PDII 2017 Projects Completed!

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

For the two projects selected this year, filmmaker Tony Pena filmed and produced two videos for Equal Voice Network, and graphic designer Nayelli Bautista designed essential handouts and informational materials for Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos. 

These projects will both assist each organization with their outreach to residents of the Rio Grande Valley, ensuring they are informed about their rights as citizens or non-citizens. It also positions each organization as a resource for their communities. We hope these design works enable both groups to reach a wider and more diverse audience. 

You can see the products of each project by following our recipient organizations: Equal Voice Network and Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos on their social media. 

Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos now has brochures, posters, flyers, and business cards to distribute that inform Rio Grande Valley residents of their rights and provides resources in case these rights are violated.

Equal Voice Network now has two short videos regarding the impacts of legislation like SB4 and how we can all work together to advocate for the interests of individuals and families in the Rio Grande Valley.

These Public Design Impact Initiative projects were made possible by support from the Ford Foundation. Thank you to our designers, nonprofit partners and supporters!

ACD40 Conference Report

Learn more about the Association for Community Design and #ACD40!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Association for Community Design annual conference in June. ACD40’s theme, CommUNITY, sought to ignite conversations about the different models of practice that the field of community-engaged design uses to operate successfully. We envisioned a conference that would connect people from across the country who are working in and around public interest practices.

You can read our ACD40 Conference Report here. It contains a recap of the schedule, speakers, and sessions. It also includes results to the ACD40 Post-Conference Survey, the ACD 2017 Questionnaire, the Fellowship Survey, the Gender Equity Survey, and the Community Design Survey.

A big thank you to all of our funders, partners and supporters that made this conference possible: 

Funders - Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. & Surdna Foundation

Supporters - UT Arlington, College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, Mallory Baches, Jessica Blanch, Thor Erickson, Gilad Meron, Nikia Hill, Theresa Hwang, Mark Matel, Kevin Singh, Edward Orlowski, Stephen Goldsmith, & Alex Salazar

Venues - AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, CallisonRTKL, Dallas Public Library, HKS, & Thanksgiving Square

Promotional Partners - AIA Austin, AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, APA North Texas Chapter, LRGV AIA, SMU Design Council, & USGBC Texas

Volunteers - Bi’Anncha Andrews, Farida Rafique, Hannah Plate, Shani Dixon, Victoria Brown, [bc] Staff & Fellows, & Neighborhood Design Center

Equal Voice Network

Read more about our Public Design Impact Initiative!

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Equal Voice Network amplifies the voices of local poor and working families, ensuring that they have a say in the decisions and discussions that affect their lives. The organization builds a network of advocates for families in the Valley from multiple partner organizations and all areas of expertise, including civic engagement, immigration, education, employment, housing, and health care. With this project, the Equal Voice Network hopes to address these issues with educational films that will be accessible to the audiences who need them most. We are excited to begin working with the Equal Voice Network and filmmaker Tony Pena in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Equal Voice Network’s beliefs include:

  • Public policies should promote everyone’s ability to reach their fullest potential and advance the common good.
  • Families should have an equal voice in shaping policies and the future of their communities.

And they are committed to:

  •  Protecting the rights and opportunities of all families
  • Holding elected officials accountable to the common good

Tony Pena is a local filmmaker who is bringing his design and film expertise to the project. His work will assist Equal Voice Network in finding creative ways to get across their message to the right audiences.

Together we will create two short videos that engage Rio Grande Valley families and residents on topics and policies that affect their everyday life. The subject of the first two videos will be Texas’ Senate Bill 4, going into effect on September 1, 2017. The videos will help residents understand and prepare for the implications of the legislation in their region. In addition to creating these videos, we hope to generate a process model for making similar informative videos as social, cultural, and political shifts occur, so that the Equal Voice Network can continue to effectively generate and distribute relevant content to residents of the Rio Grande Valley.

The aim of our PDII program is to use local design talent to increase the impact of  our peer nonprofit organizations and community groups. The 2017 PDII program selected two projects to complete in the calendar year. Read about our other project selection, Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos.

Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos

Read more about our Public Design Impact Initiative!

We are excited to begin working with Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos and local graphic designer Nayelli Bautista as a part of our Public Design Impact Initiative. Movimiento del Valle is a community organization that educates and organizes the community around human rights issues. 

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Movimiento del Valle is currently teaching community members about their constitutional rights and training them in strategies to combat anti-immigration attacks at the State and National levels. The Moviemento del Valle recognizes that the Rio Grande Valley is a very vulnerable geographic area that requires thoughtful and effective educational materials on rights and immigration.  The organization seeks support in creating dynamic resources that communicate information effectively through clear and accessible design and graphics.

