The West View

The West View

By Michael Evans

A few years ago local art teacher Megan Hallett saw an exhibit called “Work” at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. with famous paintings from its own collection. It inspired her to explore that theme with her students at Escalante Elementary School on Salt Lake City’s west side. The idea bore fruit in the spring of 2019, becoming a multimedia art show that amplifies the voices and images of Escalante’s families.

“Work/Trabajo” is a bilingual sound and visual art installation featuring photographs by 40 sixth graders and eight fifth graders depicting work and effortful lives. There are words written on the walls like: “My parents are bankers.” “My parent works at Delta.” “My dad is a construction worker.” They mingle with sentences like, “I want to be an artist.” “I want to be a zoo keeper.” “My dream job is to be myself.”

Fifty voices – young and old, Spanish and English – are heard through headphones and/or speakers, telling about the past, the future, their home life and ambitions. Listeners hear phrases such as, “Pay attention to school.” “Be better than us.” “Learn what you want to be.”

“You can hear their love for one another,” said Hallett.

The sounds and images together make a compelling experience when viewing Work/Trabajo as a show. The premiere was broadcast live by KRCL 90.9 FM’s RadioActive show at Mestizo Coffeehouse, as part of Salt Lake City’s prestigious Gallery Stroll in April.

Four streams flowed together to create the traveling exhibit -- Framework Arts, UMOCA, KRCL, and photography coach Eugene Tachinni from the U of U and SLCC, who worked with the students using digital cameras provided by Escalante Elementary.

“Eugene taught them things like changing their points of view and taking many pictures to tell their stories,” said Hallett. 

Alan Ly of the Salt Lake Library helped Hallett make everything tangible by printing all the photos and wall text that were on display at Mestizo Art Gallery. Work/Trabajo was also at “Share Space” in Library Square, indoors during the Living Traditions Festival, where it was very well-attended by west-side families and festival-goers grateful to get out of the rain during the wet May weekend.

In the fall, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art will take Work/Trabajo around Utah in their mobile “Art Truck” gallery, and the authentic voices of Escalante Elementary School will speak through headphones or loudspeakers wherever the Art Truck goes during the school year, thanks to production assistance from Christian “Chovy” Camargo and Billy Palmer of KRCL Community Radio.

Hallett utilizes her nonprofit, Framework Arts, to access additional resources for art programs at Escalante as well as conduct other participatory art projects, like the “League of Reluctant Bicyclists,” which is on display at UMOCA for the rest of the summer.

Framework Arts is a local non-profit that sponsors Family Art Studio, where 5th graders and their parents participate in printing, outdoor art, and family portraits. The families also eat dinner when they come to Escalante Elementary.

Tachinni taught photography to participants in the Family Art Studio, and they contributed to Work/Trabajo along with the 6th graders. Through Framework Arts, Hallet is skilled at initiating collaborative partnerships with different organizations, such as KRCL, the SLC Public Library and UMOCA, to carry out these types of creative projects. But, she is quick to give credit to others.

“My students are capable of doing something that is just as visually interesting with just as compelling storytelling as many of the other things on display in the city,” Hallett said. “Not everybody’s stories are being told. One thing that we need to do as teachers is help kids understand that they may have to do the work that some people don’t have to do, and when they do that work they can get people to pay attention to what they are doing, and how they are living their lives.”

The Work/Trabajo exhibit will tour in the UMOCA Art Truck throughout Utah, to places like Provo High School, North Davis Prep, Monticello Academy, nearby Rose Park and Escalante Elementary Schools, and various Arts in the Park events during 2020.

 

By Nigel Swaby

North Temple has long been a focus of the River District Chamber and its predecessor the River District Business Alliance. Over the last year, we’ve started to see some success. A year ago, we advocated for the opening of a police substation in the former Arctic Circle property to decrease crime in the area. Along with Salt Lake City Councilmember Andrew Johnston’s request for a police bike patrol for the west side, we thought the combination would be powerful. It was. Calls for police service at the Gateway Inn were about 125 per month a year ago. Now, the typical number of calls is less than 20.

The police moved out a few months ago as the property owner is preparing it for lease to another business. Besides the decrease in calls to police, the number of people loitering in front of the Gateway Inn has also dropped. Part one crimes have also been significantly reduced. The Gateway Inn owners have added a security guard and a fence to better manage their property. North Temple looks better today than it did a year ago.

A few blocks east, a longtime art project under the I-15 overpass was completed to make the corridor more visually appealing. Funded by Salt Lake City’s Art Council and Housing and Neighborhood Development, the project was coordinated by the Redevelopment Agency. Using bright colored sculptures and custom concrete, the installation clearly denotes the North Temple district. Adhesive wraps conceal unsightly utility boxes.

