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Would YOU like to create
a "Fishes Feed Us" project?
Below are notes about how we created our project. You are free to use any of the ideas, fish costume-object designs, even the text of the 10 monologues spoken by our 4th & 5th graders in our performance! Or, you can read and choose from some of the kids blog comments that we did not select for our final monologues. [see navigation link to "kids blog"]
MISSION & PUBLIC "MESSAGE"
Create a collaborative, art-science, public awareness project designed to engage the minds, hearts, and enthusiasm of youth about a critical environmental issue, and empower them to use their "spheres of influence" to inform and inspire members of their extended family, friends, and teachers to take action on behalf of our oceans and ocean life. To accomplish this, our project poignantly puts a face [children's] on the critical ill health of our planet’s oceans by drawing attention to the human consequences of our rapidly diminishing fish supplies.
For details about our Project Objectives visit:
Once the mission and public message was decided, the various components below were created to bring the project's objectives to life!
This is an extremely important step. The process of educating yourself about the ocean issue that is touching your heart, is very exciting and integral to the success of the project. Today, with the Internet, it can totally be done via online research. Who are the experts on that marine issue? What reports have been published recently? What types of public awarness or action projects have already been done? Which are the ocean conservation organizations whose mission/message most match yours? If your project will be local, then you can meet with people in-person, which is always best. However, don't contact your potential project partners until you have a good sense of what you want to do, the need for it, and it's uniqueness... allowing for an openness that welcomes input from those you want to partner with. Pointing them to these web-pages will help to capture their imagination about the benefits of the partnership to enhancing their mission's goals... but you should know enough about their mission to be able to suggest the benefits as well.
The next-step in creating partnerships is to draft a "Letter of Agreement." This clearly itemizes the benefits and responsibilities of each partner, and provides a timeline for delivery of specific actions [responsibilities] by each partner. When the draft is agreed upon, your group sends it for approval and signature [or digital signature]. Do NOT do this step over the phone, it needs to be "formalized" in writing, and both parties mark their calendars accordingly. These letters will be different for each partner that is providing completely different services to your project. [see each component of the project below]
Mostly, your "Project Partners" will provide their services for "free" because you are not charging them to be involved in a highly-visible project that enhances their educational or ocean conservation mission,,, and also they will receive public recognition.
Click here for a sample "Letter of Agreement" with our performance school partner. Un-anticipated changes to the project production timeline should be shared with and accepted by your partner in writing [via "email" rather than phone].
For services that must be paid for in cash [choreographer, audio-video equipment, etc], you also should create a Letter of Agreement and a Payment Schedule. Our New York choreographer and assistant were paid 25% up-front, 50% upon completion of rehearsals at school with our student performers, and the 25% balance on the day of the event.
Create a one-page project description and mention the amount of your request. Email an introduction to yourself and project to your potential sponsor and attach the project description. Also print-out and leave the project description one-pager with them during your personal meetings. This "one-pager" should include:
~ if you want, you can copy/paste our Fishes Feed Us logo at the top
~ a small photo [your local fishing boats or or ocean problem issue]
~ you can use one of our photos, however...Please post a text credit for logo and/or images to: "Art & Science Collaborations/Fishes Feed Us project"]
~ a paragraph description about the project and why it is important locally
~ link to "Fishes Feed Us" model via http://www.asci.org/artikel884.html
~ itemized short list of cash expenses & total [see below for ours]
Potential sponsors/funders can be researched at the Foundation Center online: http://foundationcenter.org
DURING "PITCH" MEETINGS: Being yourself and talking in an informed and passionate way about our ocean crisis, and why you feel there is a critical local need for increasing public awareness [and action!]... is key to your success with this part of the production puzzle. Approaching local businesses that economically benefit from a healthy ocean and local coastal waters [tourism, recreation, restaurants, banks, fishing industry, etc.] will probably cover your or your group's expenses. Remember, mention to them that their local "Fishes Feed Us" project will bring them local publicity [they will be viewed as an "ocean steward"], and will also be posted and promoted [via text, photos, and links to partners and sponsors] on ASCI's "spin-offs" web-portal that will be documenting global youth and civic group efforts on behalf of our oceans!
Challenging/Inspiring Youth Involvement
Project Director, Cynthia Pannucci went into the classrooms of the project's NYC educational partners [elementary, middle and high-school] to inspire the involvement of the students. To provide them with the scientific facts about our collapsing ocean fisheries around the world, she presented a compelling multimedia CD filmed and produced by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society. It was about ocean reefs and the consequences of their destruction for planet Earth and its peoples. She also mentioned that many kids living in coastal villages in the Philippines and Malaysia can't go to school because they must fish all-day so that their families have a necessary source a protein, because most local fishes have been over-fished by large, international, commercial fishing vessels. This really made an impression on the NYC students. Made them want to help and tell others about this unfair situation!
Educational resource links about "the state of our oceans" and actions that individuals can take to help, were shared with participating youth via partner coordinators in NYC and Malaysia and the Philippines. The Philippines coordinator took her high school students on a field trip to a coastal village and they interviewed fisher children. Now there are many educational materials for youth, teachers and the general public posted on ocean conservation websites, so we can all be well-informed about the complex issues of this pressing, global environmental issue. [see "resources" in navigation links below].
Art teacher/science teacher "team-teaching" is encouraged, however we did not have enough time to initiate our project at the beginning of the school year. Therefore, links to educational resources were provided to teachers, students, and parents and they were responsible for deeper investigating on their own.
