On 21st Street in Sacramento lives a center of arts, activism, and culture called Sol Collective. It is a community gathering place that focuses on arts, activism, and culture with young people.
Over nine years ago, Sol Collective was formed. There was a lot of ideas behind putting this center together, but Estella Sanchez, Director of Sol Collective, saw that there wasn’t a lot of activities for youth in their communities that were engaging, fun, and was what they wanted to do. Sanchez wanted to create a space that young people could come to which would offer different programs to would engage youth and even older people.
Sol Collective has different workshops that teach kids about the arts that they are interested in. For youth interested in music, the collective has a beat-lab, a recording studio, DJing equipment and they host different workshops that train you on how to use this equipment. In the past, Sol Collective has collaborated with local DJs to put on a DJ workshop for young girls, helping them follow their dream to becoming DJs.
For youth interested in art, they have different art galleries up and host different workshops that teach breath-taking art workshops. On one recent weekend ,a collective called Sublevarte Collective, a group of Mexican artists that use art for activism, came to teach a printmaking workshop. Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, usually on paper, to show that art can be used for activism.
Sol Collective also hosts different events at a wide range of venues. They just hosted an event at the Crocker Art Museum called Art Mix-Hip Hop. The Art Mix-Hip Hop commemorated everything from beat-making, emceeing, DJing, and sampling. There was performances from ZFG, Foreign Native, Native Children and many more.
Sol Collective also teaches youth about social justice issues. They hold the Sac Activist School, which covers different social justice issues around the world. The Sac Activist School even held a class on the tension on the issues that are going on in Palestine on July 24th.
“I have reached my initial goal, we have created a place that allowed the community to come in, and young people can come and feel comfortable, take ownership of it, come record in the studio, come check out an all ages music show, and be apart of meetings,” says Sanchez. “But the goals are always changing. It’s our ninth year, my goal now is to own our building, so when I’m done with this work, I can hand over to young people, so you guys can have a place into the community and make sure young people have a place always.”
If you would like more information about Sol Collective and the different events its hosting visit its page at https://www.facebook.com/ArtCultureActivism or just stop by Sol Collective at 2574 21st St.
Yeshahyah Yisrael activism, arts, bhc, Building Healthy Communities Initiative, Culture, education, Girls On Deck, Neighborhood News Corespondent, NNC Stories, sol collective, Technology, youth 0 Comment
Sol Collective hosted of series of workshops that helped young girls follow their dreams of becoming a DJ.
Sacramento rap artists Kahlil Redick, Breon Thuston-Hill, and Matty Matt all got together on Friday, February 14th to record a song for an upcoming mixtape. The vibe was right as each artist stepped into the recording booth and rapped their verses on the song.
“I’ve only been in here a few nights, and I can already hear the improvement in the quality of my music”, Kahlil says. “Sol has set the roots for Sacramento’s upcoming artists, I would still be at the house if it wasn’t for this place”
Eric Tagg uses Logic Pro to engineer his client’s music. It’s a recording program made specifically for Mac products. He looks at the recordings like a musical puzzle, putting the right pieces together to build a song. Tagg took a class in an Los Angeles music production school to learn the program mechanics.
“We’re serious about our work in here”, says Tagg. “I only do sessions with people that can show me that they’re passionate about their music.”
Tagg believes that being connected to someone on a personal level amplifies the quality of the music. He takes on the responsibility of showing the Sacramento youth the proper way to record and present their work.
Creativity is abundant in the recording studio. Tribal paintings and bright red sound dampening foam coat the walls of the room. Its ambiance sparks the intuition within the artists that record there.
Space at Sol Collective is available to the community for event use. Click here to access the Sol Collective Facebook page. Interest parties can email Anand, the Sol Collective music production coordinator, at Anand@solcollective.org for more information.
Sacramento’s art scene is one of enormous complexity – with several dozen galleries in the Midtown area alone, it is easy to find a variety of art styles. The art community in this city is so large that every second Saturday of the month there is an event designed to showcase it all – 2nd Saturday Sacramento. It is a collaborative effort between 41 art galleries located “on the grid”, a network of businesses in downtown and midtown. This event has exposed many artists to patrons from all over the city, creating an exciting cultural event for both families and art lovers. However, this concentration of attention to galleries on the grid often overlooks “off the grid” art houses with equally inspiring, attractive, relevant pieces simply because of their location. One such place is The Brickhouse Art Gallery on 36th Street.
The Brickhouse Art Gallery is housed in a historic building in Oak Park. Built in 1924, it was originally a sheet metal factory that was only converted to an art gallery about ten years ago. The building has changed very little since the 1900s- there are only two spaces that have been added onto the original structure. But this is only part of what makes this gallery so special. In addition to being one of the few art galleries that exhibits pieces of all mediums, it is also extremely multicultural and offers a variety of ethnic groups the opportunity to showcase art that represents their personal history and the beauty within their community.
“I really try to make sure that I represent everybody here,” says Director and Curator Barbara Range, the driving force behind the high-quality programs offered here. “I make sure we represent the ethnic minority groups because we are often left out of the midtown or the high-end galleries. Very rarely will you see us in many of those galleries. But that doesn’t mean that coming here I don’t represent everybody- we represent everybody here. You can be abstract, photography, it’s wide open. So there’s no one particular genre of art that I focus on. Art is very broad. It encompasses some of everything.”
This art gallery is the first of a series of developments meant to create several cultural attractions in the Oak Park area. With the opening of two other art galleries just down the block, the hope is that it will create an artistic hub that will bring more foot traffic and business to a blossoming part of town. In addition, several upscale coffee houses and restaurants have opened in the area- like Old Soul Co.- which have the potential of servicing art viewers with snacks and beverages while they browse the beautiful and creative pieces on display just around the corner.
Great art needs a great audience, and that has always been provided for at the Brickhouse Art Gallery, which consistently encourages the community to bring family and friends in for a dynamic visual experience. Most importantly, Ms. Range wants to see more children take part in art appreciation.
“I applaud families that bring the kids out. It isn’t just for adults. This is something that you can learn as early as two years old. You are born with it. You start out scribbling- and being attracted to color. So it starts very early. You can never begin too early. The sooner you begin the better. But we need more parents to engage- bring their children out to the art galleries. There’s always someone there to help you and walk you through, talk you through the art, and see what your visions and missions are about art within your families and in your community.”
The philosophy of the Brickhouse Art Gallery is one without judgement- anyone and everyone can create art. This is fundamentally different than many other art galleries in the area, which sometimes refuse to showcase pieces because of their inability to understand the cultural, aesthetic, or ideological message behind them. Ms. Range explains the difficulty her gallery has had in attracting critics from local papers to review the pieces on display, in addition to the challenges some of her artists have faced when trying to get their pieces in front of an audience. But for anyone with an interest in creative expression of all medias, her gallery is an excellent place to discover our individual artistic preferences.
“How can you judge what’s arts and what’s not art?” asks Range. “A person that creates art is an artist to me. And they are creating art in the best art form that they know how. And it’s up to me to help their interpretation by exposing it to an audience.”
The Brickhouse Art Gallery is located at 2837 36th street, Sacramento, CA 95817. Upcoming exhibits include “The Charles White & Charles Aston Experience”, as well as a graffiti and street art exhibit coming in June. For more information, please visit www.thebrickhousegallery.net.
For me as a Hmong American born child, life in this country was tough growing up. I had little interaction with the Hmong community and culture, so because of this, I lost the ability to speak the language fluently. I was surrounded by Caucasian and Hispanic people, so on a full-time basis, I spoke only English. I learned in English, I wrote in English, and I read in English. It was inevitable that one day I’d lose my ties to my Hmong heritage. It became a struggle to find my identity within these two different cultures.
I would ask myself, “Why couldn’t I be a white kid? Why did I have to be born Hmong?” I just wanted to fit in with the rest of the kids. I was tired of being made fun of.
“Hey Steve,” my friend would ask me. “Did you know your people killed many Americans back then?” I would go ahead and laugh with his joke, while deep inside, it truly hurt me. I would smile and reply, “I’m not Vietnamese, I’m American.” I tried my best back then to act as white as I could, so that the other kids would accept me. All I wanted was to be treated like a human being, and to stop being stereotyped as a “Gook.”
Kids are cruel, but they didn’t know any better. Now that I’m 20 years old and finally reconnecting with a culture that I pushed aside all those years ago, I’ve come to understand many things.
James Emery, an anthropologist and journalist who has studied the Hmong people, says that “With the erosion of traditional certainties and wisdom comes a more serious crisis of identity.” Dr. Yang Dao, the first Hmong person in the world to ever receive a doctoral degree, says that “Hmong culture is the soul of the Hmong people,” says Yang Dao. “If the young people lose their culture, the Hmong soul will die.”
Everything was so black-and-white when I was younger, I was either Hmong or American, and there was no gray area. I will always be an American. I was taught American values and beliefs, and I went to American schools, but no matter what happens I will always be Hmong. My goal in the future is to help Hmong Americans, learn the importance of understanding and embracing their cultural heritage.
