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Everett's Play Book


The Parramore League of Artistic Youth (PLAY) is a community program designed to provide youth with an opportunity to contribute to the beautification and cultural development if its residents.  One of the ways we plan to accomplish this goal is by painting two historical murals, one at the Downtown Recreational Center located at 645 w. Livingston Street and the other at the Dr. J.B.Callahan Center located at 101 N. Parramore Avenue.  PLAY began its first Summer Program on May 30, 2007 to serve the Youth and community of the Parramore area. Classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2pm till 5pm.


MAY 30, 2007 - Our first session included exactly 15 youth. A pre assessment survey of each youth’s art knowledge was given and reviewed at the beginning of the session.  We proceeded to discuss art history in popular culture, relating to images of art seen on TV and it's historical context.  Most youth had seen the commercials with art by Picasso or Warhol but had no idea of its original context or meaning. The survey asked if they knew of any African American Artist, none of the 15 youth knew the name of a Black artist. None of the students had heard of Picasso, Warhol or Van Gogh, let alone Lawrence, Bearden or Tanner. Of course, examples of each of these artists’ work was then shown and discussed in detail.  Each student agreed that they felt they too could do work like that of Picasso or Bearden. The session also included a drawing demonstration with simple exercises for the kids to try themselves.  Each youth was asked to provide ideas pertaining to the history of the Parramore area, for the upcoming Mural projects. 


Friday JUNE 1, 2007 - The second session of PLAY included approximately 30 visitors (20 youth and 10 adults) from a Public School in Texas, plus 10 youth from the Parramore neighborhood. Our visitors were on a tour of the City of Orlando and were interested in the programs of the Parramore Kids Zone.  After brief introductions Everett discussed the PLAY program and its goals. We all discussed some of the history of the Parramore area and ideas for the Mural project. Afterwards the discussion everyone received materials to produce drawings of the ideas we discussed. Because of the number of participants and their excitement about the art class we actually extended the time period to allow the youth to finish their projects. Guest Artist Tramiqua Chambers. 


Monday JUNE 4, 2007 - Our third session included 8 youth from the Parramore neighborhood. Four were new to the program. The feed back on the loss of participants seems to indicate that some youth were not interested in a well disciplined program and thought they were going to be able to "goof-off".  Instead they found that I would not tolerate fighting, or vulgar or improper language.  In his session we continued to practice our drawing skills and ended with a demonstration of collage techniques.  Most kids remarked how simple and easy is to do collages.  We had two or three problems with conduct and ultimately two kids were asked to leave the program and not to come back unless they apologize and promise to behave and follow my instruction.  


Wednesday JUNE 6, 2007 - Today’s session began with 10 youth. We continued to work on their drawing skills. Introduced linoleum Cut medium and gave a demonstration of the medium. We discussed the history of the Parramore area and found that only a few knew pertinent facts about their community.  I presented the youth with a copy of Mrs. Geraldine Thompson’s book that chronicles the history of Black Orlando.  With this reference, for the first time, the kids were able to understand the rich heritage of their neighborhood. Photos of Dr. Wells, Dr. Callahan and Dr. Hankins have given them a deeper understanding of the Buildings associated with their names. It is agreed that these individuals’ portraits should be part of the mural.  


Friday JUNE 8, 2007 - A total of 10 youth are in attendance. Guest Artist Tramiqua Chambers assisted with the implementation of the Mural. Background colors were applied to the mural and Players contributed their ideas for the mural......Tramiqua began painting the portrait of Dr. Callahan.  


Monday JUNE 11, 2007 - A total of 20 youth are in attendance.  We continued to work on the mural adding a memorial for a youth that was killed over the weekend.  While working on the mural I opened a dialogue concerning the business of art.  In our previous discussions I learned that Alex and Eric are interested in art as a business and seen to show some initiative in accomplishing their given tasks.  I introduced them both to a magazine called "Art Business News". They were immediately struck by some of the child-like images produced by "so-called" successful artists. I could see their delight in knowing that they too could be professional artists. 


Wednesday JUNE 13, 2007   - A total of 13 kids showed up today, after weeding out the trouble makers and those not really interested we ended the session with 6 dedicated mural painters. 


Friday JUNE 15, 2007 - Our session began with 6 youth. The discussion today will focus on Dr. Wells and his impact on Orlando. None or the kids had heard of the "Chitlin Circuit" and many of the stars of that era such as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington were not familiar names.  We discussed the fact that Jazz was created by African Americans and how uniquely American it is. We continue to work on the mural.  We painted a section of an orange tree in bloom. Guest artist Tramiqua Chambers starts to work on a portrait of Dr. Wells which is positioned above images of the South Street Casino and The Wells Built Hotel. A few of the youth actually live on South Street and did not know a thing about the history of the buildings they see everyday.  They knew it was some sort of museum but had no idea of it's significance. 


Monday JUNE 18, 2007  - Today’s session began with 12 kids working on the mural today. We continued to discuss plans for an exhibition of art created by the Players’. We had a surprise visit from Mr. Joe Oliver, News Anchor for WESH Channel 2 News along with his camera man. Mr. Oliver spoke to Toni Shinn and me about the PLAY program. They also took some video shots of the kids in action working on the mural. Mr. Oliver was very impressed with the mural and the program and insisted that I keep in touch and follow-up with him when this project is complete.  Afterwards the kids were extremely "pumped-up" about the prospect of seeing themselves on TV. I'll contact Mr. Oliver later for a copy of the tape and to give him an opportunity to review the finished mural.   


Wednesday JUNE 20, 2007 - We began the day with 12 kids. Three kids were dismissed early for being rude and disrespectful.   We continued to work on the mural. We added Toni's "tricked out" ride, the American flag, and an African mask. It will be interesting to see which Players will be able to do the intricate details required to finish the mural. 


Friday JUNE 22, 2007 - Our session began early today. I always show up around 1:30pm to prepare for our 2pm sessions; however I was pleased to see my star pupils waiting for me, Alex and Eric show up early. We eventually had 8 more kids show up late. Visiting Artist Tramiqua Chambers finished the portrait of Dr. Wells today.  


Monday JUNE 25, 2007 - Only 7 Players show up today, it seems the others have also enrolled in the UCF digital media program during the same hours.  I talked to the kids about our next project at the Callahan Center and discussed ideas for the mural. Since we will not have the room exclusively or have storage for the supplies, we'll have to take the materials with us daily and set up each time we work. Some of the kids didn’t like the idea    


6/27/2007 - Today’s session began with 12 kids. We took a break from the mural as it seems the finishing touches and additional details are beyond their capabilities at this stage of their development. Each PLAYer had to complete an entire painting in one session. PLAYers’were introduced to the art of Picasso, Bearden, and Dali.


6/29/2007 – Received a visit from Artist Tramiqua Chambers of the Golden Rule Foundation. Our session began with an assessment and critique of everyone’s project. Some kids had to finish their projects today and those that missed the last session will start and complete a painting....Had 10 small kids visiting from another community. Another group of 15 kids also came by to participate in the mural project but today everyone worked to create art for our first exhibition in august.


  7/2/2007 - 7 PLAYers’ attended today’s session. We discussed our upcoming art exhibition at Johnsons Diner in August. I demonstrated how abstract paintings are created and the complex thinking that goes into a seemingly benign style of painting.  All of the kids expressed how much they dislike abstract art and most of all do not understand why people like them. Of course I gave a long philosophical lecture on the subliminal meanings of abstract art., they still don't understand. In closing I left them with the impression that anyone can paint abstracts and if you can't draw, do abstracts, they are easy to produce.  


