What exactly is Tumblewheel Studios?
Tumblewheel Studios is a self-contained, mobile art classroom, fashioned from a mid-sized, modified school bus. This project focuses on bringing affordable arts education to underfunded schools and underserved communities. During the months of June, July, August, and September of 2018, I am planning to host a series of workshops at community events around Portland, Oregon. These workshops will provide community members the opportunity to learn and experience affordable ways to engage in art making. The intent behind these events is to raise awareness for Tumblewheel Studios as a viable volunteer art program, and build contacts for potential future community integrations. Initial workshops will utilize preexisting events, such as street fairs, art walks, or farmer’s markets. The final event will take place during the first Thursday reception in September at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), and will coincide with the opening of the Time Based Arts Festival (TBA) hosted by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA).
Each workshop will serve as an example of proposed curriculum, touching on a wide breadth of art making techniques. I intend to bring on one visiting artist for each event who specializes in the medium being explored. There will be emphasis placed on projects that utilize inexpensive or free materials to show that art can be made anywhere with almost anything.
Community is a driving force behind Tumblewheel Studios. This project involves the audience in its conception, creation and presentation. I am interested in building community through collaboration. In this learning environment, both parties simultaneously become teacher and student. It is my goal to provide participants the tools to articulate themselves creatively, as well as a platform to express their ideas.
Tumblewheel Studios is focussed on art that is accessible to the public, civic in scope, and prompts the viewer to act. I truly believe that art has the ability to transcend boundaries and bridge divides, be they social, economic, etcetera. The arts are consistently underfunded, underestimated, and underappreciated. I believe Tumblewheel Studios would allow me to share the skills of expression, help others tell their own stories, and strengthen the benefits of artistic community. Art is a common thread overcoming all barriers, providing an outlet for human emotion and growth; I understand creative processes as a way to learn about yourself and the world. Art is a way to question, reason, and explain when others ways are inadequate, blocked, or lacking.
Tumblewheel Studios will manifest as a gutted and remodeled mid-sized school bus. The interior of the classroom will be outfitted with a long work counter, running the length of the bus on one side. There will be cupboard style storage above the windows for art supplies, as well as cupboards intermittently underneath the counter that serve both as more storage, as well as supports for the counter. On the other side of the bus there will be roughly three work tables. The existing seats will be used as benches for the tables, every other one being flipped so that there is a bench facing the table on either side. A rack system will be installed on the roof of the bus to hold collapsible plastic tables. These tables will be set up during the events to ensure each project is ADA accessible. Folding chair storage, as well additional supplies will be stored in compartments underneath. A retractable awning will be affixed to the exterior (door side) of the bus to provide the collapsible tables with shade during events. Tumblewheel Studios will also be equipped with an extra battery (most likely a golf cart battery) to run interior and exterior lights during evening workshops. Eventually, I would like to install solar panels on the roof of the bus in order to offset this additional power source.
I am currently pursuing grant opportunities and hope to secure the bus by late February, and begin build out immediately. This spring I will be finalizing workshop lesson plans and confirming additional venues and guest artists.
Risks and challenges
Tumblewheel Studios poses a number of unique challenges, primarily those surrounding the renovation and build-out of the school bus. As a visual artist, I believe whole heartedly in being as well rounded and diverse as possible; the broader the skill set, the better. If I don't know how to do something, I will find someone who does and have them teach me. While in attendance at the Pacific Northwest College of Art I met incredibly talented individuals whose collective knowledge has been an invaluable asset time and again. I have no doubt that the close knit community of artists I call peers would be more than happy to contribute their knowledge to this project.
In addition to my colleagues, there are a number of reputable websites with forums dedicated to the remodeling of busses that address potential problems. I am also fortunate enough to have a partner in this process, my husband, who currently runs the 3-D facilities at a local college. With our combined knowledge of various fabrication techniques, and passion for the arts, I have no doubt there isn't any problem we can't solve.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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