Half a block away from North Temple on 600 West, a new Boys and Girls Club is quickly rising. Their current location is up for sale. Completion of the new site is slated for later this year. On the southeast corner of North Temple and 900 West, the Bridgestone tire store abruptly closed due to a lease dispute. The property owner posted all of their Wasatch Front real estate for sale with an open bid process that closed May 26. It is yet unclear who or what will move into that corner.

We do know that a restaurant and distillery, Congregation Spirits Distillery and Standard Candle Bar & Grill, will be opening near 23 North 900 West near the old Utah Quality Service building. The business has assembled three properties for the project. The management group currently operates Water Witch in the Central 9th district. One of the owners lives in Fairpark.

A feasibility study for the development of a Public Market at or near the Fairpark is also underway. There seems to be growing support in the city council to favor this project over a similar one proposed by the Downtown Alliance.

Finally, the mayor’s newly approved budget provides additional funding for the development of the Folsom Trail corridor. This has been another longtime project for the city we as a Chamber believe could spur further investment in the westside and create the amenities residents have been clamoring for.

North Temple is truly the gateway to Salt Lake City. It’s heartening to see the business community and civic leadership taking the necessary steps to restore this grand boulevard. As residents, property owners and business owners, we can not rest until the change we seek is fully implemented.

ITALICS: Nigel Swaby is a Fairpark resident and Chair of the River District Chamber.

by Richard O’Keef

There is a skill parents can use that will calm children down, strengthen relationships and improve cooperation. The skill is called Acknowledge Negative Feelings. Before I describe how this skill works, I would like to explain why it works.

All children have a need to be heard and understood. They cannot meet this need on their own. It requires another person. When children are in distress and their need to be heard and understood is not met, they can become frustrated and angry.

If this need continues to go unmet for a long time, the stored up emotional pain can result in defiance, depression, hostility and addictions. However, by meeting a child’s need to be heard and understood, the child is given the freedom to let go of his distressing feelings.

The way you meet this need is by acknowledging negative feelings. There are two steps: Step 1 is to meet your child’s need to be heard. When a child comes to you in distress, he doesn’t want you to agree or disagree; he doesn’t want your opinion or advice. He doesn’t want you to “fix it.” What he needs is for you to listen. Make eye contact. Give your full attention.

When you listen, let the child say whatever he wants. Give him the freedom to say all kinds of nasty, critical things, whether they are true or not. Allow him to vent. You might feel a need to interrupt him to set him straight, but don’t. Little Billy comes up to you and says, “I hate Grandma!” What is the typical parent response? “You don’t hate Grandma. You love her.” Or, “We don’t say ‘hate’ in this family.” This is not the time to correct.

Step 2 is to meet your child’s need to be understood. Showing that you understand has two parts that you can use in any order:

  1. Identify how the child is feeling – “That’s gotta be frustrating.” Or simply, “Ohh noo.”
  2. Reflect why the child is feeling that way.

The best way to explain is to just show some examples.

Child: I’d like to punch that Michael in the nose. We were playing soccer and he pushed me down.
You: “You were both going after the ball and he pushed you down. No wonder you’re so mad.”

Child: My teacher is stupid. Just because of a little rain she said we couldn’t go on our field trip.
You: “You’ve been looking forward to this field trip for weeks – how disappointing.”

Child: “Basketball sucks. Tom and Bill made the team but I didn’t.”
You: “You were cut from the team? Ohh noo.”

One day my grandchildren were visiting. 4-year old Brooklyn and her 2-year old brother, Stockton, came into the family room and spotted the spinning chair. The spinning chair is an office chair that the grandchildren love to spin around in.

Both made a dash for the chair. Stockton got there first and climbed up onto it. I could see Brooklyn fuming and I was afraid she was going to do something mean to Stockton.

The first thing that came to my mind was to say, “Brooklyn. Let Stockton have a turn and then it will be your turn.” That makes perfect sense, right? Then I remembered Brooklyn’s need to feel heard and understood in a distressful situation. And she was in distress.

I went over to Brooklyn, kneeled down so I was eye-to-eye with her and said, “Brooklyn. You are really mad. You wanted to beat Stockton to the chair and I think you even wanted him to push you around.”

She didn’t say a word, but I see her whole body relax. She turned around and off she went.

Acknowledging negative feelings is one of the most important skills a parent can have.

