Using cultural strategies to bring Creative Resilience to life
The Educational Workshops and Student Engagement
Spitfire partnered with the People’s Project, a Los Angeles nonprofit powered by the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, to produce Creative Resilience, an artful community experience that amplified the voices of BIPOC Angeleno workers, sounded the call for economic justice and celebrated the city’s vibrant cultural history of resilience. The 10-day event took place in October 2022 in the heart of Los Angeles’s bustling arts district. For the project, Spitfire transformed a 10,000-square-foot raw warehouse space into a creative hub and gathering space full of joy and celebration focused on economic and racial justice. Spitfire commissioned work from 50 artists and performers and brought together activists, celebrities and local leaders to celebrate the working people who make up the heart and soul of Los Angeles.
Spitfire also partnered with local organizations and leaders to host a series of workshops to help community members learn new skills that promote economic stability and creativity.
Over the span of the 10-day artful community experience, Spitfire planned and coordinated 10 workshops with topics as diverse as the Los Angeles workforce. Workshop topics included screenwriting, poetry, gardening, photography and tenants’ rights. The goals were to lift up BIPOC leaders in Los Angeles and to live the values of mutual aid, sharing skills and resources among the community to help everyone thrive.
- Two writing workshops for kids and young adults with 826 LA.
- Screenwriting workshop with John Broadway, screenwriter and founder of Artivists United.
- Teen photography workshop with Las Fotos Project.
- Soil building and food justice workshop with Compton Community Garden.
- Housing workshop to prevent evictions with LA Tenant Union.
- Voter registration workshop for Spanish speakers with CHIRLA.
- Poetry and spoken word workshops with Get Lit.
- Dance workshop with Contra Tiempo, an activist dance theater.
- Mural workshop with indigenous artist, Mer Young.
Student Engagement at Creative Resilience
As part of the 10-day artful community experience, Spitfire also planned, coordinated and ran a special day at the space for 150 middle school and high school students from South Los Angeles.
It’s rare that BIPOC youth visit an art exhibit and see images of themselves and their families depicted in the art on the walls. “I love that one because it reminds me of my mom. She’s also a domestic worker,” said one student during a tour of the exhibit, pointing to a protest poster from the workers’ rights movement. These were the kinds of conversations that we hoped to elicit on student day.
As part of the tour, students learned about the history of the workers’ rights movement and what’s possible when we organize and dream of a brighter future for ourselves, our families and our communities. Spitfire partnered with Two Tigers Productions to develop the curriculum for the tour, which was led by volunteer docents from the community. The curriculum also included resources that teachers could use to talk about mutual aid and the workers’ rights movement. For many of the participating students, this was the one field trip they got to go on all year.
In addition to touring the art exhibit, students also created their own art as part of the experience! Our partners, Hit and Run, screenprinted shirts on-site designed for students that reflected the event’s mission, including one design that read: “I am creative & resilient.” There was also a photo booth run by Oh Snap! and a button-making station.
Student day was a cornerstone of the Creative Resilience event, engaging the next generation in the fight for justice and helping them to imagine what the future could be if we support each other.