Santa Monica Mountains AIR, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
As artist-in-residence at the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, I designed a series of field trips and activities to connect youth to nature. The group, made up of youth aged 10-13 years from Mar Vista Boys and Girls Club, took three trips to natural areas within the Santa Monica Mountains wilderness: Rancho Sierra Vista, Leo Carillo, and the LA River. Youth learned photography and solar printmaking techniques, journaled about their sense of home and nature, and considered questions of ecological stewardship. NPS Rangers worked with the group on guided hikes while sharing scientific and historical information with the youth. At the end of the two-month summer program, everyone worked together to produce a collective sculpture, a solar printing workshop, and public reception.
The final sculpture, a representation of a Tongva Indian “Ki’i” dome, was inspired by local history of the Ballona wetlands and its earliest inhabitants. The Ki’i is a hut for gathering, usually made from willow and woven tulle. This sculptural form embodied the cohesion of elements and a multi-layered group process for local youth to connect more deeply to their natural surroundings, each other, and themselves.