Valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains
The mixed media valises are used by the National Park Service and County Fire Department to teach about fire prevention, national forests, and our relationship to nature. Abeles welded the substructures to create shapes like pine tree logs, a chain saw, and other fire fighting tools. The women at Camp 13 worked with Abeles over a 6-month period of time to develop the content for the sculptural suitcases. Some of the women worked with Kim to assemble the sculptural elements, while others worked side by side on their own projects. The firefighters provided the informational content.
Valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains (CAMP) embeds artists in the Los Angeles County Fire Department to work in collaboration with the paid and inmate workforces, and community stakeholders that service the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The artworks and creative programs are developed to explore new models in two core areas: increasing public awareness, engagement, and responsible stewardship through the County’s wildfire management programs; and providing skills development and job readiness opportunities for incarcerated women through creative activities related to the Santa Monica Mountains. This is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, led by The Armory Center for the Arts led the program at Camp 13 with Kim Abeles as the first commissioned artist. (2017-18)
Link to Liz Ohanesian's article in Los Angeles Magazine, "This Artist Enlisted Female Inmate Firefighters for a Show about Our Fragile Environment."
Americans for the Arts honored the project that embedded Abeles in Los Angeles County Fire Department's Malibu Conservation Camp #13. You can link to the award information here.
And link here for a blog post written by Abeles for the American for the Arts.
This video shows all ten valises including details:
This next video is a 26-minute video created to show educators how to use the valises for instructional purposes: