Sam and friends gave neighborhood children a tour of his 1951 Spartan trailer during the Valle del Oro Neighborhood Festival, held May 6th at an apartment complex near Cal Arts. The festival was a chance to highlight the art work of children, age 6-14, who participate in the NOMAD Lab Art Project. Trailer Trash partners with the NOMADS, using art to explore the importance of home and community.
In a public art class (a.k.a. “lab”) the children made signs that expressed what they felt were the necessary ingredients for safe neighborhoods and happy homes. Then they held up their signs around the outdoor areas of their apartment complex and to the street running along the complex.
In another lab, NOMADS designed furniture for the inside of Sam’s trailer and advised how to make it a welcoming place for kids.
Artist and teacher Evelyn Serrano directs the volunteer-run NOMAD Lab with help from CalArts students and others. The City of Santa Clarita is one of the project’s boosters; they say programs like this one can go a long way to reduce gang and drug related violence in at-risk neighborhoods.
Hope Horner, Community Services Administrator for the City of Santa Clarita, said she is a proud NOMAD supporter:
“NOMAD gives [the children] an opportunity to discover they are good at something and gives them a chance to show it off. This is life-changing and inspiring! We believe it makes a HUGE difference in the neighborhood and will continue to facilitate positive change.”
In an email thanking the project’s teachers and helpers, Evelyn Serrano described how happy she and the children were to showcase their art (music, drawing, story-telling and photography) at the community festival:
I was at the verge of tears more than once during the festival. I was just so very proud of the young people and of the work we have accomplished this year. I can’t tell you how many of them came to me pleading that we have class THIS Saturday, that they can’t wait till September…
They have made friends in the program, they have become advocates of the program and understand the importance of it.
The girls shocked me with their impromptu speeches [saying
why they like the NOMAD Project]. How proud I was! To see them exercise their collective and individual voices with power and fearlessness. How energized I felt after witnessing them. And seeing the boys so proud of their work (and rightly so).
My best wishes for an extraordinary summer.
Lots of love, Evelyn