Thanks in part to the National Endowment of the Arts' Challenge America Grant, RAM is moving forward with Activating Alleys; Building Community (AABC), an artist-driven program focused on transforming blighted sites in Riverside's Eastside community through art. A collaborative project between RAM, the City of Riverside's Community and Economic Development Department, and neighborhood residents and organizations, artists will work with residents to activate alleyways and blighted lots, transforming them from vacant to vibrant, and providing opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in hands-on art-making activities and to share oral histories.
The first of AABC’s series of programs to launch is Project Bici: Stories from the Eastside with artist Cynthia Herrera. Additionally funded by Bank of America and an Artists Activating Communities Grant from the California Arts Council, Project Bici workshops will be set up in vacant lots and alley ways via a bicycle book “library” on loan to Herrera from Antena, a language justice collaborative.
The first wave of workshops (February 4, 11, 18, & 25) will focus on storytelling and photography, where participants will envision the future of the community and screen print posters of residents’ artwork to introduce the project. Cynthia will be at Patterson Park around 11 a.m. to talk to local residents and build relationships.
During the second set of workshops (March 4 [will be rescheduled], 11, 18 19, & 25), community members will tell, write, and archive histories by creating books, sharing stories, and performing live readings as a form of empowerment.
Finally, on April 1 and 8, pop-up exhibits in the vacant lots and alley ways will help residents reclaim these spaces as places for the community to gather and enjoy. The project will conclude with a pop-up exhibit at RAM (date TBA) that shares the stories of Eastside participants with the broader Riverside community and gives voice to this disenfranchised neighborhood.