Richard O’Keef is a long-time resident of the Westpointe community, father of 6, and grandfather of 18. He is the author of 3-Step Parenting – How to Replace Misbehavior with Cooperation (Available on Amazon). He is the creator of a blog called: 3StepParenting.com. He is also a Fatherhood Education Coordinator for Utah State University Extension and teaches parenting classes, including classes at the Utah State Prison and Salt Lake County Jail.

By Gabriella Huggins

Formerly used in paint due to its quick-drying, moisture-resistant, and color=enhancing properties, lead was the darling of the industry. Most homes built in the United States before 1978 contained lead-based paint, and, despite studies connecting lead to myriad negative health and environmental outcomes, lack of regulation on industry kept lead on the market well into the 20th century.

The U.S. government banned the use of lead in paint in the 1970s, citing overwhelming evidence that even low levels of lead in a person’s bloodstream could cause seizures, developmental and behavioral disorders, and decreased IQ, among other risks. While it is now widely accepted that there is no safe lead blood level in any person, many Utahns remain at risk of lead exposure.

Many states have passed legislation and created programs to provide lead testing for children and removal of lead from homes, and Salt Lake County’s Lead Safe Housing Program is amongst those efforts. Millions of homes across the country built prior to the lead paint ban remain inhabited, and many of those have not undergone appropriate lead testing and removal. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning. Lead flakes taste sweet when ingested, making them an unlikely treat for small children whose rapidly developing nervous systems are particularly sensitive to the toxin.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Lead Safe Housing Program is offering free home remediation services for eligible homeowners, renters, and landlords in dwellings that were built before 1978, and lead testing for parents expecting a child and for children under the age of 6. The Lead Safe Housing program is an important resource for Salt Lake’s west side, where established neighborhoods contain older homes and in some cases are close in proximity to industrial plants, meaning residents may be at a higher risk of lead exposure.

To learn more: Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment will offer information about lead poisoning and the Lead Safe Housing Program at upcoming Partners in the Park events from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. on July 9 at Sherwood Park, 1400 W. 400 S.; July 16 at Riverside Park, 1490 W. 600 N.; and July 30 at Northwest Rec Center, 1255 W. Clark Ave. Information on the program can also be accessed on the Salt Lake County website at https://slco.org/lead-safe-housing/ and fliers are available in both Spanish and Arabic.

 

By Andre Montoya

I graduated this year from a school where I had spent seven years of my life. Without that public charter school, I would not be as successful as I am today.

The Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE) is not an ordinary school when compared to other high schools in the valley. The focus may be science-based, but the main rationale of the school is to “change reality.” This means challenging the norm of what can be taught and accomplished.

SLCSE has received recognition over the years for the exceptional work the school has demonstrated. Just recently SLCSE was awarded sixth place in the nation as a “School of Opportunity.”

When I first visited the school as a guest in the third grade, I saw a very new place. Literally, the building was being remodeled. The ceiling was gutted open, walls were unfinished with bags hanging over them, dust and the sound of construction permeated the air. Move forward to 2011 when I attended the sixth grade, and the school had changed very much. There was a bike shop, science fair division, and a beautiful courtyard that the students themselves maintained with animals, a pond and a garden.

I remember how nervous I was when I first came to SLCSE; I was afraid of not having friends or having trouble in school. My fears were put to rest. I garnered incredible friends and have had more academic success than I ever thought possible. One student who came to SLCSE a few years after me told me that I had helped him get over those same fears. I didn’t even know I had, but I know now that it was because of the more social attitude I had gained at SLCSE that I gained from the friends I made there.

Self confidence is something I have struggled with for a while. Looking back at the accomplishments I have earned for myself at SLCSE, I’m amazed at what I can do. It is all thanks to my teachers, without whom I would not have graduated, providing so many opportunities for me.

I argued in front of real judges as a lawyer for Mock Trial. I performed poetry in front of large crowds multiple times for Poetry Out Loud. I gave a TED Talk at my school’s first ever TEDx event. I participated in my school’s annual trip to Washington DC after a year of volunteering and fundraising. I’ve been on multiple camping trips because my school has a lot of gear and enthusiasm for the outdoors. I’ve taken multiple AP classes and never quit because of my teachers’ unwavering faith in their students. I even undertook a senior project that lead to me help to start and manage The West View Teen Newsroom that meets at the Glendale Library.

These are just a few of the opportunities I’ve had at SLCSE. With every healthy risk I took, I gained more self-esteem. With that, I opened myself to more opportunities for the future – opportunities I otherwise may never have taken.

I hope more people who attend SLCSE will have a similar experience, for I consider it invaluable.

