WORLD POETRY DAY celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.
Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.
Yesterday, I received two poems, from two friends who struggled to find the words.
I share their poems today, in observance of WORLD POETRY DAY.
Pools of Red
Gunshots pierced the air,
then landed in bodies
of mostly Asian women
working at the spa.
One by one, the women
Crumpled to the floor,
which colored crimson.
Moist fresh blood.
Pools of red.
No more plasma.
No more lifeblood.
To take a breath.
Killer shot them because
of his alleged sex addiction.
They were Asian women.
Targets in my homeland.
Open season it appears,
to spit at, to harass, to tackle,
I am Asian (american) woman.
FLO OY WONG
March 20, 2021
They’d Done Them Wrong
Six sisters linked not by birth, but death.
they were reared under the wrong signs
wrong place or time. Maybe that
the parents were at fault.
Of a skin color of the wrong choice.
Born with it. Some men didn’t care
why would they? Money
gave pleasure to their flesh.
No one wants to be down low
And miserable. I use to think
only women understand pain
like they each other could feel.
I shed a tear, and die inside.
Who dealt them the wrong deck of cards?
Money, skin, sin, and all those righteous themes.
All the wrong reasons for a killing spree.
March 20, 2021
On the occasion of World Poetry Day 2021, Director-General AUDREY AZOULAY of UNESCO writes, “Poetry lies at the heart of who we are as women and men, living together today, drawing on the heritage of past generations, custodians of the world for our children and grandchildren.”
Deepest gratitude to Flo Oy Wong and Victor Yan for sharing their poetry and friendship.
Stop AAPI Hate
Our communities stand united against racism. Hate against Asian American Pacific Islander communities has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on March 19, 2020. The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to report an incident at our website. The reporting form is available in 11 languages. Reporting incidents helps us understand what is happening and guides us in developing policies to advocate for.
In normal times, today is the day that we would be delivering the Blake Mini Library book donations to be enjoyed by the young readers in celebration ofRead Across America Day. But as you know, the times are anything but normal.
Thanks to Christina and the fantastic team at Hamilton Families, we were able to find a way to help fill a need. The shelter was in need of Spanish language books.
We are happy to report that thanks to the generosity of community. We received the email this afternoon from First Book confirming that our shipment of 100 Spanish Language children’s books is on its way! We would like to offer our deepest thanks to the following individuals for their generous support of the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive.
Young Wong Tony Fong Patrick Wu Dennis Austria Noel Santos Sam Hom Victor Yan Alan Hom Dennis Dong Andy Kwong Loangle Newsome Karl Chan Jill Haw Karin Rylander Frank Bravo Olga Kiselev Kim Altamero
Felicia Westphal Frank Obi Gurneet Kaur Edgar Cardenas Brentyn Carder Chris Wong Aida Austria Tony Miranda Jun Merced Mao Elma Noel Asiatico Jerry Poblador Stephen Macasero Paul Campbell Dori Garcia Campbell Teresa Proano & Family Ruby Roque Quan
Theng Mangabat Ryan & Michelle Wong Cindy Castronovo Jon Wong Jelin Hoh Airene Austria Joey Jao Emmanuel Alan Merced Aldrin Austria Todd Fong Debbie Fong Jan Willemse Jamie Willemse Olivia Hicks Charles & Nuria Higueras Alex Higueras
¿Cómo usas tu voz? (How do you use your voice?)
In celebration of Read Across America Day, we started working on a new project – a way to safely celebrate reading together. Today, we are inviting friends to help to record a short reading from Sonia Sotomayor’s wonderfully story for young children, in both Spanish (¡Solo Pregunta!) and English (Just Ask!).
If you would like to help to record either the Spanish or English Language text for one of the characters in the book, please reach out and let us know that you would like to help by recording a reading for this special Read Across America Day project.
Readers are using the voice memo app on their phones or downloading a free app such as Audacity to record their readings in a quiet spot. Once we receive all of the audio files, the individual readings will be used to create one community read aloud file which we will share with the shelter.
A big thank you to our community of read aloud volunteers:
Alec Hawley, Antigone Trimis, Audrey Pasillas, Charles Higueras, Charlton Lee, Joanie Juster, Kathryn Bates, Linda Higueras, Maggy Frias, Mara Grimes, Maribel Pasillas, Miriam Magaña, Norma Rodriguez, Nuria Higueras, Pat Zamora, Rosa Rodriguez Perry and Tara Cartegena.
If you are interested in joining this project, we are keeping track of the people who have volunteered to read HERE, where you can see which characters are spoken for so far.
If you know of anyone who would really enjoy reading for this project, please invite them to join us for Read Across America Day. We welcome and celebrate community participation!
“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Every year, since 2016 when the small rainbow-colored librarywas first built and donated by San Francisco school children to the homeless shelter, ArtsEd4All has hosted the annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive benefitting the Hamilton Families. Our connection to this philanthropic effort began in 2014, after reading a story about a 6-year old boy in New York City named Blake Ansari who began a book drive with the support of his family and friends. Our annual Blake Mini Library book drive in San Francisco is typically held from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Valentine’s Day, with delivery to the shelter taking place on Read Across America Day. The project presents an opportunity for people of all ages to work together to share a love of reading through small acts of kindness that also encourage and support the philanthropic efforts of school children.
The 2020 Blake Mini Library Book Drivewas one of the last in-person events of 2020 where we were able to work with children, prior to the closing of San Francisco public schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, thanks to the efforts of students and community at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, we delivered 800 books with handwritten notes of encouragement to the shelter in March.
2020 was a year unlike any other, and we knew that it would be highly unlikely that we would be able to host the book drive as we usually do this year in 2021. We explored alternatives, such as direct purchase and shipment of books, but soon learned from the shelter that there are additional issues of capacity and storage to consider for organizations operating under these challenging present conditions.
¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!
This year: A new challenge for the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive
In searching for a way to best help with pressing needs, we learned that there is a shortage of Spanish language books for children at the shelter. After confirming the shelter’s storage capacity, we are happy to share that we will be able to support the children at Hamilton Families with a Spanish language book drive.
For the Shelter:
0-3y= 20 books
3-5y= 20 books
For Transitional Housing:
0-3y= 20 books
3-5y= 20 books
We seek 49 sponsors who will pledge to donate $5 each towards the purchase Spanish language books for the children at the Hamilton Families.
After pricing the costs for an order of 100 Spanish Language children’s books from First Book, we have come up with this modest, but meaningful goal. While we are unable to work directly with children this year in support of their acts of kindness, we hope to continue supporting these efforts again in the future. We welcome your participation in this year’s Blake Mini Library Book Drive and thank you for sharing your love of reading with the children at Hamilton Families.
Over the years, the ArtsEd4All crew has enjoyed supporting Sunday Streetsevents. We really get excited about Poetry and All Things Slow, and are always happy to contribute some Cheap Art. Special thanks to Joanie Juster for the connection and to Alec Hawley for the invitation to participate in the Slow Street Art Hunt! The Slow Streets event is also fun lead in to Total SF Movie Night #8 – a virtual screening of Always Be My Maybe, so be sure to grab some popcorn-to-go to enjoy with the film at home.
Ride N’ Roll Slow Street Art Hunt
We are looking forward to the Ride N’ Roll Slow Street Art Hunt on Saturday, February 13 in the Richmond District. The event will start at 1 pm at Green Apple Books with poetry by Mark J. Mitchell and end with Norton the It’s It at the Balboa Theater at 3pm. Come out and support local businesses and participate in an art hunt highlighting artwork and poetry. You will have a great time, come rain or shine!
Slow Art Hunt: A4All Memory Cards
For the Slow Art Hunt, we have created a set of twelve cards that are inspired by the places in the Richmond District that we love.
