Tag Archives: youth

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.

Democracy Cafe

Welcome to Democracy Cafe!

We host free art, music and civic events in Marin, to help people of all ages and backgrounds drive social change through creative expression. We offer a range of activities to build mutual understanding and engage us to take meaningful political action together.

We host free Democracy Cafes on the third Sunday of each month. Each event focuses on a different theme, such as Gun Violence or Climate Change. A typical event includes a variety of collaborative activities, such as sign-making, sing-alongs, speakers and group discussions. We are now done with our spring 2018 series, but plan to host more Democracy Cafes in fall 2018.

To learn about our latest events, read below — and sign up for our newsletter.

Earth Day Celebration

Hundreds of activists, artists and environmentalists came to celebrate Earth Day 2018, for a fun afternoon of art, music and talks about the environment at Tam High School in Mill Valley. This was our last Democracy Cafe event in spring 2018, produced in collaboration with Eco Warriors of MVCAN and Tam Makers, as well as all the gracious partners listed below.

We unveiled ourArt Float for Social Change, featuring a large globe spinning over a carousel of art, and pulled by a colorful dragon. Presenters of all ages stood on stage to share their ideas for a better world. Others painted original posters about the earth for the float carousel.

Speakers included Mark Squire from Good Earth, Crystal Chissel from Project Drawdown, Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly and young local activists: they talked about a wide range of solutions to curb climate change. Dozens of environmental partners like the Sierra Club, Resilient Neighborhoods and 350 Marin helped our guests take action to reverse global warming. Participants also learned to plant a veggie garden, ride an electric bike and get people ready to vote (we helped 5 teenagers pre-register to vote at this event) .

We ended the day with music performances by Twinkling Stars of Singers Marin, young singer Emma Spike, Reed Fromer, the Freedom Singers and Mill Valley Seniors for Peace.

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

Learn more about our Earth Day celebration — and view Earth Day photos here.

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 our sponsors at Good Earth, the Mill Valley Community Action Network and Tam High School. Please RSVP here to save your spot.

Join your neighbors to make political art and music, and take action together to create a better world!

Democracy Cafe to End Gun Violence

Our last Democracy Cafe took place on Sunday, March 18, from 2 to 5pm, when our theme was: how can we end gun violence?

We helped people of all ages prepare signs for March for Our Lives, and are grateful to all the young people who came to express their views.

We sang along with the Freedom Singers on the sun deck of the beautiful O’Hanlon Center.

Marin Supervisor Kate Sears shared her views about gun reform and led a discussion on how we can take action to end gun violence.

We heard a moving performance by young singer/songwriter Emma Spike, student at Tam High School, including several original compositions about gun violence and hope.

Music director Reed Fromer led us into song with old classics about creating a better world.

This free public event took place on Sunday, March 18th from 2 to 5pm, at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, 616 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

We enjoyed meeting over 50 activists and artists of all ages for an inspiring afternoon of art, music and politics. We deeply appreciated their creativity, goodwill and intellectual curiosity, which encouraged other participants to find their voice and take action.

Here is our photo album for Democracy Cafe on Flickr, for your viewing pleasure. And here is the Independent Journal’s photo coverage of our event, shot by Sherry LaVars.

Special thanks to the volunteers so who graciously helped organize this event: Marilyn Price, Jenny Tomkins, Rebecca Brackman, David Barr and Robert Mowry. We’re also grateful to all the folks who couldn’t come, but who supported us to organize this unique civic engagement program. It’s a true pleasure working with you all!

We are inspired by all the young people who took political action to protest the recent school shooting in Florida, such as the Tam High Vigil pictured above (see more of our vigil photos). We want to support their cause and empower them to join their voices, hearts and minds for social change. Their dedication, passion and creativity are our best hope for building a better world. 


Democracy Cafe 2 – Youth In Action

Sixty activists and artists of all ages gathered at our second Democracy Cafe, for a fun afternoon of art, music and politics. This free community event celebrated Youth in Action and took place at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, on February 18, 2018. 

We started by brainstorming ideas for a new art float, to be shown at public events in 2018. Participants suggested we build a large earth and a circle of caring hands, to symbolize social change. 

The float will be created in the Tam High Wood Shop by students and adult makers led by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley. Anyone who wants to help is invited to join the welcome meeting on March 1.


