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The Art Float for Social Change

The Art Float for Social Change approaches the judges at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, where it won the ‘Best Community Spirit Award’. Photo by Dana Dworin.

Behold the Art Float for Social Change! 

We created this parade float at Tam Makers in spring 2018, to engage more people to participate in community life and democracy.

This community art project was led by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley, co-founders of Tam Makers, with the support of Good Earth Natural Foods, the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN) and Tamalpais High School. This parade float was built in our state-of-the-art wood shop and makerspace at Tam High, with over a hundred community members of all ages and backgrounds — including makers, artists, activists, students, parents and staff.

The Art Float for Social Change features Mother Earth and a circle of hands, pulled by the dragon Quetzy, created by Howard Rheingold and Pataphysical Studios. They invite you to vote, speak up and create a better world! The art on the carousel was created by winners of the Youth Poster Contest. Our performers include Emma Spike, Sheri Cooper and Clancy Bounds, as well as the Freedom Singers and their sing-along leaders Greg Brodbank, Wayne Lechner and Marilyn Price.

The Art Float was first unveiled on Earth Day and made its official debut at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, where we received the ‘Best Community Spirit Award’. We will show the Art Float again at the Fairfax Festival and Fourth of July Parade in Corte Madera — and throughout California this fall, to encourage people to vote in the midterms election. Our traveling art show will reach out to youth and people of color through art, music, and technology.

You can see the Art Float in action in this video (also embedded below), in this Facebook photo album or in this full photo album on Flickr. Learn more with this Independent Journal article about our float, the IJ’s photo coverage of Memorial Day, as well as our own photos of Earth Day and how the Art Float was created.

As shown in this video, the Art Float for Social Change inspired thousands of spectators at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, where it won the ‘Best Community Spirit Award’. Performers included  Emma Spike and the Freedom Singers. Video by Luis Costa, Fabrice Florin and Marin Weatherspoon.

Join us at the Fairfax Parade

We invite you to march with us at the Fairfax Parade on June 9, 2018, 10am-1pm, along with our sponsors Good Earth, the Freedom Singers and our environmental partners 350Marin and friends. If you would like to march with us, please email  float@tammakers.org. We also plan to bring the float to the Fourth of July Parade in Corte Madera.

Volunteer for the Art Float

Would you like to help present the art float this summer? Join our crew for one of these events:

During these events, we need help with: loading, driving, coordination, security, setup, photos, sound, video, greeting, hosting, packing, unloading.

If you would like to give us a hand on any of these dates, email us at<float@tammakers.org> for more instructions. You can sign up for the whole day, or just for the morning or afternoon shift.

Photos from Memorial Day

Here are some photos of the Art Float debut at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. You can see more pictures in our Memorial Day photo album.


The Art Float for Social Change at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, with a sing-along led by the Freedom Singers. Photo by Fabrice Florin.


Young activist Emma Spoke sings on the Art Float for Social Change, with Eileen Fisher as Mother Earth and Greg Brockbank of the Freedom Singers. Photo by Fabrice Florin.

A group picture of the Art Float crew and its supporters at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. Photo by Suz Lipman.

Art Float creators Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. Photo by Martha Ture.

Photos from Earth Day

Here are some photos of our first Art Float unveiling on Earth Day at Tam High. You can see more pictures in our photo album.

An early version of the Art Float was unveiled on Earth Day at Tam High School, to inspire more people to participate in democracy. Photo by Howard Rheingold.

Art Float creators Geo Monley show off their unique parade float, with a large globe spinning over a circle of hands and a carousel of art, while performer Kayla Campbell sings about youth in action. Photo by Tim Pozar.

The Art Float features the colorful dragon Quetzy, created by Howard Rheingold and inspired by the Aztec god of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. Photo by Martha Ture.

Young artist Emma Spike sings her original composition, ‘Custodians’ to invite people to take action to protect the environment, standing on the Art Float’s podium on Earth Day. Photo by Jenny Tomkins.

Young activist Mimi Lawrence speaks up about her climate change on the Art Float’s podium, which was created to help people share their ideas for a better world. Photo by Fabrice Florin.

A young artist shows off her painting for the Art Float’s art carousel, which also features original creations by the winners of the Youth Poster Contest. Photo by Fabrice Florin.

