Flockworks, Safe Passage and Dana Gray Elementary Restore Art Classes after FBUSD Budget Cuts
(Fort Bragg, CA) Local arts and community nonprofit, Flockworks, has responded to the recent budget cuts by Fort Bragg Unified School District that defunded art programs by raising $25,000 to return art programs to all the students at Dana Gray Elementary in Fort Bragg.
“Art is a vital part of learning,” said Executive Director Janet Self. “Learning through art fosters its own special hands-on skills, creates a positive learning experience and offers an important conceptual framework that supports other academic disciplines.”
This current effort to return arts to Dana Gray Elementary was spearheaded by Flockworks Board member and Community Artist, Joanna Wigginton and Safe Passage, Family Resource Center’s Latino Family Advocate, Anne Harvey. Flockworks secured start-up funding to hire a Resource Artist who will work 25 hours a week with the students on various art projects. The funds were the result of generous donors and a grant secured by Safe Passage. Principal Kale and Superintendent Walker are fully on board for this exciting new pilot project. Dana Gray teachers are excited to participate as well as provide feedback and ideas for the art curriculum so it complements the academic work.
“The gifts that made this pilot project possible reflects the abundance we find when we work together as a community,” said Joanna.
Flockworks has a 12-year track record of working with children and youth on creative projects inside and outside the classroom. In June and July of this year Joanna and Anne led weekday art projects to compliment the summer program at the Redwood Elementary School in Fort Bragg for children from pre-K through 6th grade. The projects were designed to support the curriculum themes including pets, insects and moving vehicles.
“We will be fundraising to secure support from donors and grants to help sustain and expand this pilot program,” said Joanna. “We want to ensure we have more art for these kids.”
(Albion, CA) On the Mendocino coast, a new Little Free Library (LFL) was installed at The Ledford House in Albion as part of the Flockworks “Little Free Libraries for All” project and in partnership with the owners, Lisa and Tony Greer. Little Free Libraries are community book sharing sites that inspire a love of reading, spark creativity and build community through a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.
The library was assembled by Community Artist, Joanna Wigginton, and finished by Flockworks Board member, Erica Harrold. The inspiration for the artwork on the structure came from learning about the life of Lisa Greer’s 12-year old grand-niece, Coco, who was killed in a car accident. Coco's love of books and altruistic nature were an inspiration to everyone she met. “I was touched by the beauty of that young soul and how much she gave in her short time,” said Harrold. “She volunteered with homeless programs, animal shelters and did environmental restoration work in her community. I wanted to honor her spirit in some way.” You can learn more about Coco through the family foundation- www.livelikecoco.org
"A Little Free Library connects people," said Joanna. "Whether they know the connection exists or not, people are sharing a book when they take one and when they leave one. This was the perfect project for Flockworks because we’re all about creating connection through creativity."
Joanna conceived of this project as a way to develop carpentry skills for youth and promote literacy. The project is planning to work with local schools to facilitate the construction of hundreds of LFL structures.
"Ribbons of Hope" at MCC
This mural by Flockworks wraps the reception area, waiting room and hallway for a new facility of the Mendocino Coast Clinic. The center will provide a range of special support for families and children and is planned to open this summer. A related creative outreach project with MCC and others is under development with focus on "Community Well Being".
It just keeps getting better...
Since 2007, Flockworks has been a vital part of arts on the Mendocino Coast, with summer our biggest season. And, as the saying goes, the only real constant is change.
In the past six months Art@OddFellows wrapped up after 10 years and 135 exhibits. We lost our "home" and anchor community project - working with thousands of artists, children and youth as we hosted 14,000 visitors each year to experience an amazing richness and diversity of local arts. Through Art@Oddfellows, we made connections, raised funds, and fostered creativity. It was a hard loss, but mostly I feel truly grateful for having had those ten years to do this work.
And despite this change, our mission to "Connect our Community through Creativity" is flourishing! I hope you'll enjoy these brief notes about some of what we've been up to, post Art@OddFellows!
(L) "The Rhododendron" mural in downtown Fort Bragg; (R) Lia with her husband, Josh accepting the "Beautification Award" from the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Recently, Flockworks Community Artist Lia Wilson, and the Alleyway Arts project, received the "Beautification Award" by the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce. The inaugural project, "The Rhododendron", created by artist @fericdecay (on Instagram) was sponsored by The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and The Community Foundation of Mendocino County. In the past week, the newest mural, "Matsya and the Deluge" by artist Bojh Parker, was approved by the Fort Bragg Planning Commission.
