For their final assignment the NELA Youth Voices student producers created digital interactive murals. They were designed to take viewers on a street-level journey of their neighborhood, their hot spots, their memories, and in some cases their re-imagining of the L.A. River. Students highlighted people, places, and things throughout the five neighborhoods (Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Elysian Valley, and Atwater Village) that are part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. They offer a view of what the students care for in their neighborhood, what they don't, and what tells their neighborhood story.
Students were challenged to see what kind of juxtapositions or narratives they could create through these linear audio/visual presentations. They were also encouraged to apply the graphic principles they learned, and perhaps integrate some of the collage and design styles to which they had been introduced over the course of the workshops.
The students used VUVOX, an online application that allows users to cut and collage images, embed video and audio, and create stand-alone multimedia panoramic experiences. As can be the case with any application or software, there were technical issues, including slow access to the application and the loss of material when the program crashed or the projects weren't saved properly. Nonetheless, most of the students persevered and created compelling narrative journeys through their neighborhoods.
This phase of the project brought a new level of excitement and motivation to the student's work. Many reflected back on their personal map to structure their mural, while also exploring the photos they had taken during the multimedia workshops and the various field trips taken by the three classes. These created a wonderful stock of photos, but lacked that personal perspective that comes when students take more of an initiative to take their own photographs. Creating more opportunities for this personal creative endeavor is a must, but it can be difficult as it relies on the students to do this mostly on their own time.
As the students rushed to complete their murals, they grew increasingly interested to see what others were creating. Their motivated them to try new things and stretch themselves -- adding slide shows, music, cropping and layering photos in a more seamless manner, and sharpening their stories. Check out the murals by clicking on the entries below.