Historic Site as Maker Space: Creating Belonging
Historic house museums aren't typically seen as maker spaces, but the Gamble House can ignite the imagination like few other houses can. In collaboration with Side Street Projects, which operates mobile artist studios for underserved youth, the organizations are creating ongoing programs for families who have faced numerous barriers to participation in quality programs that provide a safe space for hands-on artistic experiences that support a sense community belonging.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
K-12 STEAM Education
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
The Gamble House (GH) is a public asset that has focused on serving adults but is making inroads in serving youth. We want our visitation to mirror the makeup of our community and we understand the need that low-income families have to find quality, free programming. The house is positioned to serve as a gathering place to pursue artistic and educational passions. Side Street Projects' (SSP) mobile studios provide an entry point for young people to access modern tools to flex their creative muscles, learn the craft of woodworking and develop skills in a curriculum that is decreasing in PUSD's schools. We want the GH to serve as a source of inspiration for our youth. Our location provides an environment where SSP's artists and GH staff can create unique experiences for underserved families. Our hope is that they will see the GH as a safe place to gather and create handmade objects that stimulate an appreciation for art, architecture, surrounded by the peaceful environment the GH offers.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Together with SSP, we'll offer youth-specific programs through a variety of free events. At our 2nd annual Family Day on Oct. 21, 6th and 7th graders who've been trained as Jr Docents through our collaboration with PUSD will give family tours of the GH. SSP artists will setup their mobile studios and host woodworking workshops for children ages 5 and up. We will collect contact information from participating families and keep them informed of upcoming opportunities. During the holidays, SSP will offer vintage toy workshops in their mobile studios for children ages 5 and up. Kids will have the opportunity to tour the house and participate in activities on our beautiful grounds. We'll expand our participation in the annual Museums of the Arroyo Day (running for 33 years) to feature SSP artists and their drop-in wooden suncatcher workshops for kids. In spring 2024, we'll offer two drop-in program days that coincide with spring break and Children's Book Week. The culmination of our pilot year will be 2, week-long summer camps in June for children ages 9-12. One week of camp will focus on architectural modeling, and one will focus on furniture models. Both will utilize the house as a primary source for learning and inspiration. Camp will take place in various locations inside and around the GH and in SSP's mobile vehicles where students will create their projects. Students will be inspired and learn from SSP artists along with staff, architects, and craftspeople supporting the GH.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Success to us is seeing a range of people who represent different ages and backgrounds participating in programs at the GH on an ongoing basis and working with us and SSP to create future programs that meet their needs. Partnering with SSP and artists who strive for inclusion of underserved people in our community will allow us to provide opportunities for families who might not feel comfortable walking onto our grounds. The GH is a valuable public asset where everyone should feel a sense of belonging. Working with SSP, we will give kids an avenue to learn about art and architecture in a unique way. With community input, we hope to create a sustainable collaboration that families in Pasadena will take pride in, similar to initiatives that the GH and SSP have created with PUSD.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We will be successful if underserved youth can say they feel welcome and included at the GH and were given the opportunity to handmake a piece of art with SSP. Each participant will be asked to answer a few simple questions that will inform us of their experience. The first free program in October, Family Day, will help us establish a baseline. We will create a rubric that will determine a few basic measures of success (e.g., number of kids who finished their projects, number of kids visiting the GH for the first time, number of families who indicate they will return, etc.) and use these results to fine-tune our program leading into the holiday vintage toy workshops. With each hosted event, we intend to learn and implement changes along the way. Increasingly, the community will help guide program development.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 950
Indirect Impact: 2,850
Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.
Since 1992, SSP's mobile classrooms have been teaching design and fabrication to local youth through hands on woodworking. Their four mobile workshops are custom fabricated and designed to allow students to dive into a complex project. SSP can adjust to meet students where they are post-covid through asset mapping, program evaluation, and re-training teaching artists. Their goal is to bring students back to the art of hand making pieces and holding space for organic discovery. SSP collaborates with community partners to make programs free to youth who cannot afford it. SSP and the GH's relationship began in 2008 through a collaboration with PUSD's My Masterpiece immersive art program. We want to take our partnership to the next level by providing free workshops through our unique spaces.