Andre Montoya, 18, is a Glendale resident who helped create and facilitate The West View Teen Newsroom. He will attend the University of Utah in the fall.

By Katherin Neilson

Spy Hop is a non-profit that mentors young people in digital media arts and offers classes in a wide variety of mediums. One of these courses, Loud and Clear, is a year-long curriculum that teaches 14 -18 year olds the skills to run a radio program. Though Loud and Clear covers the technical bases like how to record and edit audio, run a radio program, and produce radio pieces, the program provides teens with a life experience that goes beyond the technical skills of operating a switchboard.

“You find meaning to express yourself in a world where feeling insignificant is very relatable,” said Josuee Sanchez, an 18-year-old East High School student, of his experience in Loud and Clear.

Spy Hop’s mission is to mentor young people in the digital media arts to help them find their voice, tell their stories, and be empowered to affect positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. Students of Loud and Clear can attest that the spirit of that mission is alive in their course. Sitting comfortably behind a switchboard in one of KRCL’s studios, Sanchez said, “Now I feel like I’m more able to communicate across a wide variety of people, and Loud and Clear gave me the tools to take on the world.”

Conor Estes, Loud and Clear mentor, says that through the course, which launched in 2003, teens can learn “to be a critical consumer and creator and understand why artists do the things they do.” He says his personal goal for the program is for participants to understand that their view and their story is important, and that they should create things so they are not just a consumer. The program teaches students the structure and technical skills to put on a good radio show, and then gives them the freedom to express themselves through the curation and production of the show.

“Spy Hop is a great place for people to go and express themselves and their day in a way that they feel more comfortable, especially since it feels that as teenagers we are sometimes put in a dull box at school,” Sanchez says. During a phase in life where the quotidian can feel too structured and monotonous, Sanchez says the Loud and Clear experience provides an environment that cultivates creativity. “We get to make radio shows about whatever we want, I made it about my first wrestling match that I won,” says Sanchez. “That gave us a ton of freedom to express the feeling and emotion that we had that moment and we were able to talk and say what we felt and it gave us that freedom to actually express ourselves.”

During the course, students are trained in a myriad of audio production forms including podcasts, radio segments, and playlists. Estes sees himself as a support for the student’s development, “I tried to play the role of asking hard questions and being devil’s advocate.” “It’s so much more successful for them to learn by figuring it out themselves or screwing up rather than being told what to do.”

All students get an opportunity to produce and host live radio shows, which air every Saturday night on KRLC 90.9, a local radio station, from 9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Students are faced with a high level of autonomy and risk in running a live show, but Estes says they don’t buckle under pressure, “they totally suck it up, and pull up their bootstraps and do it, and then they’re really proud of themselves.”

For more information on Spy Hop class offerings from documentary making to hip hop production, visit www.spyhop.org.

By Joseph Arrington

Over 100 Latinx leaders, ages 18-35, came from all parts of Utah to participate in a summit at the Thomas S. Monson Center in Salt Lake City in late June. (“Latinx” is a gender-neutral term for persons of Latin American descent, commonly used today.) The summit was hosted by Casa Quetzalcoatl, a non-profit organization whose mission is to expand the knowledge of each member of Latinx families through formal, cultural, and civic knowledge. Led by co-founder Joél-Léhi Organista, the first annual Imaginemos Latinx Summit created an urgent, collective vision to guide and empower the Latinx community.

The influential Latinx leaders, represented countries including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Brazil. They were selected to participate in a day of workshops and panels to learn from each other as leaders in different industries. Panels on business, technology, medical and health care, art, and media were among the topics discussed, highlighting not only the current success of young Latinx leaders in the field, but also how the Latinx community can continue to expand its contribution to these sectors.

By the end of the summit, the different sectors were divided into groups, centered around an ancient Aztec agricultural methodology called “chinampas.” This advanced water system was a sustainable, multipurpose ecosystem that involved weaving a web of sticks together to float on water, with a network of mud and reeds to form the chinampa. This complex system allowed the Aztecs to produce up to seven crops in a year, compared to a maximum annual yield of three crops in mainland fields.

The chinampas ideology is the basis for the collective vision that will emerge from the inaugural summit over a period of five to ten years during which leaders of different professional sectors, or the summit’s Chinampas, will plant the seeds to help the Latinx community achieve their professional goals. As stated in a Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury us, but didn’t know that I’m a seed.”

The process, inspired by the Aztecan chinampas, of increasing the contributions of Latinx members in the community is broken down into stages: Beginning, Early Blooming, Continual Blooming, and Producing.

