Friday, May 9, 2008

And Now What You've All Been Waiting For...

An Interview with Andrea, HomeSource Member, Volunteer, and LAND Board Member.


Anderson, Toni, and Terry. Personal Interview. March 24 2008.

Anderson, Toni. Personal Interview. April 30 2008.

Andrea. Personal Interview. April 9 2008.

LAND Newspaper Archive. Available April 30 2008.

"Map of 3701 W. Lisbon Avenue Milwaukee, WI." Mapquest. 2008. Mapquest. May 8 2008.

Artist Statement

HomeSource creates an enormous opportunity for Milwaukee residents to take pride in their homes. After documenting the variety of resources HomeSource offers and digging through LAND’s newspaper archives, the film takes the next step by contacting and interviewing a resident who is a HomeSource member. The short film is an investigation of the member’s experience with HomeSource and what she thinks about the program. The resident, Andrea, was interviewed and juxtaposed with video footage and photographic stills of HomeSource supplies. This method was used so that the interview’s message would create thicker and more in depth feel of the organization. By layering the audio and visual elements, a richer picture of HomeSource could be formed. Unfortunately, since the artist was not contacted with more residents, Andrea is the only member who could voice her opinion about HomeSource. The original plan was to interview many residents, but the lack of willing residents forced the film to focus on one woman’s experience. This focus was not necessarily a negative result. By only focusing on one resident, the film was able to grasp at something more specific than if it had included multiple residents. Andrea presented her unique impression of HomeSource and through her interview the viewer can also glimpse the view of a LAND volunteer as well. It actually worked quite nicely.

The artist aimed to create a media archive which shows how much HomeSource has influenced the Milwaukee community. The media collection includes photographs and video segments of the warehouse, an interview with a resident, and newspaper archives (namely headlines). The headlines were chosen because they could illustrate the past accomplishments of HomeSource and lead the viewer into the interview.

The filming and editing process was a challenge with the hurdles which presented themselves. Well, the filming wasn't so tough since the entire group was present to interview and take pictures as well, even digging through LAND's newspaper archive was alright since Sarah was there too, but the editing was the most difficult since it was a struggle I had to face alone. Perhaps the most cumbersome was the realization that after all the struggle, my computer could not adequately run the editing software, resulting in jerky playbacks and a finished product that was not properly viewed until placed online. This inability to properly view the film before posting resulted in minor nuances which could have been caught and fixed if the computer didn’t react so slowly.

Although it has been a struggle, LAND continues their mission and continues to spread the hope LAND has given the community throughout the years. It is hoped that this presentation does it justice and shows a glimpse of what this heartfelt organization is doing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Bit About HomeSource and ToolSource

HomeSource and ToolSource consist of fifty percent of LAND's efforts. The programs make tools and home repair items available to Milwaukee's low income residents. ToolSource operates as a loan program. Members are able to make a deposit on an item (like a snowblower, power saw, or garden hoe), use the item, and receive a full refund of their deposit when the tool is returned. HomeSource operates more like a discount retail store. Through HomeSource, members can purchase new or used items (like a stove, door, or a bucket of paint) for their home.

The items available to members are donated from businesses and individuals all over Wisconsin. Donations can be shipped to LAND or they can be picked up by one of LAND's volunteers. Donations are gladly welcomed regardless of quantity. The smallest of items can make a big difference to the right person. Items aren't the only things that can be donated. LAND accepts monetary donations as well.

HomeSource began nine years ago and has since outgrown its original 7,000 square foot warehouse. It presently resides within a 10,000 square foot warehouse on 37th and Lisbon Avenue, but is beginning to outgrow that location as well.

HomeSource in the Headlines

These are a few of the headlines Toni Anderson was able to find for us. It is obvious that HomeSource and ToolSource have created a huge impact on the community. Through these programs, LAND is reaching out to Milwaukee residents and making a difference. They are repairing people's homes and their lives by giving people in need access to resources they never would have thought possible. It is truly amazing what LAND has been able to accomplish.


