Documenting Change @ RE-aRT

Posts tagged “Free School

Recent Writing

I think I wrote an updated “Artist’s Statement“.  Oh yeah, I did.  And I rewrote my bio for the Austin Time Exchange Network + a longish post about what I’d like to do as far as a free school kinda thingy.

ATEN Bio

I am an aspiring artist via amateur community arts activator…

I have lived in Austin since Jan. ’05 and have been performing, living creatively, and collecting skills from my many part-time jobs. (nanny/babysitter… cook… personal assistant… shopkeeper/art center co-organizer… pedicab driver… carpenters’ apprentice, clothing mender..) What I love most about Austin= family, friends and the adventurous music and art scenes.

I joined aten (finally) in the Summer of ’09 and became a (volunteer) board member in January 2010. My interests as a member of aten are: enjoying productive interactions within a community; sharing in the wealth of knowledge available from the people around me; encouraging friends and neighbors to join; and manifesting my visions via managing helpers. My activities/interests as a board member include: helping new and potential members to follow through in the joining process by attending an orientation; doing what I can to keep the blog changing and the e-news flowing (…with Karen); and facilitating communication among members and volunteers, always with the goal of increasing aten’s overall functionality and effectiveness.

I have a blog (https://amandahbjones.wordpress.com) and a goal – to establish a back-yard Recycling Center (/vocational arts school / tourist attraction)!   I will be trying to keep it updated so that you can find out what services I need and what’s going on at the site.

Teachers and Learners Forum post

I have a lot of thoughts/ideas for the Teachers & Learners of ATEN, and anyone else in Austin who wants to be involved in cooperatively increasing opportunities for free learning exchanges, as a model of an equitable framework for education.

My goals are three-fold:
1= short-term, with the aim of getting people together at one time + place to share thoughts, feelings and ideas
2= middle- to long-term, ongoing
3= potentially far-reaching

#1  A fundraiser for ATEN (“Timeraiser”?) / A day of free workshops and classes
Here’s how it could work:
We secure a space for a day-long event, such as Space12, Carver Library, or somewhere else, depending on needs of classes offered.
Participants take workshops offered by Teachers and pay ATEN for the experience (Total Hrs Attended).   ATEN pays Teachers for teaching time + prep. (This could be expanded to service-providers as well, if they are able to offer something to more than one person per hour. For example:  chair massages for ~10 minutes, etc.)

#2       a. Teaching:
My background is in site-specific installation art and improvisational performance.  Some of the subjects I would enjoy teaching include: recycling arts (a student-inquiry based course), paper mache (puppets, masks, sculpture), earth arts, drawing from life, costuming for performance, creative brainstorming techniques, and dance and creative movement (for health, expression and amusement).
b. Learning:
I am interested in learning more about so many things, so whatever others have to offer is probably of interest to me.  At the top of my list: earth sciences (chemistry, environmental science, etc), green building techniques, html basics, drums, conversational Spanish, Alexander Technique.
c. Fostering a nurturing, educational, and creative environment:
I have a large yard, a good landlord, some friendly neighbors, and the starts of a functional workshop space.  I would love to host workshops  and demonstrations on a regular basis!

#3  Research Institute
Some auxiliary educational activities could take place, such as small groups of people taking on specific topics to investigate and documenting their findings.  For example, two+ people may choose to interview someone else about that person’s area of knowledge, and to create a video from the exchange.  Others may be studying a subject such as chemistry and decide to create an educational demo about soil-testing.  What distinguishes this “Research Institute” idea from classes and lessons is the added dimension of creating some sort of record of the knowledge so that  it can be shared and built upon.

Ta da!  That’s all I have to say about that, for now.

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PROPOSAL:

Basically, my proposal is this, flexible to variations, and happily responded to, YES or NO:

Collaborate with me on this project to make “my backyard” (which is semi-“public”, in that it is not fenced in and has hosted numerous public gatherings so far) a lively, beautiful, quirky, KID-PROOF sanctuary/destination, with more happy PLANTS, private areas, and functional attributes.

m+t+yard
Some of the challenges I am currently facing are:
1-Storage decay & insecurity.
2-Unclear boundary of workspace.
3-Extremely rocky and glass-filled dirt.
4-Unpleasant ground-cover with too many burrs!

My hopes for the space are to:
1) “Fix” my current storage space system to store: items for specific events, tools and materials for specific outdoor projects, and Art. Storage must be secure and dry.  (I am working on this part now).
2) Area immediately surrounding storage => an organized studio. Stuff for my own projects needs to be secured/locked, and additional shelves for future students/co-workers should also be considered.
3) Create a raised sink (+ greywater processing and irrigation system) for use during outside events or workshops or studio time.  This structure will bring some life in the form of some irrigated plants — perhaps vines or kitchen herbs.
4) Create a few comfortable and fun places around the area (a swing, benches, some mosaic, collaborative public sculptures, puppet theater stage, etc.! (This is where I am extra-open to outside ideas and inspirations!)
5) Replace the current ground-cover with one that is hypo-allergenic and softer.
6) Overall, to Increase peaceful play, promote creative work, provide an enjoyable experience for out-of-doors gatherings,and to be AMAZING.

I KNOW that I need help with this, and I FEEL that it is a project that many people could get excited about, depending on their degree of investment.  I know that people need to feel that a project is beneficial to them in order to invest any amount of time or energy into it.  I see this as beneficial to many because of the number of potential uses the space can have: a learning space (“The Austin Cooperative Free School“, if you need a name for it), a work space (for outdoor crafts), a place for community puppet theater, more artsy swap meets, collaborations with other friend-organizations, etc.   To wrap it up as “conceptual art” I may refer to it as the Recycling Center, where rescued materials are cared for, traded, and crafted.  In addition, the environment itself is a slowly evolving work of art (indeed, A Living Space).  Artistic/professional collaborators may use the space to showcase their work, to create an example of their skill that will be seen by many people, even while each part is a thoughtful contribution to the community.

There is some food for thought.  Bon appetit!


Cooperative Free School of Austin

cfsa