Wisdom Arts Laboratory
Wanta make something out of it?
My name is Abira Ali, and I direct Wisdom Arts Laboratory (WAL). I founded WAL, after the crash, in 2009. The arts education program at my child's school was canceled, no one had any money. I created WAL with a few artist friends who also had kidsArtists can turn straw into gold, so we did. Art making is healing. It is empowering. Creative people entertain themselves. WAL provides a safe and happy place for imagination to thrive. WAL is a vehicle for community outreach, we serve up experiences in art making.
WAL has been supported over the years in many ways. Thank you to The Rowe and Gayle Giesen Trust and Pasadena Community Foundation for making Community Fridays possible. Thank you to Caruso Company. Thank you to Su and Paxton Offield, and The Offield Family Foundation. Thank you to Orange Grove Meeting, Friends Western School, Odyssey Charter School, IF Center for Imagination and Armory Center for the Arts. Thank you to our many individual supporters, it is reassuring to know that we share these values. Thank you for your support.
Jenny Burman, Ilsa Ackerman, Meeno Peluce, Sara Fowler, Crystal Wen-Ying Ho, Janica Quinones, Ann Marie Boyle and Ginger Berglund have helped shape the Wisdom Arts Laboratory into we have become. Each artist brought a unique vision and expertise.
Wisdom Arts Laboratory Programming
Wisdom Arts Laboratory hosts Community Fridays, a free outdoor series in October. Community Fridays are neighborhood art-making events. Artists bring projects based on a theme. Themes have included: Space, Earth and Water, World Village and Miniatures. Artists work with participants to make things.
There are demonstrations and performances. The Die de Los Muertos - Community Friday would never be the same without face artist Ozma Bryant, now known as Casper. Our musical guests have included Finneas O'Connell's early band, The Slightlys. Music brings so much atmosphere and joy. In 2019, we welcomed the wonderful Claire Holley, accompanied by her son Jackson, on drums. Friend, Gary Bagwell casual classical guitar creates a calm space. Grandparents, dads, moms, babies, kids and teens sit together, glueing, painting, weaving and listening. It is fun.
Miniatures and Tiny Towns
WAL loves miniatures, miniatures can be appreciated by any cultural, economic situation or skill set. Miniatures are an equalizer. In 2018 WAL built our first Big Tiny Town in the PMCA Kenny Scarf garage. In 2019, WAL partnered with SPACE and about 300 people at the Eclectic Music Festival and South Pasadena Art Walk to build a Tiny South Pasadena. The first series of WAL DIY tutorials has a focus on miniatures. The miniatures we make are original designs developed for our Community Fridays, classes and camps. The materials and process are simple and engaging.
The Incident Report
Gordon Henderson created The Incident Report to present stories that involved incidents. The Incident Report has welcomed the genius of Helena Harvilicz, Roz Brown, Jessica Lee Williamson and Steve Abbe.
After School Classes
WAL offers enrichment classes for children. Guadalupe Montalvo (Lupe) and Florencia Montalvo bring projects that merge engineering with Mexican toy making and bird house building. Kindred Gottlieb has been know to set up live Raku ceramic firings.
Science and Art Camps
Wisdom Arts Laboratory offers camps in July. In 2019, we held Heart Camp. How does the heart work? Jane King an artist and a nurse demonstrated with professional equipment and hands on learning. We drew the heart, sculpted the heart and played games that explained the functions of heart.
Kindred Gottlieb's summer improvisational storytelling camp is called Thing Theater. Inspired Mummenschanz Kindred collaborates with campers and artists like Stacy Dawson Sterns and Crystal Sepulveda.
Fashion and Runway are never dull. WAL designs with re-claimed clothing and fabric donations. Students become fashion designers, they present their work on a runway to culminate the summer and the camp.
WAL hosts a junior (ages 12 - 14) and senior (ages 14 and up) internship program . Interns learn to supervise a play yard, they demonstrate kindness and assist in the classrooms. The Interns are loved and admired by the campers.