Yes, we are doing a call for walls in North Hollywood. Artist Levi Ponce and Connectopod have teamed up to create a mural in NoHo. Are you a business or property owner that would like to have your wall beautified? Let Connectopod know.
We asked Betsy Foldes Meiman from Connectopod about the North Hollywood mural project with artist Levi Ponce and The Village Family Services.
What is Connectopod and Changing the Narrative?
Connectopod is a non-profit created by a media professional Betsy Foldes Meiman and a social justice youth advocate Andrea Longoria Lopez. We use podcast as a vehicle to improve literacy and communication skills, and teach youth to create their own path. They learn by creating with professional guest artists mentors. In the process they build a portfolio of linkable work streaming on our platform, Spotify, iHeart radio and many other podcast streams as well as the audio archives of KPFK.org. And they finish with a wide network of professionals to tap for internships, jobs and support. And have some fun along the way.
Changing the Narrative is our annual podcast series where we work with youth in communities that get a bad rap. We examine the stereotypes in reputation and the media, and then reclaim the narrative with podcasts that reflect their experience with more nuance and accuracy.
For our third season, Changing the Narrative: Unhoused Youth, we are in residence at The Village Family Services in North Hollywood working with the drop in center. The TAY (Transitional Age Youth 14-24) get personal in one-on-one interviews about homelessness, including issues surrounding mental health, LGBTQ discrimination, pandemic madness, domestic violence, attending college, finding work, dealing with addiction and PTSD, and how to rise above their situation. And as all youth are doing-just trying to figure out who they are in life.
The TAY are now working remotely and safely distanced with professional media guest artists to create their own episodes. In the works we have a report on mental health and homelessness, an interview with a producer, some creative fiction, and a music episode.
What is the project homeless youth owning space through art?
The mural portion came about as a way for homeless youth to claim space, and share their narrative in a way that is highly visible. We are looking for a wall in North Hollywood where this is an invisible population is right in plain sight. Most homeless youth don’t seem homeless. Nobody would know what they are struggling with to look at these kids who seem like any other. The youth in this program are progressing toward stability. I am amazed at their strength and resiliency. Most of all their sweetness!
Levi has collaborated as a guest interview artist before, sharing his own story to inspire our kids in Pacoima in 2019 to follow their passion in life. We’ve wanted to collaborate with him on an actual wall ever since we met him back in 2014 where his murals are everywhere on Van Nuys BLVD. We felt this project CTN: Unhoused Youth, was the perfect project because Levi can digest and create this concept and incorporate our youth into the process from brainstorming to on site actualization. He builds community through sharing his talent on a large scale. We wanted something big and beautiful that the TAY could see, even in their compromised situations, and be proud. That when they see their stories reflected in bold images, they feel it is for them, about them, and that they helped create it. We love working with Levi. He makes everyone feel like anything is possible.
There will also be a short documentary made on the process that highlights the youth and Levi changing the narrative of what homeless youth are perceived to be.
What type of wall(s) are you looking for?
My dream wall is 11320 Chandler, either the side on Tujunga or the back wall facing the metro on Chandler. I am having trouble finding the owner. But we are happy with any visible wall that is near the Skate Park on Magnolia behind the library or nearby.
What is the theme of the mural?
The theme of the mural, designed by Levi with input from the TAY, is that of a colorful quilt placed on a youth in an action of comfort by another. Each square will represent a different story of the experiences of the TAY or skill, or hope, or dream.
What does a property owner have to do?
A property owner would have to agree to not whitewash over the mural for a period of two years. (really why on earth would you want to?!?!?)