Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains (CAMP)
Malibu Conservation Camp 13
1250 Encinal Canyon Rd
Project DescriptionCamp Ground: Arts, Corrections, and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains (CAMP) was a project that embedded artist Kim Abeles in the Los Angeles County Fire Department to work in collaboration with the paid and inmate workforces who serve the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The artworks and creative program that developed explored new models in two core areas: increasing public awareness, engagement and responsible stewardship through the County’s wildfire management programs; and providing skills development for incarcerated women through creative activities related to the Santa Monica Mountains.
The artist-in-residence (AIR) was held in two sessions: July 9, 2017 - October 8, 2017 (14 workshops) and October 15 - January 7, 2018 (12 workshops) for a total of 26 workshops. The artworks created and Abeles' creative programs explored new models in two core areas: to increase public awareness, engagement and responsible stewardship through the County's wildfire management programs; and provide skills development through engagement opportunities for incarcerated women through creative activities related to the Santa Monica Mountains. This would be achieved through the creation of a series of sculptural and instructional props or "valises" that Fire and National Parks Services (NPS) could use as educational tools at community outreach events.
Through an iterative process with Abeles' consistent presence at the Camp and her interactions with the inmates, participation grew from 5 to over 25. In late 2017, many of the women worked on the numerous fires in California. Abeles took notes during these discussions, and question and answer opportunities about tools and methods for firefighting. The process was organic in the sense that there was a two-way conversation between Abeles as artist-in-residence and the inmates regarding the development of the valises. The women supplied the content based on their experiences, and also responded to the artistic and content-driven outcomes. Participants worked alongside and with the artist on the elements of the valises.
The focus of the ten valises is public awareness for responsible stewardship through the County's and NPS's wildfire management programs. The valises provide entry points for fire and park rangers to engage community members in the issues including fire prevention and abatement.
Additionally Abeles presented her AIR project at colleges/universities and art galleries around Southern California. Through her talks about the AIR and collaboration with the inmates, their work in fire abatement and prevention reached a wider audience than anticipated. Further exhibitions of the valises with accompanying documentation are planned to expand the outreach and education.
The two year CAMP project was managed by the Armory Center for the Arts and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts National Park Service Grant.
For more information: https://www.youtube.com/embed/KSrEipk2Jew