LTVL is taking back the local media and turning up the volume on the many voices of the East Lawrence neighborhood! The project has two main functions: To provide a direct, informative and satirical iteration of the concerns expressed by East Lawrence residents in a climate of shifting cultural ecology, and to explore, promote and celebrate the unsung cultural treasures of this neighborhood.
Live TV Live (LTVL) celebrated it’s pilot debut in March, 2015 with “Fall of the Pollinators, Rise of the High-rise” (https://vimeo.com/119577128 ). The episode was warmly received by the East Lawrence, KS community and served to alleviate tensions surrounding the tragic destruction of the Spencer Museum of Art’s Pollinators mural.
Demolition of the Pollinators mural marked the beginning of what would be a multi-year surge in development efforts occurring in the East Lawrence Neighborhood.
Recognizing a correlation between the the Lawrence Arts Center's Arts Place funded East Ninth Street Corridor project and upcoming development efforts that threatened to gentrify the East Lawrence neighborhood, Co-Directors Nicholas Ward and Robert Baker set out to develop a focused, critical local media model that would inform area residents and challenge project leadership.
Live TV Live presents: Ghost of Yesteryear; Fall of the Pollinators, Rise of the HIgh Rise!
A Short and sweet history on the Pollinators: The Pollinators mural was created in 2007 as a community-based mural with well over a hundred local participants. The mural was created to give focus and due respect to a group of African American cultural pollinators hailing from the state of Kansas. As of February, 2015 The Pollinators mural is slated to be torn down to provide space for a series of high-rise condos in the newly dubbed "Arts corridor or Arts district". The neighborhood where these condos are being placed is low-moderate income and these condo's, well, they are not. What kind of shadow are we as a community casting via our efforts of placemaking when we allow culturally significant works of public art to be destroyed in the name of high dollar development? The destruction of the Pollinators mural is the first public art action since the recent development of Lawrence's Cultural Arts District. Where will we go from here?
Cahoots Chicanery and Carpetbagging
In October of 2015 a Lawrence-based collective calling themselves the "East 9TH Street Placekeepers" published the highly informative EASTNINTH.NET A site that serves as an archive of letters-of-concern from Lawrence residents, that hosts national publications on Placemaking and Dis-placemaking and showcases visual responses to the East 9th Street project as created by members of the Lawrence Community.
In a section titled: Follow the Money, the Placekeepers lay bare a number of problematic project partnerships previously redacted from the Lawrence Arts Center’s original Arts Place proposal.
As our intrepid throwback reporter Biff Beluga would say, “the proof is in the pudding, and today The pudding is Eastninth.net.”
ELNA ELECTION 2015
LTVL lead political correspondent Biff Beluga takes interest in the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association (ELNA) election when an unprecedented number of candidates put themselves up for the race. After further in-depth sleuthing Biff discovers that some of these new candidates had never previously been to an ELNA board meeting while a number of other incoming candidates who do own property in the East Lawrence neighborhood do not currently live in the neighborhood. While some might applaud this seeming increase in felt civic responsibility one must wonder what could be the cause for such heightened interest in a small neighborhood board? Could it be dissatisfaction with the Yart Sale? Is it the river clean-up? Maybe it's someone wanting to be more diligent in establishing an overlay district? Could it be a deep yearning for more low-income housing? Some say it might have something to do with a single topic, a topic like new development strategies along the ninth-street corridor. Only time will tell! ELNA members cast their votes at New York Elementary Monday, Nov. 2nd at 7:00pm! Music: America the Beautiful played by the US Marine Band, Macarena by Los Del Rio.
LIVE TV LIVE: LIP SERVICE
Walking along the East 9th street corridor LTVL took a moment to check in with long-standing 9th street business owners Marty Olson of Do’s Deluxe and Will Ogle of LB Holdings Inc. We came to take the temperature of how the current East 9th street development plan would affect business owners operating along the proposed development site.
For those who have spent decades in the neighborhood there is a clear sense that "Culture" and "identity" are already flourishing and very established. Plans for a complete-street design including heavy alteration of current street infrastructure are viewed by many as an imposition upon the neighborhood. With a looming city budget crisis and a strong divide between neighborhood residents on the topic, we sought out these business owners to hear their take on the proposed development plan.
What we heard was a series of compelling concerns followed by a clear alternative to the plan proposed by Kansas city based design firm, el dorado. Business owners outlined criteria that would limit development to the following ends:
- Save the city money by focusing on expressed infrastructure needs
- Resurface streets and repair existing sidewalks (Greater accessibility)
- Maintain established parking
- Support the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association’s (ELNA) statement of values
- Safeguard against inflated property taxes.
