Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Trust

First Annual Day of Service Is a Hit

Getty staff, interns, and visiting scholars participated in the first annual Getty Day of Service this past Monday. From crawfish-trapping in Malibu to mural-painting at Hooper Avenue Elementary, we picked up shovels, brooms, and paintbrushes and got to work at five different projects across the city…in matching T-shirts.

Here’s what we did at each of the Day of Service sites, as told by the volunteers themselves.

Inner City Arts
Team Getty helped replenish supplies in the animation and art studios, organize the props closet in the theater, and clean and weed the garden. We learned about the different ways that Inner City Arts provides hands-on, cumulative arts education to thousands of local school children – many of them from L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods. I was surprised to learn that many of the arts lessons incorporate math and engineering principles as well. The highlight of the day was an impromptu performance from a 1st-grade music class! And I got some great photos of the beautiful, Michael Maltzan-designed campus—bonus!

Amy Hood, Senior Communications Specialist, Getty Trust

Hooper Avenue Elementary
Our Getty group visited LAUSD Elementary School Hooper Avenue. We did a variety of different tasks, from sweeping and raking to trash pickup. With the help of two fantastic staff from the grounds department, we also planted two beautiful beds of plants and flowers, and even created a mural on the wall of the play yard! We’ve partnered with Hooper Avenue for the past two years on the Art Together program, and it was great to work with the school in a whole new way.  My favorite part was meeting new colleagues from all across the Getty campus. Everyone worked extremely hard, and we’re so proud of the result!

Kelly Williams, Project Specialist in the Education Department, Getty Museum

Tapia Park, Mountains Restoration Trust
We went to Tapia Park at Malibu Creek and spent the day removing invasive, non-native plants, which can choke out the native species and disrupt the ecosystem for wildlife. We learned to recognize the native and non-native varieties, and after spending the morning clearing a large area, we went back after lunch and planted cuttings of native willow and cottonwood trees. It was a beautiful day and rewarding to see the new cuttings go in. We planted about 30 trees!

Robin McCarthy, Exhibitions Coordinator, Getty Museum

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
I was one of a large group of Getty staff who volunteered at the L.A. Regional Food Bank. The Food Bank sorts and distributes donated food to a huge number of people in need throughout our city. We showed up Monday morning, pulled on our rubber gloves, and got to work. It was fun being on a spontaneous assembly line, and watching how well everyone teamed up on tasks, like lifting heavy boxes of rice. Together, we sorted almost 20,000 pounds of donated food.

Catherine Bell, Senior User Experience Designer, Getty Museum

Ocean Park Community Center
Our group volunteered at the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) Access Center and Samoshel shelter. We began the day making sandwiches and putting together sack lunches. We handed those out later, along with clothing donations, and ended the day serving a hot meal to some of the shelter’s residents. It was amazing to see all of the services provided by OPCC, including medical care, counseling, job placement assistance, and connections to many other services. Interacting directly with the homeless population is something we will not soon forget, and hopefully something we will repeat. Getting to know colleagues from other parts of the Getty was also something that made the day special.

Kim Sadler, Writer/Editor, Getty Trust

A huge thank you to these wonderful organizations for hosting us!

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One Comment

  1. MonchoMorani
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    great work, Keep up the good work!

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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