The People's Money (2022-2023)
Your Money, Your Community, Your Voice.
The Planet Bronx
What problem would you like to solve?
Our crowded classrooms, severe class seperation, and lack of real community seems to limit the educational and social progress of our NYC communities. A lack of integrated Arts integration in our congested schools contribute greatly to our problems.
How can different ethnic communities grow trust in each other in a culture that pits them against each other for limited resources? How can we enable our diverse cultures to grow an understanding of the shared joys that we experience in our common American pop-culture? Our Latinx, multi-ethnic South/East Asian, Indigenous and religious communities, (and African Diaspora) are made up of so many divergent yet intersecting cultures that it can be difficult to foster unity and understanding.
Can we use the easily-digested artforms of comics, fashion, and dramatic narratives to create lovely bridges?
How can we use our common pop-art culture to enable our disparate communities to grow together creatively and productively?
Why is it important to solve? Why is it relevant for the community?
Working with schools and after school organizations, I have understood that our young and old folk have many burdens and barriers.
Our increasing population of seniors have fewer resources available, and the social isolation that comes from a lack of community, resources and an ageist society can lead to faster mental and physical deterioration. Our teens are retreating into an apathetic cyber-world of social media which can lead to tribal isolation and a lack of empathy,
Believe it or bnot, Cartooning, with its deceptively simple art forms and easily digested visual language, can greatly benefit the young people of the Bronx communities. Benefits include greater ethnic, gender, and multicultural understanding and the building of stronger artistic skill sets such as; critical thinking, drawing, writing, dynamic drawing, inking, storyboarding, sequential storytelling and even sculpture. They learn American and global history as they learn the history of the medium. They especially learn how to dissect popular culture, and discern what are the messages being presented, and gives them greater power to control and distribute their own messages. They learn how to validate their own culture using a beloved set of popular art-forms. They also build a sense of community as practitioners and aficionados of sequential art. As an art-form, I find cartooning to be most beautiful when it is used as a way to communicate ideas and feelings, and want to help enable the practice of this simple tool.
What idea do you have to address the problem?
I am respectfully requesting funds to enable 12 instructional classes for children, 12 classes for teens, 6 classes for seniors. As well as 4 public art events under the title PLANET BRONX PRIME geared for adults. THE PLANET BRONX is built into three instruction cycles targeting children, and teens: (PLANET BRONX JR: ages 7-13, PLANET BRONX X: ages 14 to 19), and PLANET BRONX ARTOPIA seniors (CCOG; ages 55+). Rounding out the instructional programs are 4 themed public art events under the heading; PLANET BRONX PRIME, that include live-drawing, performances and panel discussions targeted towards adults. Folded into the instructional programs are graduating ‘galleries’ and certificate events.
THE PLANET BRONX will fold in discussions and artistic projects based on the current political climate and pandemic situation. Since so many of our events and programs are online based, that will reflect the content and scope of the presentations and prompts. Coping mechanisms for stress and depression will be discussed as well as frank discussions about the current state of affairs. Comic Culture will continue to teach cultural awareness, tolerance, and critical thinking via cartooning-based skill-sets built into programs for children, teens, adults and seniors. We explore the struggles and promote the triumphs and positive outcomes that come that come from living in a multi-cultural world. We'll continue to use the diversity of our Bronx cultures to explore our urban realities and mythologies, but also temper each class and project with a nod to our new reality and the hopes and positive strategies for our futures.
PLANET BRONX utilizes popular urban culture, Manga and American cartooning to benefit the people of the Bronx communities. Benefits have included a stronger skill-set (including critical thinking, drawing, writing, dynamic drawing, inking, story-boarding, sequential storytelling and even sculpture) and have fostered a greater understanding of ethnic, gender, and multicultural diversity. The core values taught will be diversity and inclusion, understanding craft and modeling skills, collaboration as a culture, and creativity as a tool to engage and develop their own voices and tell their own stories.
I am proud to have been able to fold in a program for seniors to help meet the real demand for meaningful instruction and community-building. They have proven to give their all to the programs and are creating fond memories and successful outcomes.
The adult workshops will be flavored by our unique mix of Bronx Pop Culture that includes Asian film, QUEER stories, Horror, Erotica and Hip Hop, and continue to introduce them to professional practitioners of these art-forms. They will be bolstered by their own culminating art events and encouraged to create dialogue. We aim to build a sense of community as practitioners and aficionados of these beloved artforms congregate and explore with the average Bronx spectator.
The classes and programs will be supported by the publication of several zines based on themes explored with the class. A portion of the zines will feature art and writing from selected program members. A healthy social media presence will also support THE PLANET BRONX.
My biggest goal to have the students develop their own brand of storytelling as they develop their culminating projects. Not only will they be exposed to comics professionals and their works, but will now include practical workshops on graphic software to help further the scope of their creations. And the sharing and discussion of the issues and feelings brought on by the pandemic will be done in a safe, no-judgmental and productive space.
Who would that help?
THE PLANET BRONX programs and events are for children, teens, adults and seniors of all genders, and can give focus and direction in a safe community-building environment. Online or on-site, the focus on expression, and not 'perfection' helps these new practitioners allow themselves to enjoy learning new skills at their own pace and level. The sense of community they build as they discuss not only the art at hand, but the issues surrounding the new restricted world is invaluable. The use of pop culture helps them sustain interest and motivation while exploring the historical traditions, moralities and attitudes that come from our diversity. Benefits include greater ethnic, gender, and multicultural understanding and the building of stronger artistic skill-sets . The classes augment their own school arts training. It also validates their place in pop culture, by allowing them to create their own imagery and stories that reflect their own identities and experience. Before, there had been a severe lack of diversity in mainstream pop-culture, and the talent allowed to produce it. Now, we see characters of color flourish in comic book pages, yet the representation of color in creators and publishers still lags woefully behind. That is why the few and dynamic instances happening more and more in film and comics represents a big opportunity for our students to be part of a changing world. By teaching our new generations the skills necessary to add their voices and experiences to the art-form, we strengthen and validate our diversity in American pop culture. When you change the culture, you change the world.
There are adult-only and senior versions of Comic Culture; first created out of the demand from the parents of my students and showing me the real need for our communities' adults to participate in cultural deconstruction and creation. All they needed was access, encouragement and opportunity.
The public events for adults, especially during the past pandemic sequester, have proven successful in both live and online iterations. I am proud to host them and be part of this great Bronx Art community.
The culminating events of the instructional programs are for the children as well as guardians. I am proud to serve healthy varieties of ethnic and economic classes, and try to fold in cultural sensitivity into any programming. Another side- effect of the pandemic is the new ability to host programs that include folks from other countries and states, increasing the exposure to new ideas and art and expanding our community in a dynamic way.
THE PLANET BRONX aims to create an enriching and exciting way for adults, teens, children and seniors to navigate their real world issues as well as increase understanding of other cultures. We provide a way for our community to participate and revel in their beloved pop culture. All participants are encouraged to succeed at their own levels, and, while most will not become practitioners, a sense of community and a life-long love of this internationally renowned art forms will be fostered.
What NYC borough would benefit from your idea?
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