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A Living Library = A. L. L.

A Living Library provides a powerful systemic framework, methodology, and strategy for creating placed-based, ecological change in schools and communities - locally and globally.

A Living Library (A.L.L.) incorporates local resources, and transforms them to become vibrant, content-rich, ecological learning landscapes; each branch linked to another.

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Updated by @alivinglibrary

Recent Updates

Apr30

A Living Library: Cultivating The Human & Ecological Garden – Presentation By Bonnie Ora Sherk

Please enjoy A Living Library:  Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden, a Presentation by Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director ofLife Frames, Inc. A Living Library.

Mar23

Students Transform Street and Their School Adding To Living Library Nature Walk

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During the month of February, 2016, people from different parts of California came together to transform a street and add to the Living Library Nature Walk on Bernal Heights in San Francisco.  This ecological beautification project involved creating 12 new sidewalk garden beds on formerly sterile concrete sidewalks, and planting them with California Native Trees and Understory plants in front of Junipero Serra Elementary School on Holly Park Circle across from Holly Park.

Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director of Life Frames, Inc. created the design for the planting, and then connected with the various San Francisco Departments that helped make it all possible.   The California Strategic Growth Council generously provided the funding for the project as part of their grant for the full Living Library Nature Walk throughout the neighborhood that is linking multiple schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces leading to the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park. *

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In December, 2015, the SF Department of Public Works, led by Urban Forester, Chris Buck,  removed the concrete in order to create the new 12 garden beds - and enlarge some of the existing tree basins.  SF Unified School District Landscape Department led by Rick Maia delivered compost from Recology in order to improve the soil quality in the new garden beds.  Now it was time to get planting.  93 Students from Junipero Serra Elementary School led by A Living Library Teacher, Kristin DeRose took part in the planting.  It was the students excitement and enthusiasm to help beautify their school that really moved the project forward.  Once planting was complete, the SFUSD Landscape Department donated and delivered a huge pile of wood chips, which the students used to mulch the new garden beds.   There were so many extra wood chips that the students mulched all of the trees on the block !  

Through this whole, hands-on learning and transformation project, students discussed the importance of planting natives to improve air quality, increase water percolation, restore the natural Watershed, and re-attract native wildlife species to the area. They also learned about diverse native California plant species, drought tolerant plants, and how this street planting will help improve the quality of life in this neighborhood.  The children were thrilled to be so empowered by their actions !

Students planted 5 trees, 18 native shrubs and 75 native Understory plants.  We plan to keep continue planting on the side street bordering the school as part of the Nature Walk.

*  This Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park is a prototype for the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco that interconnects eleven communities:  Bernal Heights, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, OMI, Sunnyside, Glen Park, Noe Valley, Mission, Potrero Hill, Bayview.  It is envisioned that this Nature Walk will be expanded to connect these communities by developing a new, expressive, resilient landscape interconnecting them where they have been disconnected by freeways and other streets.  We are also proposing that the Chavez/101 Freeway Interchange and the Alemany/101 Freeway Interchange become the Northern & Southern Gateways to the Islais Creek Watershed. unnamed-4
Jan26

Unexpected Outcomes !

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As A Living Library Garden/Ecology/Multi-Arts/Nutrition/Health Teacher, I plan each lesson with an educational outcome in mind. For instance, last week I wanted the students to learn about different kinds of edible roots; we looked at examples of plants with “taproots,” like carrots, “tubers,” like potatoes, and “bulbs,” like onions and garlic. My goal is that each lesson in A Living Library Garden & Think Park at Juniperos Serra Elementary School has a hands-on component as well. For my root lesson, we started with a discussion and photos, and then planted potatoes and garlic in the garden. After I gave instructions and handed out garden tools, I was immediately met with opposition by three students in the class.

Hands on their hips, disgusted looks on their faces. “I don’t want to get my hands dirty!,” they exclaimed.  “Me too,” another retorted, “I hate when I get dirt on my fingernails!”

Planting Potatoes in the Garden

I showed them my hands, thoroughly covered in dirt. “REAL gardeners” I explained, “get their hands dirty, we will wash out hands after garden class.” Then, I went to get the other students started on planting.   Without much thought I turned around, and to my surprise the three “anti-dirty” students were hands deep in the soil, giggling and playing with a worm they had found. Minutes later I heard them enthusiastically call my name, “Ms. Kristin! Look at my hands,” smiling, they waved their soiled hands in my face, “I am a real gardener too!”