(L) Worry dolls created by the students and (R) Board member and Community Artist, Joanna Wigginton working on a Little Free Library.
Community Bridges, our partnership with the Latino Coalition, Safe Passages and others, brought art projects all yearlong to 350 elementary school students at Fort Bragg's Dana Grey School. Community Artist and Board member, Joanna Wiggington, also provided summer projects at Redwood School for young migrant students and has plans for even more in the 2018-19 school year to address the slashing of support for art in Schools. Joanna is also spearheading the Little Free Libraries for All projects. The first set of "libraries" were started by youth at the Alternative Education Campus in Fort Bragg, while the 3rd year of our SAIL Youth offered art to these 50 + students.
Over 500 children & youth were part of special large scale projects thru the Children's Banner Project. Our Art & Science intern program began as part of our Ocean Upwelling partnership with Noyo Center for Marine Science. We delighted visitors to Mendocino's annual 4th of July Parade, 2018 EarthDay, World Oceans Day, Whale Festival, Art & Science Fair, and more! And Noyo Printworks continues as a creative home for many local print makers.
Fourth of July float that won "Most Creative" in Mendocino's parade.
This has been a challenging year of change as a leader of Flockworks; however, being named Arts Champion of the Year! by the Arts Council of Mendocino and County Board of Supervisors was a real honor that brought the past decade to a sweet close. Now my excitement is in looking ahead as we shape a new decade of creative community with our energetic and capable Board of Directors, led by Erica Harrold. I hope you'll continue to follow Flockworks through our newsletter, our NEW website, our Facebook Page and Instagram feed! And, finally, I ask you to join us with your time and financial investment! Your support is more important than ever.
As I head off to a week-long Music Camp (yes, stand-up bass and singing are creative pursuits in addition to my love of colors!) I send you best wishes for a wonderful and creative summer!
My warm regards,
Executive Director &
Flockworks Community Artist
Chamber Awards Alleyway Art!
For this year's annual award dinner, the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center awarded the Alleyway Art Project with the "Beautification/Preservation Award".
It was a sweet evening of old friends and new friends. We're feeling so much gratitude to live in this generous and vibrant community on the coast. <3
Appreciation to The Community Foundation of Mendocino County for believing in this project and non-profit partner, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens for working with us on the inaugural mural.
More art to come!!
The Rhododendron: Pink Delight sponsored by the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
What: Unveiling of the first Alleyway Art Project – The Rhododendron: Pink Delight with live music, food and blossom giveaways!
Who: Flockworks, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Community Foundation of Mendocino County, American Rhododendron Society: Noyo Chapter
When: Friday, May 25 (6pm – 8pm)
Where: 300 N. Main Street – back lot (Coast Hardware & Radio Shack parking lot)
Join us for The Alleyway Art Project’s (AAP) first completed mural. The AAP is a Flockworks'
Community Art project matching local artists with local organizations or businesses to create art installations with QR codes (links readable by mobile phones) to a website with information about each installation, the artist, co-sponsors, the inspiration, and any history or fun facts that relate to the design. The Rhododendron was designed by local artist Ferric Decay and was sponsored by The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Live band The Hot Club of Comptche will be playing Gypsy swing music. Guests will get a sneak peek at other murals proposed in the art corridor and there will be food and drink.
Closings & Openings
The End of Odd Fellows Art Exhibits
Amazing ... For over a decade, Art@OddFellows series featured unique exhibits each month of local arts presented by local artists. Over 2,000 adults and thousands of local children & young people have been part of the series. As many as 14,000 visitors each year enjoyed the shows and over $600,000 in sales meant local art found its way into homes near and far. Funds have been raised for local concerns like Otsuchi Recovery, raising local food, ocean issues, children's needs and much, much more. With music, poetry, writing, dance, and film, we've woven collaborations with visual arts over the years.
It all began by asking to borrow the space for one show...
Thanks to the generosity of the owner, historic Odd Fellows hall, built in 1878, has been a magnificent community gathering place for all this! Now the owner's interest to sell means Art@OddFellows wrapped in February 2018 with a final show called "Creative Voices". With over 300 markers, age 5 to 7, the exuberance of children's papermache masks and team paintings, combined with the Women's March in placards & photos, stunning Harvest Coats of Susan B. Wood and special Flockworks new projects. These diverse "voices" were a perfect ending, reflecting our dedication to creative community.
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