Since 2013 there has been a growing buzz concerning an impending gentrification of East Lawrence. With the 2014 award of the Lawrence Art Center’s Arts Place America, Our Town Grant, development speculation has led to increases of up to 30% in property taxes for residences and businesses in the neighborhood. This is an amount untenable for many neighborhood residents.
Called to Walls
Out of view of the high art world and the hip gallery scene comes this heartening story of unlikely partners in middle American communities working together to reexamine their histories, celebrate what makes their towns unique, and imagine their futures in the form of monumental community murals led by Lawrence artist Dave Loewenstein. Called to Walls is a thoughtful and uplifting film that not only leaves viewers reassessing their notions of art, but also with an itch to go out and do it themselves!
"Called to Walls is an uplifting, entertaining, heartwarming and deeply intelligent model not only for creating murals but for sparking community dialogue. Unrecalled histories surface to challenge small towns' self images. Tornado survivors rebuild. Multicultural conflicts are resolved. Who could fail to be impressed by the joy and dedication the film displays on the way to imagining a better world?" -- Lucy R. Lippard, author of Get the Message? A Decade of Art for Social Change.
“ An eye-opening report focused on a original and positive social initiative ”.Oaxaca FilmFest
Nicholas Ward, more commonly known to the youth of Lawrence as "Worm Guy" is integrating vermicomposting (the process of composting food waste utilizing worms) into four area school cafeterias (Cordley elementary, New York elementary, Liberty Memorial Central Middle and Free State High School). In partnership with Sunrise Project and with funding support from Kansas Green Schools and the USDA SARE Farmer Rancher program Ward is developing curriculum and conducting food waste audits at partnering schools. Through the project, once discarded food waste istransformed into rich organic fertilizer, promoting hands-on-learning and continued practices in sustainability for area youth.
Beginning in a Whittier Middle School Classroom under the guidance of teacher Lela HImmerich, a regular social studies curriculum gave way to project based learning. Students were urged to engage with their neighborhood and to assess what makes it vital. Imagining a number of civic improvements students took their ideas to the city government. They spoke at city council meetings and eventually perked the ears of the executive director of the Sioux Falls Arts Council. The student proposed mural project became a reality after the Sioux Falls arts council wrote and received a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. Muralist Dave Loewenstein was contacted and commissioned to lead the project. Over the Spring and Summer of 2013, The World Comes To Whittier was created with the aid of numerous community design meetings and community presentations. The World Comes To Whittier is the first large scale community based mural project for the city of Sioux Falls SD. With the guidance of Lead muralist Dave Loewenstein, assistant Ashley Laird, and apprentice Nate Buchholz The World Comes to Whittier It is a project created by and for the residents of the Whittier Neighborhood.
Through site-specific cinema Facing EAST celebrates the people and culture of the East Lawrence neighborhood. Interviews of sixteen East Lawrence neighborhood residents form this Renku style tale of the much beloved historical Kansas neighborhood. This film was directed, filmed and edited by Nicholas Ward in collaboration with Dave Loewenstein and the Free State Film Festival.
Facing EAST was originally formatted for outdoor exhibition at 411 E. Lawrence (Studio of Muralist/Cultural Agent Dave Loewenstein.) Outdoor exhibitions took place June, 27-28th 2014
Standing Rock: For all Generations
Arts and Culture at Standing Rock
Art permeates the entire social and organizational fabric of the Oceti Sakowin camp. From dancing, to banner making, to singing, storytelling and horsemanship events elders and youth alike are engaged in Prayerful ceremonies. The spaces and architecture of the camp are fluid; a tent utilized one day for media services is transformed the next day into a medical tent. New shelters are being constructed, corrals installed and new Tipis going up. The lines between ritual, ceremony, activism, labor and art are woven together into distinct and intentional purpose.
During our time there, the combined camps swell to an estimated 5,000 people. The central public circle oscillates between the warm hum of multitudes of multi-national conversations to the rhythm of drums and ceremonial singing. The kitchen operation is beyond impressive, flush with determined volunteers working long hours in a coordinated dance of efficiency. There are many different tasks that one can contribute towards the day-to-day operations here that include cooking, cleaning, chopping wood, carrying and unloading supplies, and assisting with the facilitation of events. The camp is maintained without commerce and all of the available resources are donated. People take what they need and contribute what they can.
Only two miles away, taking place at the same time as the horsemanship event is the now infamous aggression of attack dogs and pepper spray perpetrated on the protectors. Back at the camp, the children move freely, internally, the community is a safe place.