Each ArtsEd4All notecard features art and poetry that is inspired by the Slow Streets Art movement in the Richmond District. The cards share stories and and things that we have learned as we have explored the neighborhood over the years.
We are really grateful that this event gave us an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful times spent in the Richmond District. We are excited to share some love for our favorite places — Argonne Community Garden, Balboa Theater, C: Landing Arts, California Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum, E.Y. Lee Kung Fu School, Four Star Theatre with pre-film dim sum and post-film noodle houses, Healing Arts Studio, Internet Archive, Japanese Tea Gardens, Land’s End, Mountain Lake, Ocean Beach, Presidio Middle School and the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.
Look on the back of each card for a QR code that launches to a poetry reading, a song or a film. Scan the QR code with a code reader app or use your iPhone camera to access this special content.
If you find one of our art memory cards inside a pre-stamped envelope on Slow Streets, we hope that you will enjoy the art, poems and our memories of good times in the Richmond District. When you are ready, please use the card to send love and poetry to a friend.
The ArtsEd4All crew of contributors to this project include Andi Wong, Flo Oy Wong, Janice Fong, Judy Toupin, Mara Grimes, Mary Ann Cruz, Norma Diana Rodriguez, Victor Yan, featuring audio contributions by the 4th grade poets at Diane Feinstein Elementary and the Del Sol String Quartet, Brenda Wong Aoki of First Voice, and Blake Ansari and the Open Library readers at the Internet Archive.
“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can transform one million realities.” — Maya Angelou
Since 2016, ArtsEd4All has organized an annual book drive for the Blake Mini Library in the Hamilton Families shelter. School children are invited to help fill the rainbow-colored shelves from MLK Day of Service through Valentine’s Day. With our first book drive, we started a tradition of writing and hiding “Notes of Encouragement.”Book donors and children were invited to contribute special surprise messages that were hidden inside the books to be discovered by a future reader. The reading and writing of these notes helped create a special bond between two people who might never ever meet — the donor and the recipient. Over the years, lovely notes of encouragement have been written at special author signings at Green Apple Books.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, space and capacity at the shelter is a concern, and school is not in session, so we will not be able to have the book drive as usual this year. Sharing these Memory Cards on Slow Streets helps us to hold onto this ritual of kindness in a time of change.
However, Hamilton Families confirmed that we can be a great help with a Spanish language children’s book drive for the shelter and Transitional Housing Program. Please get in touch, if you would like to recommend Spanish Language book titles or you are interested in purchasing a book.
Here’s a book that we’d really like to include in this year’s delivery:
“From the cities, villages, and farms of their birth, they journeyed across the Pacific, seeking better lives for themselves and their children. Many arrived at Angel Island, weary but hopeful, only to be unjustly confined for months or, in some cases, years. As we remember their struggle, we honor all who have been drawn to America by dreams of limitless opportunity.
Unlike immigrants who marveled at the Statue of Liberty upon arrival at Ellis Island, those who came to Angel Island were greeted by an intake facility that was sometimes called the “Guardian of the Western Gate.” Racially prejudiced immigration laws of the time subjected many to rigorous exams and interrogations, as well as detention in crowded, unsanitary barracks. Some expressed themselves by carving poetry and inscriptions into the walls in their native language — from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Russian, German, and Urdu. These etchings remain on Angel Island today as poignant reminders of the immigrant experience and an unjust time in our history.
If there is any vindication for the Angel Island immigrants who endured so many hardships, it is the success achieved by those who were allowed entry, and the many who, at long last, gained citizenship. They have contributed immeasurably to our Nation as leaders in every sector of American life. The children of Angel Island have seized the opportunities their ancestors saw from across an ocean. By demonstrating that all things are possible in America, this vibrant community has created a beacon of hope for future generations of immigrants.”
The History That We Stand On, and The Future We Stand For
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet, at age twenty-two, to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. She was invited to write a poem inspired by the theme, “America United.” Amanda wanted to write about a new chapter in our country, while acknowledging the dark chapter in American history that we are living through. “Now more than ever, the United States needs an inaugural poem,” Gorman said. “Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.”