I feel as if I should apologize for the informal quality of my blog. It is one of the only ways that I felt comfortable displaying this project and the struggles it presents. I thought that by showing my struggle the blog would be more interesting. It was also a way to give updates and to give readers a feel for my process.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Progress! An Update

The film footage has been downloaded! I will finally be able to edit and fit together the materials and be able to see if I should collect more.

It feels good.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Project Update

This project really doesn't want to come together. After realizing that we couldn't save on the external hard drive because it was formatted to a PC rather than a Mac, my group and I tried downloading to a PC.

Apparently UWM doesn't supply their PC using students as well as their Mac users. The editing program on the PC is sub par to iMovie and the PCs provided did not even have a fire wire port.

How are we supposed to download out footage if there is no port to connect the camera?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Project Update

Sarah and I went to LAND today to do some research. We were able to get copies of a lot of newspaper articles about HomeSource. We have yet to dig through our copies, but at the very least, the headlines and images would be a great addition to our project. Things are beginning to come together.

To the left is a news clipping of one of the founders of HomeSource, Darryl Johnson. Toni told us that he was the person who was able to get one of the first large donations to start the program.

To the right is a newspaper clipping of a student who was working with LAND in 1998 to rebuild the house shown. I am especially drawn to the framing in this photo. I love it.

I'll post the headlines when I finish scanning the articles.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Progress Update

Last week Sarah, Jessica, and I returned to LAND and were able to meet and interview a resident who is a HomeSource member. Filming an interview was much more difficult than I had imagined. The angle was all wrong and I wasn't sure if I should move to adjust it because I did not want to ruin any of our footage or sound clips. Ah well, I guess it's a learning experience.

We let Terry know that we were interested in interviewing many residents about their experiences with HomeSource, but we haven't heard back from her. It looks like this may be our only resident that we can contact, so i've been trying to dig up some of HomeSource's history to balance it all out.

I've been hitting a lot of bumps recently: we can't find a computer lab to download our footage, we have been unable to find a time to return to LAND, and now we may have to adjust our project plans to only accomodate one resident interview. It's been tough, to say the least.

Here's a photo of the truck loaded up inside the warehouse. Hopefully I'll have something more about the history of HomeSource by next week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Look into HomeSource: A Photo Essay

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My primary visual goal for the photo essay was to display the variety and quantity of items that Homesource supplies. I approached this by taking photos of items that were gathered closely together as well as choosing camera angles which accentuated the expanse of the paint cans, sinks or wallpaper. By cropping the photo, I also pushed the items against the frame, thus creating an illusion that the objects continued far past the edge of the photo.

By primarily depending on photos for information and supplementing minimal text, I had to analyze the photos I took and juxtapose images to create the point I wished to get across to the viewer. I also had to edit the interview I had with the staff at LAND and decide what information would most compliment the photos. The interview with the staff taught me a lot about the Homesource program, its history, and its goals. It was difficult to decide what aspect to focus the essay on; the interview’s information had to be split three ways among my group as well. I thought that creating an advertisement of sorts would be both beneficial to Homesource as well as complimentary to the variety of photos that were taken.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2007 Test Scores for Milwaukee Public Schools

"Focus on Diversity with Troy Shaw" discusses the results of the 2007 Wisconsin student test results. The Milwaukee public school systems scored much lower than the state average. With achievement slowly improving, the group discusses the challenges the Milwaukee school system will face. One of these challenges includes tackling the "culture of thuggery" which sees "glories in failure rather than failure in failure." Another challenge is to increase the involvement teachers and school administration. By increasing involvement, it is less likely that students will be ignored and slip through the cracks of the education system. It is also necessary to involve the parents of the students. If the students aren’t motivated to pursue an education in their home setting, it is just that much harder to motivate them within the school.

Milwaukee’s sub-par statistics are shocking, but it is important to remember that those numbers only reflect the children who are enrolled as students and attending school. The community’s role and effect on MPS students was not mentioned during the discussion. The community setting has a powerful impact on its citizens and it could influence a child’s willingness to learn. An involved community could also be a key factor in increasing students’ test scores.