RestART was the first community art program I ever worked for. I assisted founder Becky Redelings for a semester and then ran the program for another two seasons. She taught me the foundation of what it can look like to be an equal parts educator, artist and community organizer. RestART offered collaborative mural projects at community centers across Madison for kids who had gotten in trouble with the law. At the end of the semester, we threw a big city-wide youth gallery night, showcased all of their projects among friends and family, and then their charges got dropped. It was my first taste of restorative justice and as an organizer of people and spaces.
Becky moved onto other opportunities after our first semester together. In a surprising twist of fate, though, I soon found that a grant proposal I’d submitted as a class assignment got picked up by The Puffin Foundation. That summer I received a $1,000 check in the mail for a second youth gallery night. I ended up running weekly programming for RestART (now with my own assistants) for another two semesters, partnering with Girls Inc. at Goodman Community Center and the teen program at Lussier Community Center just outside of my old high school. I’m not sure where I’d be today without Becky and RestART.
Make Something! Installation
Organizing in-person art workshops during COVID times is strange, but once in a while you still manage to catch a little bit of magic. On a sunny Saturday in February, 9 teenagers from every corner of Los Angeles County came together for a poster design/wheatpaste...