Dirty Hands!

I love how quickly children are willing to change their minds. Adults are so set in their ways, myself included.  We have steadfast opinions about what we like and don’t like, and we are not easily swayed otherwise. I think this trait can be detrimental, as we may miss out on new opportunities and experiences.

I would like to think that in five years, while my A Living Library Garden Students may not remember what a “taproot” or “tuber” is, they will have held on to the sensation of having their hands in the soil. They won’t be afraid to get their hands dirty, and they will dive into the opportunity to spend time amongst plants.

By Kristen DeRose

Dec29

Students Dig in at OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park

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Middle and High School Students have been busy in the Living Library Gardens this Fall semester building a new worm farm, digging and planting water-recycling gardens, and cooking up healthy meals of freshly harvested vegetables at the  OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park. During the school day, five hundred students from science classes, special needs classes, as well as social studies and arts classes at James Denman Middle School and Leadership High School come to the garden regularly to learn ecology and science through interactive lessons and team garden activities.

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In a A Living Library's science classes, students discussed the severe drought in California and explored the concept of using local resources in the garden. Together, the classes made the water-wise choice to create a garden that reuses water from the sink in our garden kitchen.

Students cleared out an area next to the sink and shaped the earth into a "Grey water Oasis" complete with an island, native flowers, herbs and cattail pond. Now the water we use to wash hands and dishes has created a vibrant ecosystem enjoyed by the students as well as the butterflies and hummingbirds. A.L.L. Green Futures Eco-Stewards in the after-school program decided to repurpose the old garden sink into a new Worm Farm and built a frame and walls. The A.L.L Eco-Stewards learned how to make a sketch of their idea, measure the wood pieces, and safely use saws, hammers and nails to put together this cozy new home for the worms.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards measure and cut wood for Worm Farm and enjoy new Grey-Water Garden Oasis that they created.

During science class, students come into the garden to learn about healthy nutrition, harvest fresh vegetables, cook and share food together. In addition to the gardening and building projects, students harvested fresh chard, zucchini, kale, carrots, radishes, beans, and other vegetables from the Gardens and cooked a range of healthy dishes together.

Students prepared dishes with whole grains and vegetables including a tempeh stir fry with black rice, vegetable sushi, quinoa salad with greens and beets, as well as sweet treats such as rice pudding and oatmeal with fresh fruit and spices.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards wash and prepare vegetables they harvested in the garden.

 We wish to thank the students from James Denman Middle Schools and Leadership High School who cooperatively worked together to make many improvements in their Living Library & Think Park Gardens, Redwood Reading Circle, Farm Learning Zone, and Fruit Orchard this Fall. We are thankful for the recent rains and looking forward to a Spring 2016 Semester filled with many fun days learning in the garden together!

By Grace Dowd
Sep30

A Living Library SF Fall ’15 After School Paid Internship Programs: A.L.L.Eco-Stewards & A.L.L. Green Futures

FALL15 ALL EcoStewards Flyer IMAGE San Francisco, CA:  Happy Fall to all! A Living Library is pleased to offer a range of PAID after school Internships & Leadership Opportunities to High School & Middle School students this semester. For High School Students to Age 24: FALL15 ALL EcoStewards Flyer IMAGE Click the Links to view/download PDFs: FALL15 ALL Eco-Stewards Flyer Fall15 ALL Eco-Stewards Application FALL15 Green Futures Flyer HD IMG FALL15 A.L.L. Green Futures Flyer FALL15 ALL Green Futures Application Please contact Grace to discuss internship opportunities. Individualized internships may be available to suit the applicant's interests and strengths. Join the A.L.L. Team today to start cultivating a bright and healthy future in your neighborhood!    
Sep30

FREE Program For Parents & Children with A Living Library & Roosevelt Island Public Library

Please join us again for this exciting Free hands-on learning Program for PARENTS & CHILDREN TOGETHER in NYC on Roosevelt Island !

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A.L.L. Gardening, Literacy, Multi-Arts, Science, Nutrition,

Local History/Ecology 

FREE PROGRAM with

A LIVING LIBRARY & RI BRANCH PUBLIC LIBRARY

Wednesday Afternoons This Fall

September 30 – November 18 | 3:30-5:00 p.m.

RI Living Library & Think Park

Register Now at the RI Library - 524 Main Street, Roosevelt Island 

Enrollment Limited to 25 Families

(Caregivers included) with Children (ages 4-14)

TALK, THINK, FEEL & DO !!!!

Come Grow With Us!

For More Information Contact:

Nicole Nelson: 212-308-6243 / Premilla Dixit Hobbs: 845-443-0386

You can download the application here

Sep23

Artist Talk TONIGHT ! Evolution of Life Frames: Past, Present, Future by Bonnie Ora Sherk

Dear Friends! I would like to invite you, your friends and family to attend my talk on Evolution of Life Frames – Past, Present, Future – Wednesday, September 23, 7 pm, in Danforth Hall, adjacent to the Mills College Art Museum.  This talk is being given in conjunction with the Exhibition, Public Works - Artists Interventions, curated by Christian Frock and Tanya Zimbardo. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 12.33.06 pm TONIGHT : September 23, 2015 at Mills College Art Museum in Oakland.  7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College I hope to see you !  Pictured below on the announcement for the Exhibition, is my work:  Sitting Still l, when I was actually facing my future, in addition to demonstrating how a seated human figure can transform the environment. Come tonight to learn more !MCAM_PublicWorks_card-page-001
Sep06

Invitation to PUBLIC WORKS at Mills College Art Museum !

Greetings Friends !

I am very pleased to invite you, your friends and relations to the opening reception of Public Works - Artists’ Interventions on September 16, 6-8 pm, a group exhibition at Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, curated by Christian Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and the following week, to my illustrated talk on selected works - Past Present Future - on September 23, 7 pm, in Danforth Hall, adjacent to the Museum.

The exhibition features Sitting Still l (pictured on attached pdf announcement) and the Sitting Still Series among other artists' works. At the time that I created this work (1970), I was exploring the nature of what a performance could be, where it could be, and who could be an audience. With this work, I thought I was simply demonstrating how a seated human figure could easily transform an environment - but as it turns out, I was really doing much, much more.

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What I learned some years later, is that I was actually facing my future:

Sitting Still l took place in a neglected garbage area where water had collected due to the construction of the 101 Freeway Interchange at then called, Army & Potrero.  Sitting in the overstuffed armchair I found there, I faced the “audience” of people in slow-moving cars, and I also faced:

      • Exact site of what would become Crossroads Community (the farm) , a pioneering urban agriculture community farm, art and education center, and farm park that I developed beginning in 1974
      • Northern frame of Islais Creek Watershed along Cesar Chavez Street.
      • 101 Freeway Interchange at Army & Potrero that was being built, and that I am currently proposing to become the Northern Gateway to the Watershed.
      • And, amazingly enough, I was actually sitting in water from the Islais Creek, in a pond created due to the heavy construction. Today, I am seeing multiple opportunities to daylight the Creek throughout this Watershed to address flooding, climate change, and habitat restoration, and am working to achieve that goal.

Because of all of this powerful and profound synchronicity, I now consider Sitting Still l to be my Watershed Piece, all meanings and puns intended.

Please come to the opening on September 16, 6-8 PM and see the show, and return again for my talk on September 23 at 7 PM . I will discuss how all of this early work has led directly to what I am creating today and for the future with A Living Library, aka, A.L.L.

I look forward to seeing you soon ! Thank you. http://mcam.mills.edu/events/

Sending love and appreciation,
Bonnie Ora

Sep06

PUBLIC WORKS: ARTISTS’ INTERVENTIONS 1970s–NOW, September 16–December 13, 2015

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Oakland, CA—August 14, 2015.

The Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now on view from September 16 to December 13, 2015. Organized by the Mills College Art Museum, Public Works examines strategies of public practice by women artists from the 1970s to the present. The exhibition presents photography, prints, audio, video, and installations from a number of important historical and contemporary projects that explore the inherent politics and social conditions of creating art in public space.

Public Works moves beyond traditional views of public art as monumental and/or permanent artworks and instead focuses on often small but powerful temporary artistic interventions online and in the urban environment. Through various tactics, Public Works explores themes of public space, public expression, public action, public platforms, and public life through the evolving lens of participatory projects, socially engaged performance and political action, among other media.

Christian L. Frock notes, “When considering artists’ interventions in public space, the limits on public expression come into sharp focus, particularly if we also consider the recent backlash against peaceful protests and the rising dominance of private interests. Public Works broadly considers how artists subvert these limitations to advance freedom of expression on a number of salient issues defining public life, specifically in relation to encroaching technologies, personal liberty, gender equality and the environment, among other themes.”

“The desire to work independently outside of traditional venues and formats, to pursue collaboration and to encourage audience participation, informed the development of public practice since the 1970s. Key long-term projects in this survey demonstrate the potential for art to intervene and engage with public policy,” adds Tanya Zimbardo.

The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue of the same title features an introduction by Mills College Art Museum Director Stephanie Hanor, PhD, essays by curators Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo, and conversations and texts from María del Carmen Carrión, Courtney Fink, Leila Grothe, Valerie Imus, and Meredith Johnson.

The exhibition is supported in part by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.

@millsartmuseum; @publicworks_art; #publicworksintervene; #womenatwork; #millsartmuseum

Book Cover: Bonnie Ora Sherk, detail Sitting Still I, 1970. Courtesy the artist.

RELATED PUBLIC PROGRAMS (Visit http://mcam.mills.edu)

Opening Reception
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | 6:00-8:00 pm
MCAM

Artist Talk: Bonnie Ora Sherk
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Performance & Panel: On Freedom of Expression and Technology as Public Platform: Featuring a live Skype performance by Enar de Dios Rodríguez, a special multiple produced by Leah Rosenberg, and a panel discussion featuring exhibiting artists Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Stephanie Syjuco, and Favianna Rodriguez.
Sunday, October 4, 2015 | 3:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Curators Talk: Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 7:00 pm
Danforth Lecture Hall, Mills College

Jenifer K. Wofford: MaxiPad
Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission
Sunday, November 8, 2015 | TBA
Location: Oakland

Constance Hockaday: You Make a Better Wall Than a Window - The Tour
Southern Exposure Off-Site Commission
Sunday, December 6, 2015 | TBA
Location: SF Ferry Building

Artists in Exhibition:  Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Candy Chang, Minerva Cuevas, Agnes Denes, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Karen Finley, Coco Fusco, Guerrilla Girls, Sharon Hayes, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Suzanne Lacy, Marie Lorenz, Susan O’Malley, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds | Tamms Year Ten, Favianna Rodriguez, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.  Off-site commissions by Constance Hockaday and Jenifer K. Wofford.


ABOUT THE CURATORS:

Christian L. Frock is an independent curator, writer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is presently 2015 - 2016 Scholar in Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts. Her work focuses on the role of artists in social justice and public life. Invisible Venue, the alternative curatorial enterprise she founded and has directed since 2005, collaborates with artists to present art in the public realm, online and in the built environment. Her writing has been featured in the Guardian US, KQED Arts, NPR.org, Public Art Dialogue, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Frock has organized numerous interventions and site-specific commissions, including projects with EMERGENCY USA| Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Headlands Center for the Arts, Kala Art Institute, Oakland Main Public Library, and Mills College Art Museum, among others. She is presently visiting faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies, California College of the Arts, and San Francisco Art Institute. Chronicle Books released Frock’s first book, titled Unexpected Art, in March 2015. Her work is archived on www.invisiblevenue.com and www.visiblealternative.com. Frock possesses an MA in curatorial practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Tanya Zimbardo is the Assistant Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She co-curated four off-site SFMOMA commissions in outdoor and non-art spaces for the 2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson (2013) exhibition. At SFMOMA, Zimbardo co-organized Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards and The More Things Change, among other exhibitions. She has curated numerous screenings of film, video, and performance documentation at the museum and other venues. Her research and writing is primarily centered on conceptual art, performance, experimental media, and artist-run projects in California since the 1970s. She has co-authored and contributed texts to several publications including SFMOMA’s Open Space and most recently West Coast Visions, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. Zimbardo received her MA in curatorial practice from the California College of the Arts.

Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 am–4:00 pm and Wednesday 11:00 am–7:30 pm. Admission is FREE for all exhibitions and programs unless noted.

Jun16

Roosevelt Island A.L.L. Gardening, Literacy, Multi-Arts, Science, Nutrition, Local History/Ecology Free Program in NYC !

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May27

Green Skills Paid Internship for Youth – HS-21 years: A.L.L ECO Stewards Summer 2015

Sign Up NOW !  Space is limited,  Bring or Send your Application to St. Mary's Recreation Center, 95 Justin, San Francisco, CA 94110.  Page1  
© 2016 Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library

A Living Library, Life Frame, Think Park, & A.L.L. are registered trademarks

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