Musician Reed Fromer sings about climate change next to the Art Float, which was created to help people share their ideas for a better world. Photo by Fabrice Florin.

You can also view photos of the making of the Art Float in this special photo album on Flickr.

An early design session for the Art Float, which was created to help people share their ideas for a better world. Photo by Chris Krueger.

Thank you!

Thanks to all our friends, neighbors, partners and community members who made this project possible!

The Art Float was created by Fabrice Florin, Geo Monley and over a hundred volunteers at Tam Makers, with the gracious support of Good Earth, the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), Tamalpais High School and the Youth Poster Contest.

Kudos to our float construction crew, led by David Barr, Pierina Dell’Avo, Chris Krueger, James Long, Chris Scofield, Pam and Stan Weatherspoon, to name but a few — they all worked tirelessly, above and beyond the call of duty, to bring you this experience. Tip of the hat as well to Howard Rheingold for creating the colorful Quetzy dragon, along with Freddy Hahne, Jean Bolte, Phyllis Florin, Mark Petrakis and others at Pataphysical Studios.

Many thanks to our talented performers Emma Spike, Sheri Cooper and Clancy Bounds, Reed Fromer, as well as Greg Brodbank, Wayne Lechner, Marilyn Price and all the Freedom Singers. We are also very grateful to our wonderful videographers Luis Costa, David Donnenfield, Bob Harlow, Tim Pozar, Kim Spencer and Marin Witherspoon, as well as our gracious photographers Dana Dworin, Vickisa Feinberg, Fabrice Florin, Suz Lipman, Howard Rheingold, Grace Severtson and Martha Ture.

Special thanks as well to our partners Jessica Hurtado at Good Earth, June Cooperman and Eileen Fisher at MVCAN and Bruce Burtch at the Youth Poster Contest. We are deeply grateful to our event team Carol Korenbrot and Marilyn Price and our ‘art float widows’ Phyllis Florin and Meryl Rubenstein, who kept us all organized, happy and well fed. Last but not least, we wish to thank all our gracious parade organizers: Larry ‘The Hat’ Lautzker, Paul Moe and Erma Murphy (Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade), Cynthia Briggs (Fairfax Festival) and all the nice folks at the Corte Madera Fourth of July Parade for hosting these important community events, year after year.

We really appreciate all your creativity, enthusiasm and generous support! We hope this community art project will inspire even more people to participate in democracy. We invite you all to vote, speak up and create a better world!

Learn more about the Art Float on our project pageplanning pageMemorial Day photo album, Art Float Creation albumdesign spec. For more info, email us at float@tammakers.org

We hope to see you soon!

Fabrice Florin
Geo Monley

Co-founders/Teachers, Tam Makers
Team Leaders, Art Float for Social Change

This page was adapted from our project page on the Tam Makers site.

Earth Day 2018

We celebrated Earth Day with a wonderful afternoon of art, music and talks about protecting our environment. Hundreds of activists, artists, environmentalists and youth gathered to pay tribute to Mother Earth at Tamalpais High School’s Student Center in Mill Valley on April 22, 2018. For a quick overview of our community celebration, watch our video slideshow (shown above).

We started the day with the first public showing of our Art Float for Social Change. This unique parade float was created by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley with over a hundred volunteers in the Tam Makers collective, to inspire more people to participate in democracy. Pictured here is young singer Emma Spike, who performed ‘Custodians’,her original composition about climate change.

A large globe spun over a circle of hands and a carousel of art, pulled by a colorful dragon. The feathered dragon was inspired by Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wisdom, and created by Howard Rheingold, Fabrice Florin and friends at Pataphysical Studios and Tam Makers (see photo below).

Activists of all ages stood on the decorated stage to share their ideas for a better world, including young singer Emma Spike (shown in the cover photo), Kayla Campbell, Mimi Lawrence, Eileen Fisher and more.

Many more painted original posters about the earth, which were featured on the float carousel. We are grateful to Bruce Burtch and his team at Youth Poster Contest (he is pictured below), for working with our volunteers Sarah Acker and Vanitha Sampath to coach young people in this art activity.

Dozens of environmental partners showed participants how we can all take action to reverse global warming — organizations like the Drawdown Marin (pictured above), Sierra Club, Resilient Neighborhoods and 350 Marin, to name but a few.