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover and every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful will emerge, battered and beautiful When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid The new dawn blooms as we free it For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it If only we’re brave enough to be it
In response to the Inauguration Day, poet Flo Oy Wong wrote this new poem, inspired by Amanda Gorman, America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, and Kamala Harris, the first woman, as well as the first African American and first Asian American, to serve as Vice President of the United States. Kamala means“lotus flower”in Sanskrit.
As a Petal of Hope Takes Shape
In brackish water, hope emerges from a cracked seed like the lotus. In search of light, hope wends itself, stretches towards illumination, waits to dance with dreams. As a petal of hope takes shape it tastes like delectable kindness. It smells sweet like heartfelt compassion. It feels like golden silk stitched to goodness of humankind.
FLO OY WONG, January 5 – 19, 2021
The world premiere performance of Huang Ruo’s “Your Wall is Our Canvas: The Angel Island” with The Del Sol String Quartet is currently planned for October 2021 on Angel Island.
HEALDSBURG JAZZ is proud to present a FREE family concert titled “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children” on the birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Friday, January 15 at 7-8 pm PST and again on Saturday, January 16 at 12-1 pm PST.
The concert is a 1-hour music and spoken word performance inspired by and dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights Movement, presented in collaboration with Stanford‘s King Research & Education Institute, led by Professor Clayborne Carson who was selected in 1985 by Coretta Scott King to edit and publish the papers of her late husband.
Artistic Director of Healdsburg Jazz Festival Marcus Shelby has put together a wonderful lineup of performers for the virtual program — vocalists Kim Nalley and Tiffany Austin, Tammy Hall on piano, Genius Wesley on drums, with Healdsburg Jazz Poet Laureate Enid Pickett and youth poet Selma Arapa. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children” was filmed at The Sound Room in Oakland, CA, directed by filmmaker Kevin Johnson.
For Educators, Families, Students: Healdsburg Jazz has also created free downloadable resources, including an independent study guide and fact sheet, a timeline, a playlist of songs, a playlist of speeches, and suggested books and poems about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights era.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on The Soul of The Movement
“An important part of the mass meetings was the freedom songs. In a sense the freedom songs are THE SOUL OF THE MOVEMENT.
They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign; they are as old as the history of the Negro in America. They are adaptations of songs the slaves sang-the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns, and the anthems of our movement. I have heard people talk of their beat and rhythm, but we in the movement are as inspired by their words. “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom” is a sentence that needs no music to make its point. We sing the freedom songs for the same reason the slaves sang them, because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that “We shall overcome, Black and white together, we shall overcome someday.” These songs bound us together, gave us courage together, helped us march together. We could walk toward any Gestapo force. We had cosmic companionship, for we were singing, “Come By Me, Lord, Come By Me.”
With this music, a rich heritage from our ancestors who had the stamina and the moral fiber to be able to find beauty in broken fragments of music, whose illiterate minds were able to compose eloquently simple expressions of faith and hope and idealism, we can articulate our deepest groans and passionate yearnings-and end always on a note of hope that God is going to help us work it out, right here in the South where evil stalks the life of a Negro from the time he is placed in his cradle. Through this music, the Negro is able to dip down into wells of a deeply pessimistic situation and danger-fraught circumstances and to bring forth a marvelous, sparkling, fluid optimism. He knows it is still dark in his world, but somehow, he finds a ray of light.”
“FIGURES OF DISCORD SPRING FROM SOUL, reminding us that neither artist nor citizen nor believer ought ever concede their truth in the face of rule or custom…
Ralph Ellison famously claimed for Black music power to curve mind and sense, helping the willing listener to see around corners. Jim Crow, Klan violence, government vacillation and the persistence of war and poverty successively placed hard-angled obstacles before the Movement, demanding an arc of vision that called upon the utmost of imagination and love. The genius of Marcus Shelby, composer, performer, student and citizen, is to teach through artistry, so that we might bend our own sight, and make the worlds we seek to live for.”