We then sang along with the Freedom Singers, led by Marilyn Price, in a medley of songs for a better world, including the two tunes heard in the video above, shot by Phyllis Florin: mexican folk song “De colores” and “Building Bridges”, a call to action by Wayne Lechner.

Young activists from ‘Generation: Our Climate‘ and 350 Bay Area spoke about their climate action campaigns: testifying with local and county governments to promote green energy policies, limit emissions from oil refineries and protest the new coal terminal in Oakland.

Speakers from ‘Generation: Our Climate’ included activists Caroline Schurz, Mimi Lawrence and Brendon Milan-Howells, along with their adult mentor Daniel Heagerty. Speakers from 350 Bay Area were Jada Delaney and Rosesanie Phan, both seniors at Oakland Tech High School, along with their youth organizer Carolyn Norr (you can learn about their campaign here).

To hear their speeches and performances, watch this cool 360° video by Gary Yost, with a panoramic coverage that gives a full experience, as if you were in the room with us. To look around, swipe the video (or view it with your smartphone in a Google Cardboard-style headset.) 

Young singers/songwriters Matt Jaffe and Patrick Maley took turns playing personal and politically-minded songs. Poet klipschutz and musician Joel Hamilton performed an inspiring mix of poetry and jazz, with paintings by Eun Lee in the background. For highlights of their performances, watch our 360° video above.

We love that so many young people joined their voices, hearts and minds with ours. Their dedication and creativity are our best hope for building a better world. Many thanks to all the presenters and community members who participated in this celebration — and to the gracious organizers, activity leaders and multimedia creators who made this very special event possible.

Learn more about this inspiring event.

This is a 360° video of Democracy Cafe. To look around, swipe the video as it plays.
Created by Gary Yost.

Democracy Cafe 1 – Women’s March

Our first Democracy Cafe took place at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley on January 14, 2018. A creative group of 50 activists and artists of all ages gathered to make signs, art and music for the upcoming Women’s March.

In just a few hours, we created dozens of inspiring signs, blue flags and Liberty figures. We also practiced protest songs with the Freedom Singers in the beautiful sculpture garden. To see scenes from the event, view our photo album or watch the video below.

Our first pilot exceeded all our expectations. Participants gave high ratings for this event, told us they had fun, made new friends, enjoyed making art and singing together, and felt more motivated to take political action. They felt well prepared for our Women’s March the following week. Most participants wanted to join our next events, and several offered to help organize them.

The event was covered by local and national journalists, who wrote these fine articles:
• Marin activists gear up for women’s marches, midterm elections
by Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal
• Organizing The Resistance, One Meeting At A Time
by George Osterkamp, Dan Rather’s News & Guts

This enthusiastic feedback and this favorable press coverage suggests that we are on the right track with Democracy Cafe. To learn more about our first pilot, visit our event page.


Join Us!

If you would like to join future events or volunteer on our team, sign up for our Democracy Cafe mailing list.

Democracy Cafe is produced by a team of Marin activists and artists led by Fabrice Florin,  with Danny Altman, Carol Korenbrot, Bruce Mowry, Marilyn Price, Laura Riley and many more. Our goal is to engage our communities to help change the world, by combining arts and politics through fun, hands-on and inspiring activities.

Thanks as well to all our wonderful participants, whose commitment to art and activism inspires us. And kudos to our gracious performers, crew and activity leaders: Jean Bolte, Jake Cohen, Mary Cosgrove, Dana Dworin, Matt Jaffe, Kurt Lipschuck, Wayne Lechner, Craig Love, Gareth Loy Patrick Maley and Gary Yost, to name but a few. We’re also grateful to Erma Murphy at the O’Hanlon for hosting our first events.

Many of us are part of the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), our political action group in Marin. We’re delighted that so many MVCAN members are participating in this creative experiment.

Democracy Cafe shows great promise for energizing people through the transformative power of the arts, sparking our imaginations to solve problems and change the world together.

Join your neighbors to make political art — and keep democracy alive!

Photos by Fabrice Florin, Mary Cosgrove and Dana Dworin. Videos by Phyllis Florin, Craig Love and Gary Yost.

This page was updated on Feb. 21, to include more info about our first and second events.