Our guest speakers were Mark Squire from Good Earth, Crystal Chissel from Project Drawdown, Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly and young local activists: they gave informative talks on a wide range of solutions to curb climate change.

Participants also learned to plant a veggie garden, ride an electric bike, while others registered to vote (we helped 5 teenagers pre-register to vote at this event) .

We ended the day with music performances by the charming Twinkling Stars of Singers Marin, led by Dana Cherry (pictured above), as well as young singer Emma Spike (see cover photo).

Music director Reed Fromer (pictured above) led moving sing-alongs with the Freedom Singers and Mill Valley Seniors for Peace (see photo below).

Earth Day 2008 brought together diverse groups of people who might not have connected otherwise: activists, artists, environmentalists, makers, children, teenagers, teachers and parents. We are particularly grateful to all the young activists who participated in our celebration, including Jackson Darby, Ben Kanter, Jillian Hickey and Elly Blatcher (pictured below with their ‘Don’t Bug Me’ exhibit) and their teacher Joanna Saunders from the Marin School of Environmental Leadership .

This community gathering was produced by Democracy CafeEco Warriors of MVCAN and Tam Makers, with the generous support of Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), Good Earth, Driver’s Market, Sloat Garden Supply and all our gracious partners, who are listed below.

Thanks to event organizers Fabrice Florin, Marilyn Price, Jennifer Tomkins, Geo Monley, Carol Korenbrot, Elspeth Martin, Grace Severtson, Laurie Riley — and all the wonderful volunteers who helped produce this inspiring event.

Special thanks to the photographers who took the pictures featured on this page: Bruce Burtch, Fabrice Florin, Bill Jensen, Howard Rheingold, Grace Severtson, Jenny Tomkins and Martha Ture (and to the videographers whose work will soon appear above: David Donnenfield, Tim Pozar, Bob Harlow and Chris Scofield). View more of their work on our Earth Day photo album

We think making art, playing music and talking with people of all ages and backgrounds can build mutual understanding and get us all more engaged as citizens. Join your neighbors to make political art and music, and take action together to create a better world!

To see more images of our Art Float in action, visit our photo album on Flickr and/or our favorite photos on Facebook. To see how we are building it, take a look at our Art Float Creation photos. Once you see how much fun everyone is having on this project, sign up here and join us!

 

Join us on Memorial Day

You and your friends are welcome to march with our Art Float for Social Change at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2018, 10am-1pm, with members of the Tam High community and the Mill Valley Community Action Network. Please RSVP here to save your spot.

Make a Donation

Would you like to help pay for the Art Float, so we can finish it this spring? Please make a donation on our Memorial Day page, even if you’re not coming to that event. Thank you!

 

 

Visit our Partners

Please visit our partner and sponsor sites, and sign up for their projects, if they appeal to you.

Organizers:

Sponsors:

Presenters:

Partners:

Bamboodu Float at the Parade

People loved our Bamboodu Float at the 2017 Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade!

I created this political art performance with the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), to express our frustration with the Trump regime.

Our puppet theater on wheels stars Lady Liberty and Tiny Trump: each time Trump tweets fake news, Liberty bonks him on his thick bobble head.

Here’s a video of our parade with dozens of artists and MVCAN members:

Thousands of spectators cheered and sang along with us: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …” This lovely poem by Emma Lazarus was turned into song by Gareth Loy and performed by local singers, including members of the Shady Ladies.

Veteran journalist Paul Liberatore wrote this fine cover story for the Independent Journal, the largest newspaper in the North Bay. ABC 7 News featured our political art throughout their Memorial Day coverage (a clip from their news report is included in the above video). Our video also includes footage from a wonderful parade montage by Gary Yost, with a moving guitar solo by young musician Matt Jaffe.

This Memorial Day Parade was organized by Larry “the Hat” Lautzker, Mill Valley’s colorful clothier. The parade judges gave us the “Best Community Spirit Award.” One judge, Eric Christensen, explained why he voted for our entry: “I thought it was a very appropriate message to send on Memorial Day: if people don’t stand up to Trump and his policies, our future will be filled with many more war dead to memorialize.” 

Our friends at MVCAN invited me to give a talk about this project and the importance of art in politics at their monthly MVCAN meeting. Here are my takeaways:

  • Art engages us at a deeper level
  • It unites us around shared emotions
  • We identify with the characters of our stories
  • We spread our message to a wider audience
  • It invites people of all ages to participate
  • It sparks our imagination to invent the future
  • Making art together is fun and inspiring
  • It encourages playful collaborations
  • It builds community and strengthens our bonds

Here’s the video of my talk. See our slides for more info.

I’m very grateful to all the MVCAN friends and neighbors who helped build this float in our front yard: Danny Altman, Laura Boles, Phyllis Florin, David Glad, Peter Graumann, Edward Janne, Suz Lipman, Charlene Lundgren, Jean Marie Murphy, Mark Petrakis and Martha Roush, to name but a few. See the team in action in our photo album.

Special thanks to my amazing friend and associate Edward Janne, who designed and engineered the technology behind this float, using an Arduino, an MP3 shield and NeoPixel matrices. He coded the Bamboodu Player, the custom software which allowed me to choreograph our live performance, using this simple script. If you’d like to learn how to build systems like these, we’ll teach another Arduino class together this fall at Tam Makers.

Many thanks as well to our friends at Pataphysical Studios, our art collective, who marched ahead of us holding a large Traffic Jam sign, from an earlier caper memorialized in this video. We all wore our purple lab coats and funny hats, to set the tone for this new political art march.

I’m really happy that so many people enjoyed our Bamboodu Theater — and that our performance helped promote the Mill Valley Community Action Network — a grassroots political group that helps us coordinate our resistance to right-wing attacks on our liberties. 

Through this interactive art experience, we hope to engage people of all ages to get engaged in political action. If you live in the North Bay, sign up here on the MVCAN site — and join your neighbors to keep democracy alive!

Vive la liberté!

Fabrice

Learn more about the Bamboodu Float:

#art #bamboodu #indivisible #mvcan #politics #puppets #resist #theater

Bamboodu Theater

Behold the Bamboodu Theater, my new puppet stage for civic events and art shows.

This interactive theater experience features the Bamboodu spirit, a mythical creature rising from the earth to expose the troubles facing America and the world. Above his head are some of the characters that haunt his dreams, playing out the eternal fight between fear and hope.

Our first scene stars Lady Liberty and Mr. Trump. As surreal music plays, Mr. Trump’s recent tweets and alternative facts scroll by on a news ticker below the stage. Each time Trump says something wrong, Liberty hits him on his thick, bobbing head — until his oversize jacket falls off, revealing that the emperor truly has no clothes.

At the end of this short play, we invite our guests to sing along the inspiring words of Emma Lazarus’s poem about the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor …”). Through this interactive experience, we hope to engage people of all ages to think about the values we share — and help change the world through civic action.

Bamboodu Theater is a work-in-progress, combining mixed-media art with radical puppetry, along with electronic text, lights and sounds powered by Arduino. We customize the experience for each public appearance, whether it is shown as a stand-alone exhibit, a parade float or a street theater performance.

We premiered this interactive theater experience at Signs of Hope, an inspiring exhibit of political art that ran from April 14th to 29th at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael. See photos of our theater in that exhibit. Learn more on our project page.

We are now building a special float to feature the Bamboodu Theater at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 29, 2017. To create this float, I am working with a wonderful team at the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), a local political group which I recently joined to resist the conservative takeover of our country.

Our new Bamboodu Float is coming along very nicely, as shown in this photo album. Learn more on our project page. In coming months, we plan to show it at other civic events and political rallies.

Bamboodu Theater was created by Fabrice Florin, in collaboration with Phyllis Florin, Edward Janne, Mark Petrakis, Geo Monley, Jean Bolte, Howard Rheingold and our friends at Pataphysical Studios and Tam Makers. Special thanks to Gareth Loy for permission to use his Mother of Exiles song, and to all the MVCAN members who are helping build our parade float: Danny Altman, Laura Boles, David Glad, Peter Graumann, Suz Lipman and Jean Marie Murphy, to name but a few. I’m deeply grateful to you all.

It’s been a true pleasure to work with so many friends and neighbors to keep democracy alive through art and theater.
Vive la liberté!