I am happiest working in the intersection between public policy, community organizing, and the arts.

Here are a few projects I have worked on that were meaningful to me.

Freewaves
Los Angeles, CA 

Freewaves creates public media art events that bring diverse audiences and independent media artists together in dialogue on current issues. Freewaves promotes innovative and people-centered cultural engagement through project-specific platforms – multiple, scalable, online, at established and nontraditional venues.

In 2011 I worked as project coordinator and researcher for Out The Window, a public media arts project showcasing art videos on Los Angeles city buses. In this role I was the lead ethnographic and policy researcher for an impact-analysis. My duties included conducting city-wide surveys, ethnographic research, and analysis to evaluate the impact of the project on commuters. I also coordinated public outreach, grant seeking and writing, review and selection of submitted videos, and managing of the online publicity campaign. I co-authored a successful NEA grant proposal for the second phase of the project.

Kounkuey Design Initiative
Coachella Valley, CA 

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) partners with residents of impoverished areas to develop and implement design solutions that improve physical, economic, and social quality of life.

As Project Lead in February-April of 2011 I was responsible for grant writing, community organizing, leading and overseeing design workshops and design charrettes in Spanish, leading community workshops, and managing partnerships with local non-profits and community organizations. I co-authored a successful grant application for the California Endowment’s  Building Healthy Communities Initiative.

In the Coachella Valley a lack of affordable housing has led to more than 120 un-permitted mobile home parks serving as this community's primary means of low-income housing. These parks are in varying degrees of degradation, but all face poor access to sanitation, water, nutritious food, public transportation and electricity. A partnership with Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation and the community of St. Anthony Trailer Park led to KDI's first US-based site.

In February 2011, KDI conducted several community workshops at St. Anthony to understand the community's most pressing needs - residents identified three: improved access to affordable food, a central gathering space to facilitate community organization and education and a safe, climate-appropriate recreation area for youth. In March and April, 2011 KDI held youth art and gardening days to engage residents and introduce the possibilities for a Productive Public Space. Throughout that fall KDI worked with community members in a number of design charrettes to establish components for a Productive Public Space that would provide solutions for identified community needs.

The final design of the St. Anthony PPS creates a community hub in the center of the trailer park - currently an underutilized open space. Completed in 2013, the Productive Public Space includes a sheltered meeting space, stage, playground, community garden, and improved landscaping.

Mediators Beyond Borders Certification
University of California Los Angeles 

While working towards my Masters in Public Policy, I became a certified Mediation through Mediators Beyond Borders, completing an intensive course taught by the illustrious Anna Spain Bradley. I had the opportunity to learn the foundations of effective mediation through the lens of someone with a life-long career in international law and conflict resolution. My mediation training is something I try to bring to each project and problem I am presented with.

As a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, Anna researches and writes about issues of global cooperation and conflict. Her work on international dispute resolution seeks to illuminate its function in promoting peace by, for example, showing why the use of mediation alongside legal methods can improve long-lasting resolution of disputes. She also designs and teaches courses on international law, international dispute resolution, international human rights and humanitarian law, mediation, national security, and legal ethics. She frequently employs an experiential approach in her pedagogy.

As a lawyer, Anna has expertise in public international law and international arbitration. She recently served as counsel for two African nations in proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. She previously served as an Attorney-Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser where she represented the U.S. before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague, served as a delegate to the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva and advised the Department on international trade and investment matters in Asia and the Pacific.

Anna Spain is a founding member and former Board member of Mediators Beyond Borders International.

 

El Tigre Celeste
Buenos Aires, Argentina

In 2007 I co-founded and managed a community-based art gallery in Buenos Aires with fellow artist Celeste Najt. Our exhibitions and open-air screenings were featured in major Argentine newspapers such as Clarin and Pagina12. We were also featured as in British Airways Magazine as a go-to destination.

Casa Alianza
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Between 2000-2004 I spent 4 months out of the year as a volunteer arts educator for Casa Alianza in Honduras. I worked with administrative staff, social workers and educators on child homelessness and youth involvement in gangs. I went into downtown Tegucigalpa and worked daily in the homeless shelter and taught art classes as well as reading, writing and arithmetic skills to illiterate through beginner level homeless children.

Mapping the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This visual essay was written in my senior year of undergraduate school as an independent study.  By superimposing maps printed on transparent vellum, the project sought to visually exhibit the profusion of borders, contradictory claims and entitlement to lands, and opposing views on ownership and history that coexist within the territory that was once mandated Palestine. I wanted to explore the idea of maps not as mutually exclusive, impartial and isolated in history, but rather as expressions of ideology and nationhood that still resonate today as reflections of the contemporary cultural and nationalistic belief systems that created them.  The borders of the land (historical, contemporary, and imagined) are as diverse and inconstant as the ideologies that shape and divide it. By visually superimposing these multiple borders into a single map that reads as being incoherent, confused, disjointed, and irrational, one is able to also imagine the layering of contradictory and irreconcilable ideologies that coexist and constitute what is Israel-Palestine.