Emily Rose Brown 13F received an Ethics and the Common Good Internship Grant to join LA Commons and provide artistic and logistical assistance with its neighborhood-based community-building projects all over the city. In the MacArthur Park area, she joined children and a lead teaching artist to create a video project highlighting the park’s people and places. She chose to work on an event in a local park in partnership with several Muslim community organizations, bringing the neighborhoods together to create art in celebration of the beginning of the month of Ramadan. She also spent several weeks collaborating with youths and adults in the Crenshaw, Watts, and Leimert Park neighborhoods for the sixth-annual Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks. This event was inspired by West African and diaspora mask and procession traditions and was an opportunity for people of all ages to honor their ancestors, create art in response to issues facing the community, and celebrate living culture. Participants identified police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, gang violence, climate change, and gentrification as some of the biggest challenges faced by their communities.
Emily Rose worked with young people to build masks, costumes, and puppets depicting these challenges, and helped to lead workshops on papier-mâché techniques to support youth in creating masks inspired by their own cultural heritage. Emily Rose also made and donned a mask and costume to participate in the large-scale procession through Leimert Park.
After working with LA Commons, Emily Rose says she is excited to consider how she will incorporate her newfound passion for place-based teaching and youth organizing into her own work as an artist and cultural organizer.