KIDS FISHES BLOG
We decided that the best way to provide a global platform for the words of youth on the causes and consequences of our collapsing ocean fisheries was to create a dialogue via a kids-to-kids online blog. Through an email referral by one of the world's most renown fish experts, Dr. Rainer Froese, we found an important early partner. OneOcean.org and the FISH Project in the Philippines, offered to collaborate on the production and hosting of our KidsFishesBlog under the coordination of Ms. Ciony Sia. The blog was responsible for providing us with the 10 spoken monologues for our youth performance [and much more archived dialogue text is available for public use]. [see "kids blog" navigation link below]
PERFORMANCE AS SOCIAL ACTION
Thirty, 9-year old and 10-year old students from a NYC public elementary school, PS124 in Chinatown, worked with a NYC choreographer and two dance assistants to create our “Fishes Feed Us” performance. The performance medium required the children to "become" the fishes with their movements [and spoken monologues], thus it became a powerful vehicle for the youth to physically integrate and publicly share their new knowledge about our ocean fish crisis.
PROJECT TIME-FRAME 
Cynthia Pannucci's initial ideas for the performance scenario changed somewhat during the collaborative process working with the choreographer and her assistants over the course of 4-weeks. Click here for notes on our initial performance scenario...
MAKING THE COSTUME-OBJECTS
Click here for a "How-To Guide" that you can follow to create the hand-painted, carboard, fishes costume-objects used in our youth performance... or produce something new and share it with us so we can show others!
Using the Internet is a cost-effective way to acknowledge our participating youth, partnering organizations, and funders; to share the project creation process; and to hopefully inspire its replication as a low-cost, highly replicable model. It has been proven that when youth projects and their artworks are posted on the Internet to be shared with the world, that is when parents, teachers, and community members get involved! [ie a teachers’ reflections re: their Fish Project see paragraph #4]
DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS & VIDEO
Still photos of project participants, photos of "how-to" steps involved in making the costume-objects, and video footage of the “Fishes Feed Us” public performance on the United Nations Plaza, are posted in these project web-pages. This documentation presents a global model that will hopefully inspire and be copied by others who want to help raise public awareness and take action on behalf of our oceans and ocean life.
The inter-disciplinary nature of this project calls for promoting to several different audiences: secondary education, ocean conservation, environmental awareness, youth action projects, civic activism, performance, Internet technology application, and community art projects. ASCI will promote "Fishes Feed Us"directly to global NGO organizations involving these different audiences and to online and print magazines and journals covering these fields.
March.... blog designed; edu resources shared
April... multimedia presentation in schools
April.... choreography designed
May.... costume-objects produced
April–May.... blog takes place online
May.... dance rehearsals & monologues learned
June 5th....performance at UN Plaza, NYC
July-Sept.... website created by ASCI
October....global promotion & open blog forum
Most project expenses were covered as "in-kind" contributions from partnering organizations and collaborators. The Conservation for the Oceans Foundation provided $2,500 in "seed funding" and ASCI covered the deficit of $800.
The following were our cash expenses:
$1900.... fees of choreographer & two assistants
$ 281.... materials for costume-objects
$ 500.... design+production costume objects
$ 135.... shipping costume-objects
$ 450.... travel expenses [Cynthia to performance]
PRODUCTION TEAM [NYC event]
~ *project director:
Cynthia Pannucci, ASCI Founder/Director
~ ocean educational advisor:
Dr. Richard Murphy/Ocean Futures Society
~ coordinator & hosting of KidsFishes blog:
Ciony Cia /OneOcean.org & FISH Project & USAID
& the Philippine government
~ monotor of KidsFishesBlog Forum:
student from college in the Philippines
~ inspiration for fish costume-objects:
adaptations of Lisa Studier’s woodcuts
~ design & production costume-objects:
Cynthia Pannucci/artist & ASCI Director
~ NYC choreographer:
Elise Knudson [utilizes objects in her work]
~ assistants to choreographer:
college students studying dance education
~ blog partners with youth:
ocean education programs & science teachers
* Maylasia: Marine Research Foundation-Asia
* Philippines: Masbate City CRMIC
* Bangladesh: KKAI/USA
* High School for Environmental Studies/NYC
~ audio tape for the performance:
selected by choreographer, Elise Knudson
~ sound-system for the performance:
United Nations Environment Programme, NYC
~ donation of project logo:
designer, Tim Gunther
~ animations for project web-pages:
8th-graders via artist-teacher Meryl Meisler,
the Institute for Collaborative Education
[a NYC public school]
~ project documentation web-pages:
created & hosted by Art & Science Collaborations
~ performance documentation video:
KKAI/USA global children's organization
~ performance site coordination:
United Nations Environment Programme and
UNEP/NYC Office Information & Outreach
*PROJECT DIRECTOR EXPERIENCE:
For many years while living/working in New York City as an artist, ASCI's Director, Cynthia Pannucci, designed and led art workshops in many community situations: at a senior center, children's museum, battered-women/ family shelter, after-school program for disadvantaged youth; and with a pregnant teen network program, local high school and local development corporation, and a private girls' school. These experiences taught her about the ingredients required to design and produce this highly-collaborative project.
For tips on creating Your Own
project for our oceans...
PROJECT NAVIGATION LINKS:
project l kids blog l performance l partners
background l ocean facts l challenges
resources l how you can help
how-to create your own l "spin-offs"