7/4/2007   HOLIDAY NO CLASS  


7/6/2007   Tramiqua Chambers is again our visiting artist. ALEX shows up for class 30 minutes early....went right to his previous project without hesitation. Most of the PLAYers’ are in the digital media program so 8 kids show up late. Eric had to leave early but he was more interested in completing his painting than anything; however he ran out of time and had to leave before finishing his project. I presented the class with the work of a child artist named Alexandra Nechita. Alexandra started painting at age 4 and is now a millionaire at age 18. We looked at numerous images of her paintings and began a discussion about what it must be like to be a successful child artist. The discussion ended on a positive note when all the PLAYers’ agreed, it's time to get back to work". Our session ends with photos of each PLAYer with their completed paintings.  


7/9/2007 - Class began at 1:30pm today, two players show up early, today’s session ended with a total of 2 PLAYers  


7/11/2007 - Today’s session included 6 PLAYers. 


7/13/2007  - Only 3 PLAYers show up for today’s session. TiDarius takes a liking to abstract painting and with lots of spurring he creates a masterpiece.


 7/16/2007  - Today’s session began with 4 PLAYers. Each worked on their individual projects for the first exhibition. We were visited by Nell Gyenes and Dedra Knight from the House of Blues.  I gave them the tour of the mural and the gallery of the PLAYers art. They were impressed with the talent with our ranks and offered to partner with our group.  HOB has a program that introduces kids to the arts through jazz, blues and folk art. We discussed the possibility of exhibiting the PLAYers art at their Disney location. 


7/18/2007 - Today’s session included 16 PLAYers, we had visiting artists from the New Image Center. Still focusing on abstract designs; we moved from painting on paper to painting on t-shirts. Everyone enjoyed the exercise, even the kids with minimal art skills enjoyed making a mess on a brand new white t-shirt. Thanks very much to Shannon Clarke of the Citrus Foundation for generously donating the shirts.  The t-shirts will provide an opportunity for the PLAYers to earn money by selling their hand-painted t-shirts. 


7/20/2007 - Today’s session included 9 PLAYers...We continued to paint on the t-shirts and several PLAYers will have the products available for sale. Visiting artist Tramiqua Chambers joined us. 


7/23/2007 - Today’s session included 6 PLAYers. The class ended while discussing ideas for the Callahan Mural. 


7/25/2007 - Started on the Callahan Mural today with 18 PLAYers. The Callahan center was full today. Kids of all ages wanted to work on the mural so it was chaotic and very inefficient to start. The first hour was spent on individual instructions on how to mix colors and how to clean spills and brushes. In all the confusion several areas were painted without the proper approval and therefore that kid had to be removed from the project. Paint was all over the floor. I could hardly hear myself talk as the noise level was through the roof, my ears are still ringing. We managed to get through the session with very little actually accomplished, several areas need to be re-painted or completely painted over. I'm going to need more paint.  


7/27/2007 - Today’s session began at the Callahan Center where the mural project seems to be moving at a snails pace. Today, however, we have only 10 PLAYers working on the mural. Today’s session was much less chaotic and more productive, by far a better day. 


 7/28/2007 - Saturday is not a scheduled day for the program, however, considering the progress we made yesterday and the day before (none) I decided we needed to get some momentum, so we began again on the Callahan Mural with 9 PLAYers. With less noise and confusion we managed to make up some ground. 


7/30/2007 – Today’s session began at the Callahan center mural site. I decided to start the project an hour earlier and end an hour later, hopefully to help us progress a little farther with more time to work on the mural. 13 PLAYers worked on the mural, a good manageable number. 


8/1/2007 - Our session today took place at the Callahan Center. After much progress in our last session (1pm - 6pm) I decided to keep the same hours today in order to have a more productive session. Total PLAYers today numbered 13. We made a lot of progress on the mural today and should be completed this weekend.  


8/3/2007 - Tramiqua Chambers is visiting artist. We worked at the Callahan center on the mural. Eric shows up early, exactly 12 youth participated in the completion of the mural, as we put the finishing touches on several elements of the mural and finalized others. Dr. Callahan has officially been painted on the mural, Kim Mowatt director of the center suggested some sort of phrase that would inspire the youth. Not much more to do on the mural. We plan to work tomorrow (Saturday) to finish the project.