— DR. ADAM GREEN, University of Chicago on Marcus Shelby’s Soul of The Movement (2011)
Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a 12 part musical suite that honors the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others who marched and protested for freedom. After 3 years of research, artist residencies, and traveling throughout the south Marcus Shelby composed and orchestrated the music for “Soul of the Movement” for his 15 piece big band orchestra with guest vocalists Faye Carol, Kenny Washington, and Jeannine Anderson and guest instrumentalists Howard Wiley (soprano and tenor sax), Matt Clark (B3 Organ), and Sistah Kee (piano). Soul of the Movement was released in 2011 and has become part of school presentations in and around the San Francisco Bay Area on an annual basis.
Start the New Year with a holiday journey that can be shared with friends and loved ones anywhere in the world.
Arts educator, theater director and dramaturg Antigone Trimis shares her thoughts about Vanaver Caravan & Arm of the Sea Theater‘s online theatrical event, Into the Light: A Tale of Hope, which is available for the public to view online through the month of January.
Peter Schumann, founder of the Bread & Puppet Theatre is known for saying: “Art is food. You can’t eat it, but it feeds you.” I chose to reference Bread & Puppet because I had the great pleasure of experiencing just this, the nourishment of art on the longest night of a long dark year.
Winter Solstice somehow had extra weight this time around and its observance led me on an online journey discovering poetry, music and dances from around the world that filled me with hope. The excitement around the visibility of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn added to the winds of hope that I felt despite the continued escalation of the Covid cases in California and beyond.
The journey began with an invitation to watch the online performance of Into the Light, a collaborative production by the Vanaver Caravan and Arm of the Sea Theater, companies that have been creating work since the 70s and 80s fostering cultural understanding; the first through world music and dance the second through soft mask and puppet theater.
Vanaver Caravan & Arm of the Sea Theater’s Into The Light: A Tale of Hope
The production performed by the Youth Company of the Vanaver Caravan was inspiring to watch, not only because I delighted in the story, the dances and the theatricality of the production, but also because it was rehearsed and produced during a pandemic. According to the program notes, all precautions were taken to keep everyone safe, making it possible for these young people to express themselves and share space with their peers. All this during a time that was metaphorically mirroring the story of Into the Light, a “fairytale-like story” that follows a young girl as she struggles to find joy and hope in a winter with no sunlight.
The piece first premiered in 2007 and was conceived by Patrick Wadden, Livia Vanaver, Miranda ten Broeke and Isabel Cottingham. The 2020 version of the show was rechoreographed and filmed as a social dis(DANCE) virtual performance and masks were central to the production. Not only because of the giant puppets that have always been a part of the show, but because of the face masks worn to keep everyone safe due to the pandemic. The creators took extra precautions filming with doors and windows open in the theatre space, and filmed dances in the open air as well. The young dancers were also given an opportunity to experience not only an internal and communal journey, but empathized with fellow humans around the globe who are all experiencing these dark times. From the program notes: “…as we filmed this year’s masked journey around the globe, we were humbly reminded that everyone, everywhere, is in the same position. Whether you are celebrating Christmas in Italy, Kwanzaa in Brooklyn, or Sankta Lucia in Sweden, people everywhere are wearing masks to keep each other safe.”
These young dancers were given an extra challenge to express themselves not only through movement, but also through their eyes. And it is true that they managed to “smile through [their] eyes and shine [their] light from [their] bodies.” They were able to do this through the added obstacle of sharing their light across the computer screen and this is why I am sharing the performance with you here to experience this beautiful journey from darkness to light with your family during the holiday break.
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” was what I hummed to myself during a dark and gray week during which human beings around the world found ways to connect and be reminded that the light is always shining even in the darkest of days.
Over 30 years ago, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, reached out to The Vanaver Caravan’s founders, Bill and Livia Vanaver with an idea to bring their diverse and expansive dance encyclopedia into schools.
The Vanaver Caravan is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1972 by Artistic Directors, Livia and Bill Vanaver. The internationally renowned company continues its mission to foster cultural understanding through an interplay of world dance, music and song. The Vanaver Caravan offers concerts, classes, workshops and art education programs.
Dance is life and young ones have an opportunity to explore creative movement and choreography. Older dancers can experiment with percussive movement, Hip-Hop and Afro Caribbean and swing and the whole family has a chance to dance together as well! https://vanavercaravan.org/registration/winterdance
Arm of the Sea Theater fuses visual storytelling with live music in contemporary works of mask and puppet theater. Founded in 1982 by Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden, the company tours original shows throughout the eastern US, conducts community based artist residency projects and host their annual outdoor spectacle, The Esopus Creek Puppet Suiteeach summer in Saugerties, NY.
In celebration of World Kindness Day, we would like to share some holiday gift ideas, inspired by our ArtsEd4All family.
Our post-screening community conversation on October 24th inspired us to offer another dose of THE ANTIDOTE. This time, we are sharing some new stories and Simple Gifts from our ArtsEd4All family. It is our hope that the film will inspire others to put their own creative ideas into action, or even better – offer your support to someone else who can use a helping hand. Start small and put your whole hands, heart and mind into whatever you choose to do. Thanks for joining us. We wish you love, kindness and creativity this holiday season!
#1: SHARING LOVE, ART & KINDNESS — “YOU ARE LOVED”
It’s always special to receive a surprise package in the mail. Andi’s day was brightened when she opened the box to find a beautifully radiant painting, “You Are Loved,” from artist Crystal Vielula inside. Crystal’s thoughtful gift of art is especially special and precious to Andi because of the special story behind the painting. If you would enjoy supporting an artist’s campaign of kindness, Crystal is holding a “YOU ARE LOVED” print sale. 100% of the profits will be donated to Black and Queer Groceries, a mutual aid organization that is delivering groceries to black and queer people in need in the Bay Area. Visit Crystal’s website for more info: https://www.crystalvielula.com/you-are-loved-print-pre-sale.html.
#2: KNIT TOGETHER — HELP STANDING ROCK STAY WARM IN WINTER
Winter has arrived, and the weather is turning cold. So when Gail shared that the Auntie Sewing Squad was organizing a Warm Coat and Extreme Cold Gear Drive for Standing Rock and Black Hills, we visited their website to see how to help. ArtsEd4All enjoys a great knitting project, so pull out your circular looms, it’s time to make some woolen beanies! Join the Aunties and help protect our friends at Standing Rock and those living on ancestral homeland in the Black Hills who are facing below zero temperatures this winter. When you are ready to send your items, check the Auntie Sewing Squad website for mailing addresses and visit Native-Land.ca, a website dedicated to helping people across the world learn more about their local Indigenous history. DIY TUTORIAL: How to loom knit a hat (super easy for beginners) https://youtu.be/BonWux0A2yM
#3: REMEMBER TO LOOK UP — WALKING “UNDER ONE SKY”
A trio of friends – Flo, Andi and Mara – first began walking together “Under One Sky” back in July with The 2020 Global Slow Marathon, a global art project launched in Scotland with artist Iman Tajik asking the question, “What is Solidarity?” The Slow Marathon is done, but The Skywalker FAM is still walking, lifting eyes and cameras to the skies with gratitude for each beautiful day of blue. Like the shape-shifting clouds that we observe daily, The Skywalker FAM collective photo album is ever-changing. Some days, a photo appears with a poem or a song, and we always welcome new members into the family. Please send your sky pics to firstname.lastname@example.org.
