RPGA Studio is a Social Practice non-profit, founded by Yvonne Shortt, that uses art + design + technology + education + activism to address community issues. Communities we focus on include Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jamaica, and Ozone Park. The methodology is question-based, and the approach is personal—much of the work starts in a little house in the community where Ms. Shortt raised her children. Many of the projects happen because of someone in the community bringing a problem to the studio and asking for help. Diversity in nationality, income, race, sex, and ability are vital to the success of the organization.
Crochet, Share and Care.
Thank you community for showing up
What We Accomplished As a Community
1. Crocheted several scarves for the homeless, engaging community members 16 - 65+. Each scarf will be given to a homeless person in the community. The person who gives out the scarf will say "hi" to the homeless person every time they see them ( at least 3x a week). The person will keep extra scarves in case the person loses one. The focus is to create a connection with the person using the scarf as the entry point.
2. We've engaged a local homeless shelter for boots on the ground one-on-one connecting because it's going to start getting cold very soon.
3. We've learned about a group that supplies backpacks with resources to the homeless and this gave us the idea to design an outdoor fixed location resource box that can be stocked with things the homeless need day-to-day.
4. The International High School of Health Sciences has a crochet club and we have started connecting with them.
Empowering Ourselves While Building Our Community & Networks
Creating a framework where 250 women learn and share
Building skills while advocating for changes in how women are portrayed in the construction industry
Building a design studio to practice what we learn
Age of the participants who learn new skills with us ranges from 17 to 65+
Teaching women all over NYC and then having them teach more women
Creating opportunities, access, and equity in our communities through activism
Using Art To Beautify and Activism to increase Quality of Life, Safety, & Health
Public Performances for reimagined possibilities for local public community spaces
Teaching skills to empower local community members and revitalize public spaces
Learn installation techniques to keep public art costs down
Teaching youth how to take charge and empower others.
Using crocheting to address homelessness in our comunity
Working in the community is contagious and often brings in more people- U.S. Army
Bringing Youth and Seniors Together for Action and Dialogue
Senior learning to use a miter saw
Senior learning to crochet from high school student
student learning to paint from an elder
Beautifying school fences to connect seniors and elementary school kids
Adults land children working together to revitalize spaces
Bringing members of the community together of all ages for transportation safety
Creating with Community & Getting People To Take Action using Public Art as a Tool
Revitalized space used by thousands daily and taught design and painting skills to 30 youth
Collaboration with DIVAS to teach and have others take action
Collaboration with the DOE to advocate to reopen a park. Raised $100,000 and reopened a park.
Collaboration with houses of worship,
NYC agencies to revitalize a downtown hub. Raised $160,000 over 11 years
Mural that raised over 130,000 for increased services
The mural collaboration helped bring in a CASA grant for the following year for the partner organization for continued revitalization.
Rethinking How Art Can Be Used to Get People Outside and Healthier
Co Creating Sculptures increases knowledge and fitness
Running 5K's helps others grow their body and learn to make healthy choices
Giving out canvas bags designed by community artists in parks
Creating salads so good the kids thought it was candy
VR designed artwork to promote less litter in our community
Our Popup Library in park brought people out for reading, walking in the fresh air, enjoying healthy snack
Empowering Youth, Schools, and After School providers through art, design, and technology
Through in-school and after-school programming, students learn tools across disciplines, practice what they learn, teach what they learned, and use it to improve their community. See 3 examples of our impact on students and communities below.
1.Innovative design & Implementation: students designed and tested Hanky Family Kit plus advocated for structural fixes in their bathrooms. Awareness helped Raised $230,000 by activating parents for participatory voting. The kit for students promoted hand sanitization, personal responsibility, and innovative bathroom practices for 800 kids
2. Innovative Problem solving: To decrease bullying and religious tension in one school, students designed, funded, and are currently implementing the Acts of Kindness Video Game Club. They created a framework whereby each week students who are kind are nominated for the video game club. Students can be nominated by other students, lunchroom monitors, and administration. The nicer you are the higher the chance you have of being selected for the club for 1 week. Students designed and held a video game fundraise,r raised 1000 for the hardware and got administration by in. This year the club will be run by the principal/
3. Teaching what we learn: Created a curriculum in 3d design and fabrication and trained over 30 after school providers including Woodside on the Move and Divas For Social Justice. RPGA also created a design tournament that impacted over 10,000 families throughout Queens over 7 years
Women Who Build -
Artists Who Own
Tool Lending Library
Thank you Eileen Fisher, Inc, small businesses, and over 400 people for helping funding this project.
Sign up for Go29 events!
Go29 takes a creative approach to promote community connectedness, beautification, small business growth and volunteerism.
Join Go29! group and stay informed on upcoming community meet-ups happening in District 29 in Queens, NYC:
Rego Park / Forest Hills / Kew Gardens / Richmond Hill.
Meet-ups include free workshops at local stores and parks.
Clean-ups in local gardens and green spaces
Mural painting at underpasses and neglected areas
Aluminum art installations in local communities
Creative design workshops
Empowering build sessions for skill development
Thank you Council member Koslowitz for funding.