If the young people of our generation lose their culture and don’t know who they are, they will never learn to respect themselves or other people. To learn and teach the Hmong community about the importance of preserving our cultural traditions and history is my goal, but it’s also important that we learn to embrace the Western culture as a community as well, because despite what anyone says, this country is our home. May we all find the joy and happiness of growing up in the best of both worlds.
“A Time to Think”
This week LiveWire welcomes guests from EMH Productions. They will be on the show to tell us about their upcoming play My Fellow Creatures” by Michael Rubenfeld. The play is a moving and thought provoking. It is about 2 men serving time in prison and the story explores many facets of these men and thier experiences in being human together in prison. “My Fellow Creatures” premieres Friday, September 14th and runs through October 14th at the Wilkerson Theater in the midtown area of Sacramento.
For more details about “My Fellow Creatures” log on to EMHpros.weebly.com.
Also on the show this week will be guests from The Oneness Peace Project. They will be telling us about their upcoming event “The Oneness Peace Festival 2012”. Their goal is to create a “a celebration of Intercultural & Spiritual Oneness” in Sacramento. They want people to be thoughtful in their ways and come together as a community. The “Oneness Peace Festival 2012” is happening on September 15th and 16th at Rio Maraza Marina & Event Park at 10000 Garden Highway in Sacramento.
For details about The Oneness Peace Project and The Oneness Peace Festival please visit OnenessPeaceFestival.com
Tune in to LiveWire on Wednesday, September 5th at 5pm on Access Sacramento channel 17 or watch the simulcast online at www.AccessSacramento.org and click ‘watch 17’.
Being born in Thailand and coming to the states when I was 2, I don’t remember the struggles and hardships back in my home country. I know we lived in a harsh refugee camp, had little money and was barely fed. Being curious, I asked my mother what we ate back then. Casually speaking, she told me of the delicious giant rats that kept me alive to this day.
You hear it all over the city. The Vietnamese eat dogs and cats? Those tacos are made of cow tongue?! Better yet, sometimes you’ll smell it. Mien people love eating squirrel. To eat it, you must torch the fur. It gives off a foul, unnerving stench. Then depending on the cook, broil or roast the meat. My mother says it has a chicken taste to it, but I won’t eat it. It’s just simply amazing how other ethnic foods fascinate and scare us.
These eggs to my left aren’t normal eggs, they are aborted duck eggs. A delicacy in some cultures. From experience, I can say after you get over the tiny duckling inside, the meal is quite appetizing. Especially if eaten with homemade sauces of pepper, garlic and cilantro
Maybe some foods aren’t that different at all. I’ve read books about travels on sea of pirates and sailors. These men ate turtles as usual meals. In Sacramento, some folks don’t just find turtles are the pet store. Go to an Asian supermarket and you will find exotic creatures in the food aisles. The turtles, maybe some live frogs, sea snails and many more!
Being adventurous, I want to travel when I get older. Distant countries and even states will have different atmospheres with different foods. By then, I hope that I would have the courage to tackle these foods and taste a little of our different but similar cultures.
Going through high school, I’ve been asked, “Where are you from?” count-less times. On each occasion, the person wasn’t asking about my birthplace, and it really didn’t bother me. Where I was born. What cultures and traditions my ancestors believed in. None of it. I was just an American who didn’t care about my origins.
After each incident and trouble that I’ve brought home, my mother would always restate that I have a chance in life. “I’m the dumb one. That’s why we struggle. You must go through school and live a better life than me. That’s why we came here.”
I began to question, why leave our own country? Most ethnics groups come to America to give their kids a better education, but with blessings, there comes casualties. Most Americanized kids and adults can’t even speak their native tongues, yet alone understand it. It’s sad that I sometimes can’t find words to explain my accomplishments to my mother.
Traditional foods are getting replaced with fast food, candy and unhealthy snacks. I don’t understand why people all over the world would pay for a unique, exotic meal that originated from another country. When the ethnic kids at home would rather choose to skip it.
I wonder how many people truly understand the history of their race, of the struggles their parents and grandparents went through to give you your ticket to the pursuit of happiness. Minorities are slowly losing and forgetting their cultures. Worse off, no one really takes the time to learn about other ethnic groups outside of their own. Maybe if everyone understood other ethnic backgrounds, there would be a mutual respect. One built on the relation of our common struggles.
Recently LiveWire featured a guest, Roberto Lopez from La Raza Galeria Posada. He was on the show to tell us about thier new space “Miller Park Art Complex: Home of La Raza Galeria Posada”. The location at 2700 front Street is opening Saturday, June 23rd and is hosting a very special event benefiting the Academia de los Artes Education Program. They will hae live music and many special guests from the local arts community including guests from Teatro Espejo and Sol Collective.
To find out more please visit LaRazaGaleriaPosada.org