Antelope Valley Art Outpost
is a creative placemaking project that supports regional vitality through innovative, artist-driven projects in the unincorporated communities of Littlerock and Sun Village. In creative placemaking, public, private, nonprofit and community sectors partner to strategically shape the physical and social character of a place by leveraging creative assets to support community development. Managed by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the project is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council with support from Metabolic Studio. Otis College of Art and Design's MFA Public Practice program is one of the Commission’s partners.
Alumnus Daniel French (MFA Public Practice ’14) recently participated in the project’s Open Conversation No.3, in which he performed in the band Las Cafeteras for Littlerock High School. The visiting artist group taught students how to tell their stories through a workshop led by members of Las Cafeteras.
The Antelope Valley Press published an article on their lesson. Here is an excerpt:
French, a poet, playwright and storyteller, asked the students what happens when someone else tells your story, or when you’re silent and you don’t speak up.
“If you don’t tell your story, someone else is going to tell it for you…If you don’t write your own story, then you’re waiting for someone to miswrite it for you,” French said.
French led the students through an exercise to help them write their own stories. After pen and paper were passed out he encouraged the teens to write without stopping, not paying attention to what they wrote but to keep going until he said stop.
He then gave some writing prompts to help the students. Each prompts led to more prompts until after about 30 minutes the students had a story. They read it to their neighbors at the same time with loud voices, and then again in a softer voice as members of Las Cafeteras played music in the background.