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Peace Event



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Paul Hillman

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Balsz Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Council (BPN YAC) Gateway ECHS, (9/3/13)


"It has been argued that we are not Homo sapiens but Homo narrans, the only species that tells stories" (Fisher, 1987, p.157). Stories are how we organize our thoughts and experiences and how we share them with others. They tell us who the community is and what it is not (Hustedde, 1998, p.157). Within the work of the Cultural Arts Coalition ( BPN YAC consultant) the participants create an environment utilizing the traditional story telling "Circle of Power".

The theme of the Sept. 3rd BPN YAC: Renewing the Dream = Honoring Self and Others: Building a Peaceful Community, through experiencing skill sets of public speaking and PSA’s that reveal Balsz Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Council’s (BPN YAC) stories, advocating for change. Community artists’ paintings and sculptures were available to stimulate dialogue about the use of contemporary images inspiring one to SEE & communicate, advocating for issues of individual and community concern, w/desire to be addressed, supporting & promoting community resolve...

1. Following a review of last year’s activities the discussion focused on the goals and objectives:

These youth want to understand their feelings about life and discuss them in a safe space with others:

How to do this? It was discussed:

  • Students want to address the visual arts, performance and music of youth in the 2013 world as symbols and metaphors for these conversations...
  • They want artworks brought into the classroom that showcase the struggles of youth today and the issues of crime and resilience to overcome these obstacles in one’s daily life.
  • They have a desire to learn how to get up and speak about their issues in the adult community, to be heard and assist them to resolve these concerns: Public Speaking (PSA-Public Service Announcements)

By setting an environmental stage to allow everyone to reflect on what they understand in relationship to the issues presented in the music, performance and visual arts, the students are processing subject matter in a safe space which each participant sharing in the civil dialogue.

2. Outcomes of meeting: Visual artworks were brought in by

  • Martin Moreno, Governor’s artist award winner
  • Luis Gutierrez, son of Alfredo Gutierrez a Chicano Activist in our state of renown
  • Sentrock, Joseph Perez is a youth from the street whose father is in jail and who has successfully moved through the system of poverty to be a young artist of incredible talent...

This information was also provided for the youth to watch after the meeting:

Paint Life Beautiful

>> a short film by Mark Susan and Brandon Barnard that speaks with the voice of a young artist from Phoenix, Arizona, who is finding his way through life by expressing himself in his own way. We won "Audience Choice Award" at the Filmstock Film Festival and this film has also been an official selection in 3 other festivals, as well as being a special engagement at the 2013 Phoenix Film Festival. Feel free to enjoy and share this story with anyone who may need to find inspiration:

Here is how you can show the videos if you have a fast internet connection: Paint Life Beautiful is an 8-minute short film that is kind of like an Art Film had a baby with a Documentary. It was filmed over the span of 6 months and tells the story of Phx artist, Joseph Perez... aka "Sentrock."

Generations is a 3-minute video that was commissioned for the art show at the Willo North Gallery where Sentrock, Luis Gutierrez and Martin Moreno all showed their paintings. This video explains the special connection that Sentrock and Martin have, which makes the art show even more meaningful.

The postcard image for one of the CAC’s public exhibitions is painted by Carolina Parra....very powerful. IT SCREAMS---Advocacy for self and community! In this context, the arts are not solely aesthetic forms, but are intended to invite each of us to the center of our own experiences of discovery and interpretation, engaging public dialogue around issues of shared community concerns.

This post card and painting introduced the conversation amongst the youth concerning "What is a Human Right" vs. a "Human Right"?

This conversation led into discussing about, What is a PSA? There are many different definitions for a public service announcement (PSA) or public service ad, but the simplified version of PSAs are messages in the public interest disseminated by the media without charge, with the objective of raising awareness, changing public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue.

  • The students were asked to break up into their self-select groups of 4-6 youth.
  • They were to tell stories amongst themselves about social issues that were of interest to them and select one that they would like to put into action through some kind of advocacy strategy.
  • The What; Who Context of the concern; The action and What they hoped to change was overviewed.
  • Youth then broke into their groups and within 30 minutes not only came up with the advocacy change strategy they identified as a social concern, but even created small images.

The students’ PSA themes:

  • Sexism-Right or Wrong?
  • Animals have feelings too!
  • A Library’s books reveal our world...
  • Buckle Up, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

The final activity of the day was to journal about one of the paintings they selected to discuss: Why the artwork affected them; and what was that affect?

Everyone said it was a fun activity; and they enjoyed learning more about how visual artworks may cause them to stop and consider the message in the symbols and forms.

Balsz Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Council CONTINUES>>>>


WHAT: We will continue to address the use of the PSA (public service announcements) as a means to advocate for community concerns and to record these in performance to be publically broadcast...

WHEN:Tuesday, September 17th, from 3:45-5:30.

WHERE: Gateway ECHS (Rm. 2305-east)

Please plan to attend! PIZZA SERVED

Photo review by judy butzine, MSW, CAC co-director questions please call (602) 375-9553