Posted September 23, 2020 by Joshua neubert at the Institute of Competition Sciences
*This is a guest post from Addie Boswell and the Future Problem Solving Program – a creative problem solving program involving thousands of students from around the world each year. Learn more about Future Problem Solving here*
More than a decade ago, I wrote a Pandemic-themed scenario for students in the Future Problem Solving Program to, well, solve. When March 2020 imploded in the U.S., I dusted that document off. Here’s what it said:
In the year 2035, an unidentified RNA virus is spreading rapidly, causing an array of flu-like symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, headaches, body aches, and diarrhea. Within two weeks, many victims develop pneumonia and/or acute respiratory distress syndrome, which leads to difficulty breathing and can result in organ failure.
The future virus originated in dead animals after a flood in Ethiopia, and quickly spread from refugees and first responders to the general population. Death rate was estimated at 10% and only one anti-viral (Xifan) had shown any relevance, only when taken within 48 hours. With shortages of hospital staff, ICU beds, isolation rooms, and ventilators, the WHO predicted that every inhabited continent would be forced to deal with this pandemic.
Sound familiar? Based on this scenario, students in 3rd-12th grades proposed all sorts of challenges that have now come to pass in 2020: naval contagion, financial collapse, price-gouging, production chain stoppage, and more. But perhaps more importantly, they proposed solutions. Here are just a few of the ideas that these Future Problem Solvers identified and how they stack up with real-time actions from adults in our current pandemic.
Read the full article...
Muralist Emily Lux and I knew we needed a simple lay-out and a good phrase to organize our first "socially distanced" project. Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd memorials were sweeping the country, could we make art that was a call to action? That had some hope along with the anger and frustration and despair? Then I read Claudia Rankine's poem "Weather," commissioned by the New York Times to capture the moment. It is a powerful read, and I especially liked the final lines:
"Repair the Future" seemed to sum up everything we wanted to say, and the letters are spread out over protest-style signs. Each one is painted by a different kid/young adult based on an issue that matters to them. You'll see references to the environment, factory farming, black lives matter, pride, and more. Supported by volunteers and local businesses in Beaverton, and painted on July 4th-5th, this mural illustrates what collective action (and public art!) are capable of. In this sanctioned stillness, raising your voice -- or your pen or paintbrush -- seems the most important thing one can do, and the Zoomers are taking that in. They gave me hope that they can meet this mess we are leaving. See more of the process here.
News Release from Portland Fire & Rescue
Posted on FlashAlert: January 6th, 2020 11:00 AM
On January 3, a new piece of public art was installed at Portland Fire & Rescue’s main administrative building at SW Ash Street and Naito Parkway. The colorful mural by Portland artists Addie Boswell and Antwoine Thomas was commissioned by Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone and managed by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC).
When Fire Chief Sara Boone was sworn in, she communicated that the three areas she considers to be the pillars of Portland Fire & Rescue are community, service, and sacrifice.
In her first weeks, Chief Boone installed new lighting and painted an accent wall behind the portrait of Chief David Campbell, one of Portland Fire & Rescue’s most notable former chiefs. She wanted Chief Campbell’s portrait to be an area of focus because Campbell, who died in a fire, symbolizes the service and sacrifice every firefighter commits to when they are sworn into duty. Chief Campbell tragically died in the line of duty during a 1911 fire when he entered a building to make sure all firefighters had retreated; the building collapsed upon him before he could get out. Chief Campbell made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure his firefighters were safe.
Chief Boone also wanted to add a mural on the wall leading to the chief’s office to showcase the bureau’s deep connection to the community it serves. She wants to make sure that everyone who walks down the hallway to the chief’s office knows that they are welcome and included. The bureau engaged RACC to manage the project. The project was funded with percent-for-art dollars that earmarks the costs of certain City improvements for public art.
Through a paneled public process, Boswell and Thomas’s submission themed “It takes everyone to create community” was selected and commissioned. The colorful painting, now titled “Vibrant Cities Don’t Burn,” creates a bright tapestry of Portland imagery stitched together with symbolic threads denoting PF&R’s history and work. A flutter of 36 butterflies representing each of the 36 Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters lost in the line of duty (as noted by the downtown firefighters’ memorial) fly in the direction of Chief Campbell’s portrait down the hall. Among the scenes of nature and people working in harmony are roses, which are both a symbol of the city and the centerpiece of PF&R’s logo. The work honors the sacredness of the land and people who came before us. The piece is imbued with so many surprise bits of symbolism that a key will accompany it on the wall.
“I want to thank the artists for creating this celebratory, inclusive, and engaging piece of work that will greet those who head down the hall to the chief’s office. I appreciate the level of commitment and understanding that the artists put into this work as visual and visceral representations of service and community,” says Fire Chief Sara Boone. “Images are powerful and they play a meaningful role in who feels welcomed in certain spaces. Those who head down this hallway will understand our history and know that we are going into the future together. This artwork highlights the best of our city and Portland Fire & Rescue.”
Video on this project can be accessed at:
Chief Boone talks about the mural with the artists: https://vimeo.com/382706008
Video of the mural installation: https://vimeo.com/382693864
The Portland Book Festival (formerly known as Wordstock) is coming up. Though I know it is difficult to get downtown, park, and navigate crowds with young children, the benefits of the Festival are so great! And there's a great new addition this year: Me! Leading a bunch of favorite kids crafts. Find me in the tent outside the Oregon Historical Society and ...
Right next door, at the Oregon Historical Society, you can see your favorite authors & illustrators as they give STORYTIMES and sign their books after.
There's more! Books and gifts and freebies at the Book Fair, panels on writing throughout the festival, good food trucks, and great bookish energy. The Festival is free to kids (17 and under) and adults can buy Advance passes for $15 (day-of passes increase to $20) which include a $5 voucher to spend at the extensive book fair. All passes include admission to the Portland Art Museum.
Is there a right way to buy a book these days? I say nope, because every book matters. But if you're wondering how your purchase matters to moi, the author, read on.
Authors and illustrators get an equal percentage of every book sold. Since printing costs of picture books are high, that percentage is usually about 10% of the list price, split between them 50/50. Which means for every $10 book sold, I would get $.50 for the hardback, or $.30 for the board book. As you can imagine, the goal is quantity, and any way you buy is good for me in the long run. For example:
What about e-books?
These generally function the same way as paper books do, though authors and publishers have been arguing about e-book royalty rates. (Creators believe that the lack of printing costs should translate to larger portions for them -- the standard split is currently 12-20%, which would be halved with the illustrator.) Since board books like Go, Bikes, Go! are made for toddlers, they are not usually offered as e-books, and e-book sales for picture books still make up a small percentage of all sales.