#4: GO GREEN — “SUCCULENT CITY”
Make your garden grow! One of the most beautiful visions realized during our time at The Studio at Mayeda was giving children a bit of Earth to call their own. With resourcefulness and care, the students were able to establish a small container garden of fruits & vegetables and succulents on the school’s rooftop. Have you ever saved and sprouted the seeds from your apple at lunch? Or tried to propagate succulents from a leaf or a cutting? Growing something of your own easy and fun. With some added research into the native plants in your area, you will get to know your neighbors – the birds, bees, butterflies – as Norma did when she helped to create a pollinator garden for PAWS (Pets Art Wonderful Support). Who knows, as your garden grows, you might even make a new friend who love trees as much as you do!
#5: FEED A NEED — BAKE SOME DOUGH
Whether you are making dough for bread or for art, there are so many wonderful ways to get creative with just a little flour, salt and water, and it’s easy to make a little bit extra to share. Our friends Joanie & Markknow that a good bake can go a long way. While Mark has been treating listeners to readings from Roshi, his new book of poems inspired by San Francisco, Joanie has been making her own kind of music in the kitchen, Their lucky friends have enjoyed the gift of her tasty zucchini loaf, garlic onion foccaccia and a festive holiday assortment of #PoetryAndCookies. Over the years, ArtsEd4All has kept Ruth Asawa’s bakers clay recipe handy, making loads of dough for holiday keepsakes and collaborative art pieces with generations of school children. Resourceful makers in San Francisco go to the Scroungers Center for Re-Usable Art Partsaka SCRAP, the non-profit creative reuse center founded in 1976 by Ruth Asawa & Anna Marie Theilen, two resourceful women who knew how to make their materials go a long way. You can support SCRAP by attending Ruth Asawa: Through the Eyes of Her Children, a virtual conversation about the legacy and impact of the renowned San Francisco-based artist, on November 19, 7-8pm PST. Mention SCRAP when you donate items to the Community Thrift Store in San Francisco, and SCRAP will receive a monetary donation.
#6: WASTE NOT, WANT NOT — SEW A “MAGIC BAG”
Kamilla, a former student recently reached out, wondering if we might be able to share the instructions for how to sew a “magic bag.” When she was in middle school, Kamilla and her friends all learned how to sew these cloth bags with Ms. Toupin at The Studio at Mayeda, in order to reduce the use of plastic bags at school. Ms. Toupin was thrilled to hear Kamilla’s special request and worked up the instructions for anyone who might enjoy a crafty way to cut down their plastic use. Try making your own to give out as gifts to friends. Instructions for Ms. Toupin’s DIY Magic Bag: https://archive.org/details/ms-toupin-diy-magic-bag/mode/2up
#7: SPREAD JOY — THE DEL SOL STRING QUARTET & THE JOY PROJECT
Music is good medicine that can spread joy, build human connections and bring us out into nature —The Del Sol String Quartet is bringing THE JOY PROJECT, free concerts in public settings around the Bay Area, where people can enjoy the music while safely practicing social distancing in the open air. Del Sol has commissioned a body of very short pieces written to give joy, by composers ranging from classical- music lions to young students and non-classical figures. Legendary composer Terry Riley responded with the rainbow arrow that has become the project logo. Join Del Sol’s “Joy list” for the latest information regarding locations and times to hear Del Sol play.
#8: DO YOUR DANCE — THE “FAM DANCE JAM”
We all try to do our best to get out an exercise, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up with a fun alternative. When artist/poet Flo Oy Wong turned 82, she told her friends Mara and Andi that she really wanted to celebrate with a dance party. We have such fond memories of celebrating Flo’s 75th Birthday with dancing in the street in 2013. This time, we made Flo a special 2020 Birthday Dance Megamix and set a date on Zoom. We boogied for twenty minutes non-stop and had such a good time that we are already planning the next dance party. This time, Flo can’t wait to invite her family to join the JAM. Celebrate good times with the people who make your heart dance! Work off a bit of that holiday meal and savor a slightly bigger slice of pie with your Sistas!