Through a design process that engages both community stakeholders and partner organizations, Nayelli will work with Movimiento del Valle to update their educational and organizational materials, making them relevant and accessible to the audience Movimiento del Valle would like to reach. Together, we will update and refine Movimiento del Valle’s teaching tools to meet their current needs, and we will generate an online platform to make important information accessible to organization members and the public. 

The aim of our PDII program is to use local design talent to increase the impact of our peer nonprofit organizations and community groups. The 2017 PDII program selected two projects to complete in the calendar year. Read about our other project selection, Equal Voice Network.

Announcing Activating Vacancy Downtown Dallas Call for Proposals

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, with Downtown Dallas Inc, is excited to announce Activating Vacancy Downtown Dallas’s call for artist proposals.  Artists are invited to submit applications for this project that asks artists to create create work that directly addresses issues identified by downtown stakeholders through a previous process called Community Audited Public Space (CAPS), as well as by a Community Advisory Committee.  

Read More

Rural Placemaking Participant Selection

See more posts about Activating Vacancy and our work in D.C. 

[bc] and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are pleased to announce the selection of two organizations for our Rural Placemaking Program, supported by a Knowledge Building Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The smART Kinston City Project Foundation in Kinston, North Carolina and Woodlands Development Group in Elkins, West Virginia will be implementing rural creative placemaking initiatives during summer 2017 as a part of this program.

The smART Kinston City Project Foundation has been working to foster the development of an arts-driven and asset-based economy by cultivating an Arts and Cultural District in Downtown Kinston for the last two years.  smART Kinston focuses their initiatives on connecting individuals and communities, using art as a tool to address local infrastructure and regional economic challenges.   Their pilot project will partner artists with local stakeholders to develop a creative placemaking project that addresses racial tensions and economic inequity in this city of 21,000.

Woodlands Development Group is a certified Community Housing Development Organization that has been working in Elkins, West Virginia and the surrounding area since 1995.  For this initiative, Woodlands will partner with ArtSpring to implement a creative placemaking initiative in Thomas, West Virginia - a town with a population of 600.  ArtSpring, a nonprofit that nurtures the arts community, has worked since 2011 to engage the public and promote Tucker county as an arts destination by presenting an annual arts festival.   Woodlands and ArtSpring will use community input to develop public art and wayfinding installations that reflect the artistic assets of the region and highlight the quickly developing cultural identity of Thomas.

Over the next six months, smART Kinston and Woodlands Development Group will work in partnership with residents and artists to develop a creative, arts-based initiative in their communities.  With the support of [bc] and HAC, both organizations will kickoff their creative placemaking pilot projects in June.  

The project is funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  To find out more about how the National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities visit www.arts.gov.  

PDII 2017 Project Selections

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

In January 2017, as part of a collaborative effort to extend equity in design to rural, colonia areas, a Request For Proposals was released to invite Rio Grande Valley nonprofit organizations and groups to submit project proposals to be matched with pro bono design services. From this RFP, we received many excellent proposals, and in March, a jury of nonprofit, community and design leaders convened to review the proposals and provide their recommendations for this year's selections.

[bc] is excited to announce that the following two projects have been selected for 2017:


Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos
Movimiento del Valle is currently educating and training community members about their constitutional rights as a strategy against anti-immigration attacks at the State and National levels. Recognizing that the RGV is a very vulnerable geographical area, they seek support in creating more educational resources for the community that help them communicate information more effectively through clear and accessible design and graphics. Through PDII Movimiento wants to start a graphic campaign and an online platform in which RGV residents have access to information and messages from the group. Their proposal includes the production of designs and educational resources to better equip the community on how to defend themselves against anti-immigration laws and a state of militarization and heavy policing at the border.


Equal Voice Network
The Equal Voice Network wants to develop a demonstration project of attractive and accessible social media messages of public interest and benefit. Through PDII the nonprofit wants to create a smart-phone friendly video series (via Facebook) that targets adults who have had limited opportunity for formal education. The first product of the series will break down the very complicated education reform bill passed in 2013 by the Texas State Legislature (Foundation High School Program) to give parents an immediate sense of what they need to be aware of for their middle and high school aged children. The other subjects of the series could cover a wide range of issues that affect the residents of  colonias like health care (Zika prevention), housing (“Is your home address on the 9-1-1 list?”), education (“Will  your child graduate high school eligible for university?”).

Rural Placemaking Call for Participants

See more posts about our Activating Vacancy work. 

