Small Projects, Big Impact Some creative projects require years of planning, large staffs, and extensive fundraising campaigns. Others don’t – but that doesn’t mean that smaller projects are easy to accomplish or that they are any less important. On March 2, 2013, John Carnwath and Derek Sherman of The Chicago Awesome Foundation sat down with Janet Attarian (Chicago Department of Transportation), Katherine Darnstadt (Latent Design / Architecture for Humanity Chicago), and Lindsay Obermeyer (The Red Thread Project®) at the Creative Chicago Expo to discuss Small Projects and Big Impacts. An audio recording of the discussion is now available online. The panelists discuss small-scale projects of various sorts – “small” being defined variously in terms of physical dimension, budget size, duration, or institutional establishment – asking why people do them, how they get funded, what challenges to expect, and what their impact is.
We thought we’d try something new in Chicago this month, so instead of picking our winner in the smokey backroom of an undisclosed location like we usually do, we invited six finalists to pitch their project proposals to a live audience and let the crowd decide on the winner. All six of the projects were certainly worthy of a thousand-dollar grant, but after hearing all the pitches and engaging in 20 minutes of intense deliberation the dedicated crowd at the Next Door Café rose to the challenge of selecting a single winner for the night. Elizabeth Ortiz & Gilberto Sandoval, two teenagers from Yollocalli Arts Reach, delivered an enthusiastic pitch for their “Clean Graffiti” project that won the audience over. The idea is simple, creative, and compelling: they’re going to make stencils, rent a pressure washer, and blast positive messages into the grime of the city’s sidewalks. In doing so they’re flipping the idea of graffiti on its head, replacing the defacement of public property with an act of civil service (cleaning the sidewalks) and turning the negativity of gang tags into encouraging messages. Congratulations to Elizabeth and Gilberto, and a big nod of recognition to Yollocalli for engaging and fostering such promising kids.
The New York chapter is proud to announce that our April grant has been awarded to Nametag Day, which on June 1, 2013 will distribute 200,000-nametags around New York City. The purpose of the event is to get people to talk to each other. But more than that, it’s about bringing a culture of openness to this sometimes standoffish city. Read more on our April project page! And don’t forget to follow Awesome NYC on Twitter and Facebook.
Sixteen-year-old music-enthusiast, photographer, and engineer-in-the-making Noah Klein attended Burning Man last year, which filled him with a need to participate and contribute to the odd and unique marriage of music and art for this year’s festival. His answer: a reworking of Ruben’s Tube, a flaming cylinder that gives musical wavelengths a physical shape with fire (think: propane-fueled iTunes visualizer). To give it his own spin, Noah has rehashed this traditional construction by finding a discarded grand piano, digitizing its keys, and hooking the mechanism up to his own Ruben’s Tube. His words: “I think it would be quite the spectacle to have someone be able to preform Mozart’s 5th Symphony and have it visualized with fire right in front of them.” Awesome LA, with the consent of Noah’s enthusiastic, patient, and trusting mom, have awarded Noah with an Awesome grant to foster young, analytically minds and add a spark to Burning Man 2013 . Flame on.
The Little Haiti Community Garden, our chapter’s February award winner, will be holding a benefit dinner on March 22 to draw attention to their transforming the garden. All members of the community are welcome! See the poster below for more information.