#7: SING OUT — EQUAL JUSTICE SOCIETY “HARRIET TUBMAN”
Steve Porter the artist works big. His mural projects seem to grow exponentially with each new attempt… 48’… 88’… Steve’s newest project is around 145 feet long! Sometimes, Steve lets his imagination run wild, working for days on end, before inviting the public to add the color as they did on “One Spring Day.” But while working in the schools in Shreveport, Louisiana, Steve Porter the art teacher set his sights on an even bigger challenge — How to involve all the children who had not previously had the chance to participate? With the support of teachers and paraprofessionals, the children shared their talents when they created the 360′ long “This Ability” Mural. Steve says, “I believe that we all have the ability to make a positive difference in a child’s life. When given the opportunity to do something, then do it — advocate for, speak for, and fight for those that are so often overlooked.”
#11: SHARE YOUR STORY — “BLAKE MINI LIBRARY”
In 2016, young Blake Ansari constructed and donated a rainbow-colored mini-library to the students at Rooftop School who, in turn, assembled and donated the library to the Hamilton Families shelter in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. For the past 5 years, ArtsEd4All has hosted the annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive, inviting San Francisco school children to join Blake in his efforts to bring the joy of reading to homeless children. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic will require an alternative approach. This year, please share your love of reading by purchasing a book or two through the ArtsEd4All Bookshop. The Bookshop affiliate program pays a 10% commission on every sale, and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores. All ArtsEd4All Bookshop proceeds from MLK Day to Valentine’s Day will be applied to the purchase of a special delivery of books for the Blake Mini Library at Hamilton Families shelter. Antigone reminds us that we must support our local bookshops and video stores, with her story of kindness, an appreciation of artist Michael McConnell, and Faye’s a tiny, magical local establishment that deserves to stay alive and thrive.
#12: SMILE MORE — “BLUE MIND” & BLUE MARBLE SMILES
“To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo di Vinci.
The Blue Marbles Project set out to pass a blue marble through every (yes, every) person’s hand on earth, along with a simple message of gratitude. This slow-motion global art project is a clear reminder that everything we do on this little blue planet matters. Through art, science and technology, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols is helping people to better understand the true value of water. “J” collaborates with a dedicated network of Blue Mind ambassadors, including Margaret, who is using her tech expertise to show that a smile really can create a ripple effect of kindness. Blue Mind research shows that nature is therapeutic, promotes general health and well-being, and blue space in both urban and rural settings further enhances and broadens cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual benefits. “This deep biological connection has been shown to trigger an immediate response in our brains when we’re near water. In fact, the mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation. Thanks to science, we’re now able to connect the dots to the full range of emotional benefits being on, in, or near the water can bring.” Our mission is clear: see to it that all people understand, have access to and practice Blue Mind wherever they are, because water is medicine for our bodies and minds. Our waters are a gift that we must work together to protect, as we are reminded after this tragic fire season that has upended so many lives, including that of The Nichols Family.
Do you know someone who would like to help to create a groundswell of support for Blue Mind?You can support J on Patreon, and give the gift of Science. Sign up as a patron at any level, starting at $1/month ($12/year).
ArtsEd4All would also like to express our thanks to The Antidote Team for allowing us to share their beautiful and inspiring film, THE ANTIDOTEwith our community.
We hope that you will enjoy sharing this film with friends, family, or any organizations that might be interested the power of kindness, empathy and community. Please feel free to use this invitation HERE.
We also invite you to join ArtsEd4All for a community conversation about sharing SIMPLE GIFTS of creativity and kindness this holiday season on Saturday, November 14that 4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET.
Made in response to the times we are living in, THE ANTIDOTE is a feature documentary that weaves together stories of kindness and decency in America—a choral essay about people who are making intentional choices to lift others up. Directed by Academy Award-nominee, Kahane Cooperman, and six-time Emmy winner, John Hoffman, THE ANTIDOTE aims to drive a national conversation about the roles that kindness, decency, compassion and respect play in a civilized, democratic society.