[bc], with HAC, is excited to announce the launch of the call for participants for Rural Placemaking, a new creative placemaking initiative that will take place in two rural communities (with populations less than 50,000) in the United States. Creative placemaking is a way of working between community developers, housing organizations, artists and local stakeholders to strengthen communities. This initiative will implement two creative actions during summer 2017 that bring people together to share food, stories, art, experiences, and histories as well as enable neighbors to talk, learn, and organize.

Two partnerships between a housing or community development organization and an artist/art organization will be selected to implement a temporary initiative from May to August 2017. [bc] and HAC encourage housing/community development organizations without an existing artist/arts organization partner to submit an application. If successful, [bc] and HAC will facilitate selection of a partner artist/organization.

Successful applicants will receive up to $7,500 to support the development of an arts and community building project in their town. They will also receive training and support from national leaders in creative placemaking and community development on the implementation of their project. Throughout the Rural Placemaking program, [bc] and HAC will provide one in person peer-to-peer training session with other participants to share experience and problem solve, technical training webinars to guide participants through [bc]'s creative placemaking process, Activating Vacancy, and an on-site visit to assist in program implementation. [bc] will provide guidance and feedback to participants on creative placemaking throughout the implementation of Rural Placemaking.  HAC will provide organizational and technical assistance in sustaining long term impact throughout the implementation of Rural Placemaking.  

Applicants should demonstrate a strong interest in social justice and desire to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to formulate proposals which unite residents from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. Applicants are encouraged to share examples of past work that exhibit community engagement/participation and the organization’s interest in bringing creative placemaking to their community.

More information on Rural Placemaking can be found here. Interested parties should apply via an online application here. We recommend reviewing the application requirements on pages 4-6 on the call for participants to prepare your materials prior to submission. Applicants cannot save and return to their applications.

Applications are due by 11:59pm on March 10, 2017. Applicants are encouraged to submit outside of peak website traffic time, (8:00pm-11:59pm CST on March 10th, 2017).  Finalists will be notified by March 30, 2017.

This initiative is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Abriendo Las Puertas

See more posts on AVAI and our work in the RGV.  

On December 3rd,  Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator will celebrate the work of Artist in Residence Celeste De Luna, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Nancy Guevara and the future of arts, culture and civic engagement in Historic Downtown Brownsville.

De Luna’s large scale wood-cut prints about resistance and rebellion in the valley will be displayed throughout the Historic Market Square.  Her works include portraits of the Buffalo soldiers, Americo Paredes and visualizations of corridos written by Brownsville residents. Guevara will display two large fabric murals made of ropa usada that portray female grassroots activists from the Valley.  Gonzalez will reveal a 14 foot long movable mural to be displayed in the street, that addresses challenges experienced by the homeless in Brownsville.   

Additional programing will include live music performances by Caldo Frío, photographs from the Taquerías of Southmost exhibit, , produced by Texas Folklike and the Brownsville Historical Association and the dance, #soyBrownsville, choreographed by Caty Wantland. Screen printing workshops will be held by Nancy Guevara and Celeste de Luna throughout the event.  All programing is free and open to the public.  

Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator is an art and public interest design initiative in Market Square  in Historic Downtown Brownsville. Artists collaborate with community members to create art that explores the cultural, social, political and economic life in this region. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Brownsville and BCIC and produced by buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.

For more information on AVAI or Abriendo Las Puertas follow up on Facebook!

AVAI Artist Proposals

See more posts on AVAI and our work in the RGV.  

Playing with Production: Walking tour    Photo by Elaine Morales

Playing with Production: Walking tour

Photo by Elaine Morales

[bc] is excited to share the project proposals for our three Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator Artists-in-Residence. Celeste De Luna, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Nancy Guevara have been hard at work in their studios and throughout the city of Brownsville; meeting local stakeholders, longtime residents, historians and academics. In June & July, they synthesized the knowledge they have collected to generate an exciting series of proposals for projects for the City of Brownsville.

Their projects will unfold from August through November. Learn about each artist’s projects below and join in the workshops and programming that they have designed over the upcoming months. Be sure to stay connected with us on Facebook for future updates and opportunities to participate in forthcoming events!

 

Celeste De Luna   (R) sharing her prints and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at   Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Celeste De Luna (R) sharing her prints and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Celeste De Luna’s project will center around historical and contemporary narratives of strength and resistance native to the Rio Grande Valley. Over the past months she has identified central figures from Brownsville history, including Americo Paredes and Juan Cortina. In partnership with members of the community, she will work to identify how local stakeholders connect with their stories and collaborate with them to generate visuals representing their own stories of protest.  

