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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 Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. 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. 

Working On Natural Pigment

How to filter pigment from soil:

How to determine if your soil has pigment:

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

Artist Open Call: Creating in Nature 

Artists

  • Milena Carvajal George

  • Margaret Roleke

  • Dana Stewart-Lookkin

  • Xandra Louvre

  • Sita Sunil

  • Leonie Weber

 

As artists, we use a lot of materials that can be harmful, toxic, and dangerous. At times, the materials we use don't break down and ultimately end up in landfills, harming our communities and our planet. This is the driving idea behind Creating in Nature; a drive to make better choices in art. Selectivity is part of our Artist Open Call Framework. To learn more about this

Download the Artist Open Call Framework here.

New Queens Mural on 73rd Place and 51st Ave.

Flowers is a mural project celebrating the regional flowers and butterflies that make New York beautiful. It is designed by Yvonne Shortt, the community, and local artists.

Funding provided through NYC Councilmember Robert Holden

New Queens Mural on Woodhaven Blvd and Eliot Ave.

It's All Connected is a mural project showing the unperceived unity in our communities, where natural, spiritual and industrial worlds comes together harmoniously. It is designed by Yvonne Shortt, the community, and local artists.

Funding provided through NYC Councilmember Robert Holden

In Progress Queens Mural in Kew Gardens Inspired By Cave/Rock Art

Research We've documented some of the cave and rock art from across the world that is inspiring us in our latest mural.

Ideas Take a look at some initial concepts in progress.

Study Our natural pigment art studies inspire and drive composition, lines, colors, and textures.

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

New Mural on 63rd Drive
Love Yourself and Others

Love Yourself and Others is a mural project to say what we want in our community. It is designed by Yvonne Shortt and the students at PS 206.

This program is made possible by an Innovation Grant awarded by the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. For more information, visit http://nyc.gov/stophate

 

Funding provided by departments of cultural affairs immigrant initiative funded through NYC Councilmember Lynn Schulman

Artist Frameworks

Scarcity mindset - rooted in the othering of self and judgemental comparison to the other. The need for exclusivity over sharing; belief in limits over surplus. Instead of looking inward one looks outward for nourishment. This looking outward may lead to involvement in non-horizontal networks and abusive systems, the belief that change isn't possible, and the movement toward acceptance of destructive ideologies. The ego may also start to drive decision making in disruptive ways including the belief one must get to the top and the disconnection from relational and nurturing infrastructures.

Be The Museum
Framework

Be The Museum is a framework of Artists Daria Dorosh and Yvonne Shortt. The goal of the framework is to disrupt the scarcity mindset and patriarchal selection systems commonly encountered in the art world. This framework empowers the artist, gives the artist autonomy over their artwork, builds a sustainable practice, builds confidence, helps the artist be introduced to collectors they might not have met otherwise, helps the artist explore their own objectives for their practice, and ultimately gives the artist a way to work toward their goals on their own terms.

Download the Be The Museum framework here (PDF)

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Institutions and collectors have long acted as gatekeepers of art history, culture, and value. Within the Artist as Collector framework, artists are part of the process of deciding what art is remembered. Through a stewardship module formed by a small group, the artist selects the art and becomes its steward. Focused on mutual generosity, this model acknowledges the artist as an art historian, collector, and innovator.

Download the Artist as Collector Framework, here.

Artist Open Call Framework

Through the Artist Open Call, artists self-select to participate in opportunities, rejecting the traditional selection process as hierarchical and driven by a scarcity mindset. Artists meet weekly to build trust and connections through Zoom or in-person conversations. This preparatory exploration then impacts the creative process on-site.

It has been prototyped at A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY and Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT.

Download the Artist Open Call Framework here.

Open Community Design

Participating Artists

  • Yvonne Shortt

  • Alexandra Hammond

  • Jennifer Shepard

  • Joel Esquite

  • Kat Geng-Caraballo

  • Jack Henry

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Podcast 5 Questions

5 questions is a conversation between artists who are obliterating the scarcity mindset in the art world. Yvonne shortt and Daria Dorosh interview these artists to broaden the reach of these disruptions and keep the ripples of change in motion.

Listen here:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/5-questions-with-yvonne-shortt/id1613953289

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Rooted And Replicated Artist Open Call

Rooted and Replicated: Artists Investigating Institutional frameworks will look at the existing frameworks that support a scarcity mindset. The method we are using to assemble the team is the Artist Open Call framework. Our practice will combine conversation for contemplating core questions and the creation of art to understand and perhaps demonstrate new ideas/concepts to dismantle scarcity for ourselves and within non-profit art institutions. The artist initiators of this call are Shelly Bahl, Daria Dorosh, and Yvonne Shortt

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Yvonne will send a followup email to verify addresses for those not selected to send 25.00 for taking part in the artist open call plus to explore a creative session at the Museum for Contemporary Artists discussing this topic (125.00 stipend),and to  get permission to share our answers with some institutions..  Emails will go out by  by May 19th 11:59 pm.

Residency Participants Selected : Amy Sinclair, Katie Cercone, Seema Pandya, Yasmeen Abdallah, and Ava Nembhard

Funders

SAWCC. 

RPGA Studio, Inc, 

Research And Development @ AIR Gallery

Drawing Performance by Jodie Lyn See Chow

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Dance & Social Issues

Investigating Domestic Abuse with Yvonne through workshops, Chieh and Rosie explore desire, control, and toxicity.

Algorithm Bias

This video was first seen at a private university where a person of color had been reduced to a silhouette by a camera algorithm. After seeing the video the university made the decision to purchase a new algorithm. Eventually, the video went on to be seen in Times Sq.

A Net of Resilience

Collaborative Net-making Workshop

Resilience comes from connections with others. We all trap ourselves in a net of our own fear and shame sometimes. But a safety net we make together with a group of supportive people helps us survive and thrive.

In this collaborative art workshop, we created a net using rope with dancers and community members, had discussions around resilience, and created dance pieces.

 

Juniper Valley Park

Saturday, May 14th 11am-1pm, 2-4pm

Sunday, May 15th 11am-1pm, 2-4pm

Funding for this program provided  through the Mayors Office initiative to end Domestic Violence awarded through Council member Holden and administered through Safe Horizon.

Net Dance
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Community Raft Build

RPGA Studio with the community is investigating materials to build water floats such as wood and bamboo. Being near water provides benefits to our mental health including lowering our stress and anxiety and making us feel calm and positive. This project shares the knowledge of raft building for the community to enjoy those benefits with low-cost materials.

> Bumper Raft 4'x6' Assembly Instructions

More build instructions and material lists will be shared online for any community groups to download and build their own raft.

Thank you New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for the funding.