What started as an imaginary art walk and community discussion in December 2018 has evolved into a series of community supported art walks in the same space. Thanks to the support and partnership of San Bernardino Generation Now, these events are built around the needs and voices of the local arts community. We strive to make a space for community-building, dialogue and joy.
Local musicians are invited to play, artists are given space at no charge, and we collaborate with local businesses, including the LIttle Gallery of San Bernardino in order to bring more synergy to the ongoing efforts to create a gathering space in downtown San Bernardino that feels safe, inclusive, and hopeful.
Fallen Fruit’s project with Arts Connection and the County of San Bernardino evolved by working with community members to co-create a living artwork – a new installation of an ongoing Fallen Fruit project called the “Endless Orchard.” The Endless Orchard builds community through expanding public access to fresh fruit. Fallen Fruit San Bernardino’s main installation site is at The Garcia Center for the Arts in the City of San Bernardino where 12 citrus trees were planted along the perimeter, with additional public participatory projects hosted at The Feldheym Library.Fallen Fruit’s project with Arts Connection and the County of San Bernardino evolved by working with community members to co-create a living artwork – a new installation of an ongoing Fallen Fruit project called the “Endless Orchard.” The Endless Orchard builds community through expanding public access to fresh fruit. Fallen Fruit San Bernardino’s main installation site is at The Garcia Center for the Arts in the City of San Bernardino where 12 citrus trees were planted along the perimeter, with additional public participatory projects hosted at The Feldheym Library.
Additional public participatory events were presented at San Bernardino County Museum and included Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana. This is a self-portrait public project using oranges from the historic groves on the museum property. Fruit trees were also adopted to the public to expand the Endless Orchard. The body of works include poetry and collage workshops that creates a zine with everyone who participates (examples seen here at the show) and hand-crafted wooden picnic tables etched with community quotes installed at the Garcia Center. Local artist and printmaker Bob Hurton (aka Uncle Bacon) and Inlandia’s 2018 Poet Laureate, Nikia Chaney, worked with Fallen Fruit and community participants on the creation of the Zine. The Zine is free to download on the Arts Connection website and there are copies on view at this exhibition.
At the 3 public free fruit tree adoption events held in the City of San Bernardino over 75 community members were taught how to plant and care for their new trees. Over 100 adopted trees were then mapped online via Fallen Fruit’s Endless Orchard site. endlessorchard.com allows anyone to map, plant and share their fruit!
With the support of SoCal Gas, we were able to expand this project countywide and install additional public fruit park sites in Victorville, Lake Arrowhead, and Crestline. In November 2018, we planted two permanent public fruit
The California Arts Council, a state agency, announced it plans to award $7,290 to Arts Connection as part of its new Artists Activating Communities program. The City of San Bernardino Fine Arts Commission also awarded Arts Connection funds in the amount of $8100, which acted as a matching grant, making this programming possible.
Artists Activating Communities is a new pilot grant program which supports sustained artistic residencies in community settings, demonstrating the arts to be a central component of civic life, and artists to be vital in shaping society. Artists Activating Communities projects are artist-driven, engage community members as active participants, and activate participants to develop and express their own creativity.
This is the first time the Artists Activating Communities program has been offered. Arts Connection is one of only forty-seven grantees for this highly competitive program, which received applications from eighty-five organizations statewide.
With support from the California Arts Council and matching funds from The San Bernardino City Fine Arts Commission, Arts Connection in collaboration with artist/activist Michael Segura will offer a series of political cartooning workshops for teens and up at the Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino. Workshops will engage participants in discussion around local, regional and national issues, as well as teaching fundamental cartooning techniques and materials. Guest artists, including Phil Yeh, and civic groups will be brought in for additional presentations, and participants will have the opportunity to publish work through the Inland Empire Community Newspaper, a special election issue of Uncle Jam magazine and the Arts Connection website.
“California Arts Council grants support a wide range of projects that are crafted by each community to reflect their values and needs,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. “It is thrilling to see what artists can accomplish when working collaboratively with their communities. An increased state investment in the arts allows us to further spark powerful growth and prosperity in our communities, such as the outstanding work that will result from the deep arts engagement provided by Arts Connection and Michael Segura’s Artists Activating Communities project.”
