mental or metaphysical experience of this small aspect of my built environment creates an undercurrent of unease that manifests itself physically as subtle tension. Tension that has the potential to seep into my sleep, my relationship with my roommate and my feeling of security in my own home, even when the front, back, side and porch doors are locked.

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Happily the situation is easily solved. Now all I need is some money and time for a trip to Ikea.

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NEW
WILMA
Curtain
color: Bight Red

$9.99 / 2 pack

1st Time

Thursday March 20th -

I wasn't able to to come in last week because Travis (I remembered his name!) the assistant cordinator, wasn't there. This Thursday I was thrown right into my new position as art facilitator. I chose to do a collage with the kids, but only 2 of the wanted to try. It was a little awkward to have to go up to kids in the middle of homework or board games and show them my mini collage and ask if they wanted to make one too. In fact, I think my ego was a little bruised after so many rejections. C'est la vie. I got pretty into it, as well as the tutor of one of the girls who signed up. She did a collage of food which she was so proud of the took it home to finish, which I thought was sweet.

I found that in general, I would plan the art project one day (or week in this case) and facilitate the kids the next week. Hopefully next time I'll come up with something a little more interesting and get a bigger group. I'd really like to do paper mache masks, but I'm not sure how keen they are on big projects. Anywho, it wasn't too bad and it wasn't too great. I only have room to improve.

Site Visit

Thursday March 6th -

I went to the Loring Nicollet Bethlehem Community Center for what they call a "site visit". I walked there; it is conveniently located only 2 blocks away. When I walked in I was greeted by Maurie Clipperton’s son (Mr. Clipperton is the suspender wearing program founder and organizer). I cannot remember his name for the life of me, but he was very cordial and gave us (there were two other kids along for the visit) a tour of the facility. It isn't apparent from the outside, but the building is a converted church appropriately void of religious symbols. The large center of the building has vaulted ceilings and is divided into a reading area and a homework/board game area.

There were kids everywhere, and almost one tutor per kid, which I found really surprising. We watched a little video clip on the program and then I got very turned around in the twisting halls and random rooms of the convoluted building. Our guide has worked with his dad at the LNBC Center (my abbreviation, not his) for 14 years and yet he told us that he still gets lost occasionally.

It turns out they already have a full staff of tutors on the days I can work, so I've taken the Thursday night arts and science facilitator. I have no idea what to expect.

February 27, 2008

Blog #4 - Endless Possibilities

Free from the pressure to succeed, released from the constraining implications of parental and peer expectations? I think I would sleep in.

Just kidding... I think. I would create for myself an environment of endless possibilities. I would learn how to wake up now and then early enough to watch the sunrise. I would learn how to reupholster furniture. I might work at Camp Ihduhapi for another summer even though I'd only make $22/day. I would do yoga everyday and reacquaint my self with Lama Pamela Holtum, from whom I learned that I knew more about what Buddhism is in essense than most people ever will. She warned me to be careful, and I'd like to thank her, even though I'm not quite sure if I took her advise.

I would work my little behind off as a waitress, and maybe a security guard at a museum, or an apprentice at a furniture repair shop and I'd save enough to travel the world on a homeless type budget. I'd take all my things to my parents house and just go. Anywhere, everywhere. I'd meet a stray dog, mean and ugly probably, and make friends. We'd travel the US, hitchhiking safely, knowing we have each other and an antique hunting knife hidden in my boot. I'd learn how to live without anything and become confident that I can live a happy and fulfilling life without sacrificing my (currently buried) sprite-ish spirit to the acquisition and maintenance of money.

I am very conflicted when it comes to money. I want it because I like nice things and to have interesting experiences, but I hate it because I can see how it can highjack the dreams and preoccupy the lives of so many people. They become miserable, but in order to justify their time and energy spent in making money, they feel the need to make more, buy more, and perhaps one day they'll have enough money to fill the hole left by dead or dying goals and dreams.

All these things I have mentioned could come to fruition weather or not I was released from the architectural school program. Time and energy expended in school is my excuse for not pursuing my dreams. I am terrified that one day work and money will become my excuse. This thought makes me feel like I want to cry, or run away. But to balance this fear is the even greater fear of disappointing those people who love me and have sacrificed a good portion of their personal aspirations to the great god of the American Dream so that I might have a comfortable apartment, a cell phone, a car, the internet, a college education. And I feel that I'd like to pay them back as soon as possible so that they might have a moment to allow themselves to think on what those aspirations and dreams are, and to pursue them.

Golly gee darn it all to Heck, FUDGE MUFFIN! It is so hard to be conflicted. This is a time of transition, non? I feel like (I know that) it will never end and I've got to stop thinking about it now or the lump in my throat will threaten to prevent me from breathing.

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Skinny dipping at sunrise in Tahiti (I am Tahitian by the way, and very proud of it). Living in a shack on the beach with a man who can cook, who loves me just the way I love him. Surrounded by good friends. Treks into the forest, stumbling upon long lost dwellings. Waterfalls into crystal clear swimming holes. Fresh caught fish and mussels cooked over a big fire on the beach. Good food, drinks, friends, the ocean, dancing into the early morning. Maybe some bareback riding. Painting. Making houses and furniture beautifully from scraps, bits and pieces. Being part of a community, knowing, helping, loving neighbors. Knowing there will always be many people to help me when I need it. Babies running around naked chasing happy dogs. Freckles galore. That's all I want or need. And it's totally doable too. I just need the guts to put the wheals in motion, to live life for me. And to convince all my favorite people to come live with my in Tahiti. I'll try to fortify their guts with mine. Fingers crossed! I feel better now.

