Thursday, May 7, 2009
A conversation about strategies for civic engagement
Big City Forum 4
Tuesday, May 19th from 7 - 9 pm (check-in and refreshments 6:30 pm).
727 south spring street
downtown los angeles, ca 90014
213 627 9563
Public Matters and James Rojas
Public Matters generates innovative, artistic, place-based projects that build creative, civic and social capital in communities. Our projects develop creative community leaders. We engage residents in the creation of media-based neighborhood narratives that illuminate its history, character and conditions and integrate the results with broader civic processes, advocacy efforts and community initiatives. Our work addresses social issues through long-term educational projects. Our interdisciplinary approach is creative and analytical, left-brained and right-brained. We establish long-term sustainable programs that evolve beyond our initial involvement and are ultimately shaped by the community and its needs.
Mike Blockstein, Pr incipal, is a visual artist and educator working in cross-disciplinary community-based public art projects that utilize a sense of place as a mechanism to address social, cultural and built environments. Connecting artistic processes, leadership development and civic engagement, he has created and led projects nationally with youth, community development and arts organizations. Among his projects is A Chinatown Banquet, a nationally recognized art, education, and leadership development project about Boston Chinatown in conjunction with the Asian Community Development Corporation. The former Executive Director of Southern Exposure, a San Francisco nonprofit artists organization, and a former Board President of the National Association of Artists' Organizations (NAAO), Mike holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Reanne Estrada is an internationally exhibiting visual artist whose diverse practice includes installation, performance, video and public art. She worked for nine years as an educator and in cause-related marketing, design, and curatorial programming at Creative Growth Art Center, an internationally recognized studio and gallery for artists with disabilities. Her public art projects emphasize a collaborative approach and focus on community narratives in Asian American communities. Reanne has an A.B. in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University.
James Rojas is an urban planner, community activist, and artist. He is one of the few nationally recognized urban planners to examine U.S. Latino cultural influences on urban planning/design. He holds a Master of City Planning and a Master of Science of Architecture Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His influential thesis on the Latino built environment has been widely cited. Growing out of his research, Mr. Rojas founded the Latino Urban Forum (LUF), a volunteer advocacy group, dedicated to understanding and improving the built environment of Los Angeles' Latino communities.
Design Based Urban Planning (DBUP) is a new initiative developed by James Rojas designed to engage underserved communities and children in the planning process. DBUP breaks down the planning process into simple terms and helps participants translate conceptual planning ideas into physical forms. DBUP serves as a valuable tool to inform and educate constituents about the value of planning through two primary methods.