De Luna will conduct a series of workshops beginning in August that will include a steamroller printing workshop, a storytelling workshop and a kite making workshop in Lincoln Park. In November she will exhibit 5 large scale prints representative of the stories shared with her by local residents and the history of the region. Prints from the large woodcuts will be wheatpasted throughout the downtown and the final carved blocks will be exhibited at the conclusion of the residency.  

Rigoberto Gonzalez   (L) speaking with an attendee and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at   Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Rigoberto Gonzalez (L) speaking with an attendee and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Rigoberto Gonzalez will work over the upcoming months on a large scale, moveable mural based upon a series of interviews he will conduct with Brownsville residents. As a longtime resident of the Rio Grande Valley, he is particularly interested in the cultural traditions of the region and the stories that accompany them. At the recent AVAI Open Studio event, Playing with Production, Gonzalez invited attendees to sketch their ideas for the mural and to share stories of their experiences downtown.   

During his forthcoming workshops Gonzalez will hold personal narrative workshops to record oral histories and create portraits of the people whose stories he collects. The recordings will become sound installations to accompany Gonzalez’s murals in filling vacant spaces with the stories of Brownsville.

Nancy Guevara   (center) speaking with an    attendees at    Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Nancy Guevara (center) speaking with an  attendees at  Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Nancy Guevara’s project, Intersections of Transformation on the Border will investigate the experiences that lead people to become activist leaders. Throughout the residency Guevara will work with local women and community leaders to create portraits using fabric from local ropa usada stores that reflect the leaders’ experiences of personal transformation, self-actualization and empowerment. By working closely with community leaders to create designs based on their experiences of struggle and complexity, Guevara hopes to engage aspiring artists and activists in using art as a tool for social justice.

Leading up to the presentation of these works to the public, Guevara will hold a series of workshops and discussions about catalyzing change and cultivation of leadership. Included in this series will be a manta workshop, in which participants will decide upon an issue that has deep personal importance to them and then make a banner representing a cause.  

Playing with Production: Walking tour, Photo by Jesse Miller 

Playing with Production: Walking tour, Photo by Jesse Miller 

AVAI will continue throughout the Fall and will culminate in mid-November with installations, performances and exhibitions throughout the month. Follow AVAI on Facebook for updates on the Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator, important information on our monthly events and more details about the artists’ upcoming workshops.  

Activating Vacancy Fall Calendar

August

8/27 Rebel Corridos: Corrido Writing Workshop with Celeste De Luna

8/27 El Círculo de Mujeres: Manta Workshop with Nancy Guevara

 

September

9/24 Make your own Chingona Outfit: Costume Making Workshop with Nancy Guevara

9/24 Kites Sin Fronteras: Kite Making Workshop with Celeste De Luna

 

October

10/7 Day in the Neighborhood: Brownsville’s first 24 Hour Film Festival begins

10/8  Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

10/8 Work it Out: Open Lab Q and A for 24 Hour Film Festival

10/22Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

10/22 Films from 24 Hour Festival Screened in Collaboration with the First Annual Brownsville International Film Festival

10/29 Steamrolling to the Future: Steamroller and Printmaking Workshop with Celeste De Luna

10/29 Platica Mujeres Líderes en Brownsville with Nancy Guevara

 

November

11/5Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

11/9 Noche de Filosofía y First Brownsville Story Share: A Brownsville Symposium

11/12 Steamrolling into the Future: Steamroller and Printmaking Workshop with Celeste De Luna

 

December

12/3 Abriendo las Puertas: Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator Bridge Event with Artist Exhibitions, Charrettes, Panel Discussions, Performances and Live Music

 

 

 

 

Welcome Christina Houle

Learn more about Christina here!

Christina Houle 

bcFELLOW

Christina Sukhgian Houle is a bcFELLOW at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.  She works with the PeopleOrganizing Place initiative to foster art and community partnerships in Brownsville.  As a producer, educator and artist Christina has extensive experience in developing platforms for civic expression, imagination and engagement in NYC and throughout Texas.

Before working with [bc] Christina worked with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (NYC) developing short films with youth about local policy practices, Creative Time (NYC) creating large scale public art performances, and at596 Acres (NYC) educating the public on their land advocacy rights. ‘The emphasis of her work has been placing power in the hands of communities to solve local problems and develop programatic strengths.

She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University and an EdM in TechnologyInnovation andEducation from the Harvard School of Education.  Additionally Houle’s short film and protest performance series, Migration Patterns During Wartime, was awarded the Andy Warhol Foundation Idea Fund Grant and screened in the US and Mexico in 2011.