Arts Connection and Mil-tree have been partnering on projects since early 2015. The first project – Plant to Paper – was multifaceted art project that took place from February through May 2016 involving hikes to pull invasive plants, followed by paper-making, 2D and 3D art and writing workshops, culminating in a formal art exhibition and spoken word performance.
In 2018, Arts Connection helped produce Moving the Memories, a two-day dance workshop with Diavolo Dance. Explore more about this project and the beautiful film about the collective performance that was produced by participants.
A later project called Sanctuary Arts Connection supported as well, but was led entirely by Mil-tree and Morongo Basin artists, volunteers, and community organizations, who raised additional matching funds to build a permanent, sustainably constructed earthbag structure on site at the Joshua Tree Musical Festival. Mil-tree and other organizations continue to use this beautiful space for ceremonies, gatherings and spoken word events that invite all voices of the community to share, reflect and grow together.
In 2018, Arts Connection helped produce “Moving the Memories,” a two-day dance workshop with Diavolo Dance. Explore more about this project and the beautiful film about the collective performance that was produced by participants.
ARTS CONNECTION, MIL-TREE AND DIAVOLO TEAM UP FOR VETERANS’ MOVEMENT WORKSHOP,
In 2018 Arts Connection and Mil-Tree presented “Moving the Memories,” a two-day movement workshop and presentation lead by Diavolo | Architecture in Motion© for veterans, active military and the community. This free workshop was held at the Joshua Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California, and was sponsored in part by grant funding from the California Arts Council’s Veterans Initiative in the Arts (VIA). VIA funded projects look to address the needs and improve the lives of California’s veterans through the arts. The VIA program seeks to increase equity, access, and opportunities for veterans to participate in quality arts programming that is sensitive and responsive to their unique experiences.”
“Moving the Memories,” was equal parts community, creativity and discovery. The two-day workshop used DIAVOLO’s signature style of Architecture in Motion© as a tool to help connect civilians and veterans. A series of unique trust and teamwork exercises, as well as individual expression through voice and text, ignite participants to connect with one another on a deeper level. Once achieved, professional choreographers guided participants into a culminating presentation.
Diavolo began working with veterans in 2016. Their work promotes understanding as a basis for empathy towards our veteran community as an act of public good; it offers audience members a new conceptual understanding of the human dimensions of military service and reintegration as an alternative to current “victim-hero” stereotypes; and provides residency programs in conjunction with the performances, enabling veterans around the country to engage in movement arts.
Mil-Tree is a non-profit organization, founded in response to the need to welcome home our war veterans and embrace them within the larger folds of society.Working in the Morongo Basin, a region that is home to a large active and veteran population, Mil-Tree’s offers a variety of opportunities to support veterans as they re-enter civilian life. Programming includes workshops in the arts — visual, musical, acting, and movement; discussions and readings, hikes and rock climbing — and all things creative and transformational. The core work of Mil-Tree is to provide community support by creating bonds of trust and deep listening.
Arts Connection, saw the call and reached out to Mil-tree, an arts-based, veterans and community organization in Joshua Tree, California with a similar mission. Together, they enlisted the help of numerous other non-profits and developed a project that would offer opportunities for everything from hiking and environmental work, to paper-making, writing and life casting. Together with their partners (including Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert Land Trust, 29 Palms Art Gallery, KVCR, and Radio Free Joshua Tree) they were awarded a $10,000 grant to see their proposal to fruition.
Slated to begin in early 2016 the first phase of the project involved the removal of invasive plants under the leadership of Joshua Tree National Park vegetation management’s team, with support from Mojave Desert Land Trust. Artists Denise Kraemer and Cathy Allen guided participants in transforming the plant material into pulp and paper, and lead subsequent workshops for veterans to develop 2 and 3 dimensional works. Silkscreening was also offered by artist/activist Duan Kellum.
Concurrently, Leilani Squires and Louise Mathias guided prose and poetry workshops beginning in February. The writings were used in 2-dimensional silkscreened works as well as readings.
The project culminated at the end of May 2016 with an exhibition and reading at the 29 Palms Art Gallery, curated by Rhonda Coleman. The show incorporated 2 and 3 dimensional works, performative readings/spoken word, and a reception for the artists and community. Filmmaker Kate McCabe documented the entire journey, beginning with the removal of invasive plants through the making of the artwork and presented her film during the opening reception.
The project was promoted by our partners at KVCR and Radio Free Joshua Tree.