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February 20, 2008

Blog #3 - Universal Primary Education: Empowering the Powerless

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The whole object of education is...to develop the mind. The mind should be a thing that works.
Sherwood Anderson

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I am not a teacher; only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead–ahead of myself as well as of you.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British dramatist, critic, writer.

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"Your task... to build a better world," God said. I answered, "How?... this world is such a large, vast place, and there's nothing I can do." But God in all His wisdom said, "just build a better you."
Author Unknown

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The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss cognitive psychologist.

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In England … education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Oscar Wilde (1856-1900) Irish poet and dramatist.

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Education: Being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it.
William Feather

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The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.
Herbert Spencer

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Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
H.G. Wells

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Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

February 14, 2008

Blog #2 - Social Design: Access to Good Food = Access to Good Health

It seems fairly obvious; where access to fresh food is limited, obesity and all the related health issues will be more prevalent. This appears to be the case in North Minneapolis, where the Cub Foods on West Broadway is the only full service grocery store in the entire area. According to a 2002 Hennepin County study, "more than a quarter of Northside residents were obese, compared to 16 percent of the city as a whole. More than 7 percent had diabetes, while in Minneapolis as a whole the rate was 5 percent." The same study made the intuitive link between "a lack of supermarkets and nutrition-related disease" official.

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West Broadway Cub Foods, the only supermarket in the North Minneapolis community

North Minneapolis, and especially the area surrounding the West Broadway Cub, has been struggling with poverty, poor housing and crime for quite some time now, which prevents other grocery stores from setting up shop in the area. Jean Kinsey, a University of Minnesota food economist, has stated that
"You have only about a 1 or 2 percent profit margin on sales in a grocery store. The traditional thinking is that the risk and the cost of operating in very poor neighborhoods is high enough that it makes them unprofitable."

The best solution to this problem would of course be to end poverty and crime in that area, which would allow residence more money to spend on fresh foods, and more business owners would feel comfortable opening supermarkets in the area which would further the economy in North Minneapolis. Barring that feat, farmer's markets and free or inexpensive nutrition classes will improve health within the neighborhood by providing more choices and education.

Thankfully, there are people aware of this issue who are devoted to change in the right direction. The Northside Food Project is an example of one such group, which helps integrate small-scale farmers markets in North Minneapolis neighborhoods and holds cooking classes for both children and adults. Passion for one's neighbor means the difference between a thriving, healthy community, and an impoverished sick one. Design for community well-being is essentially the means to changing the human ecosystem. It becomes the designer's challenge and responsibility then for positive change rather than negative; even in the seemingly smallest ways, like bringing fresh food and better health to a relatively small part of the world's population. We must care and look out for each other to save the world.

PS - I know that sounds pretty melodramatic, but I truly believe that the course we as humans are currently taking on this earth will lead to destruction sooner than later.

February 8, 2008

Blog #1 - Transformation of the Urban Landscape

I found this video on the website "Wooster Collective, a celebration of street art." I think street art in it's many manifestations represent the voice of motivated artists working outside the realm of convention. Street art is intrinsically public and usually illegal, which lends the artwork overt or covert social-political significance. To me, street art is about community and the ever meaning of this word. Whether a person believes it to be offensive or beautiful, street art is part of it's surface, it's neighborhood, in a way that a painting or sculpture created off site can never be.

I think street art is to the urban as Andy Goldsworthy is to the rural. A perfect example of this analogy can be found in the "Barsky Brothers." The following is an excerpt and photo from the afore mentioned website:

"The work that these two guys [Akay and Peter, who together are known as the Barsky Brothers] do on the street is extremely rare, in the sense that it truly goes beyond spray cans and wheatpastes to be actual architectural structures and installations. The time, not to mention the money, that goes into their projects is remarkable. The book tells the stories behind thirteen projects done in the last four years.

Using material they find on the streets, Akay and Peter take ugly empty places and turn then into these magical little oases.

For us, Akay and Peter are the type of artists who have the ability to truly change the way people think about (a) their environment and (b) what should be in it and (c) what are definition of public art should be.

One of the projects that we really loved was City Swings in which for two weeks the Barsky Brothers installed 65 swings in Stockholm for people to enjoy, all made from found objects."

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I like that both Mr. Goldsworthy and the Barsky Brothers use found object natural to their very different landscapes.

Another more poignant example of politically driven street art in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu:

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Goldsworthy works within the constructs of nature, where energy, flow and transformation has a intuitive quality - it makes sense to anyone willing to be still a moment. Street artists work in an abstract sense of nature, nature which is warped and loud and fast. Street art is weirdly integrated into the not so subtle urban environment. In both Goldsworthy's work and the work of these artists, permanence is not guaranteed or expected. I think there is a beauty in this... being willing to pour your heart, time and energy into something that might very well be blown away or painted over. In this way, these artists are working from an internal drive that is not scared off by change, that works and thrives on the energy, flow and transformation of their environment.

Work Cited:
http://www.woostercollective.com/2007/01/07-week/

Rich Jones: Somali photograph - contributed to Doctors Without Borders 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Crises of 2006 (click on link below)
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/reports/2007/top10_2006.htm


January 24, 2008

Hello! My Name Is: Hadley

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This will be my first blog EVER! Pretty exciting stuff here. I have no idea what I am doing, but I've made my page pretty and uploaded a photo (in a round about way). Pretty dang good I'd say. Next thing you know I'll be html-ing my own templates. Currently though, I am satisfied with my progress and shall bid you adieu.