The Beginning Stage is meant to help promote early accomplishments, while the Early Blooming Stage allows the formation of deep roots in the soil to have nutrients for further growth. The Continual Blooming Stage is about nurturing people whose career path is clear, but they are just not quite ready to be producing in their field. Which leads us to the Producing Stage, with Casa Quetzalcoatl stating that “[t]he plant is grown. It is producing … a constant flow of nutrients to the whole sustainable ecosystem. … What this plant produces is going to be judged by others. … However, those judging will never know the whole story of the plant’s journey, trauma, healing, restoring, pruning, and transformation.”

The Imaginemos Latinx Summit taught the future leaders initial steps to help their plans come to fruition, such as how to nurture “the crop,” have patience, avoid “growing in an unsafe direction,” and the importance of continual “pollination.”

In the coming weeks and months Chinampas and Community Leaders will be selected to begin the vision and goals that each group of leaders set to increase Latinx involvement in their professional sector.

To learn more about the summit and Casa Quetzalcoatl, visit https://casaquetzalcoatl.org/imaginemoslatinxsummit.

By Marilyn Shelton

It’s summer, and that means the kids are out of school. But wait, according to the Utahns Against Hunger website, summer also means, “When school lets out, millions of low-income children [across the country] lose access to school breakfast, lunch, and after school meals.”

The Salt Lake City School District’s Summer Food Service Program fills this gap locally by providing free meals to children who might have limited access to nutritious food in the summer. Meals are served at 29 different public sites around Salt Lake City, including 17 schools and 12 parks, as well as the Main Library. Most of the sites are located on Salt Lake City’s west side.

The program is free for all children, ages 18 and under. No enrollment, paystubs nor proof of income is required. All children and families need to do is find a site near them and show up, explained Utahns Against Hunger Executive Director Gina Cornia.

Children can eat their free meals outside on the lawn or on picnic tables at the park or inside the school cafeteria, depending on the site location. Childcare is not provided. School sites serve breakfast and lunch, while the park sites only serve lunch. Adults may purchase meals for $3-$5.

Each meal is created by a dietician and also meets the nutritional menu guidelines and portioning set by the USDA. This means healthy baked not fried meals, whole grains, vegetables and more.

One mother eating lunch at Sherwood Park in early July said that her children preferred the meals served at the park. “When I make food at home, they are so picky, but they love the food here,” said Mary. “It helps with our budget, and the dishes, and gets the kids outside,” she added.

Utahns Against Hunger, a nonprofit anti-hunger organization that has been serving the state for 30-plus years, promotes child nutrition programs, like the state’s Summer Food Service Program, the National School Lunch Program, and the Utah Breakfast Expansion Team.

“[We are] not a food pantry, but rather an advocacy and outreach program whose mission is to increase access to food across Utah,” said Utahns Against Hunger Executive Director Gina Cornia.

It promotes these programs through social media outreach, flyers, press releases, and meetings with congressional delegates to educate them on the need to protect funding for federal Child Nutrition Programs, which are reimbursed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Through the Utah Breakfast Expansion Team, Utahns Against Hunger was able to increase school breakfast participation by seven percent, said Cornia.

Child hunger statistics in Utah: 

*According to Feeding America, a network of national food banks, 1 in 7 children in Utah faces hunger.

*National School Lunch Program data from 2018 revealed that 1 in 3 school children in Utah receive their meals for free or reduced price.

Cornia likes to have people call for information on The Summer Food Service Program because it gives them a chance to talk to them about additional resources such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps) or

Utahns Against Hunger has coordinated the acceptance of SNAP at over 20 Utah farmers markets as well. According to the USDA, SNAP redemptions at Utah farmers markets increased by over 1200 percent between 2008 and 2016, with the help of the organization.

“We [Utahns Against Hunger] started the Double Up Bucks Food Program, which allows people additional money to buy Utah-grown fruits and vegetables, so it is really a bonus for low-income people who use their SNAP to buy fresh produce because it creates new customers for farmers and then that money stays in the local economy,” Cornia said.

“We really just encourage the whole community to come out to ensure the anti-hunger initiative and to make sure that kids have access to healthy foods when school’s not in session...There are so many additional benefits our Summer Food Service Program can provide than just the meals themselves. It gets kids off the couch to the park or the library and to see other kids. That’s what we love to see,” said Matt Anderson, Child Nutrition Coordinator for the Utah State Board of Education.

The Salt Lake City School District’s Summer Food Service Program runs from June 10-Aug. 13. Times and days of operation may vary from site to site, so please inquire about days and times. All sites will be closed Wednesday, July 24.

To find a Summer Food Service Program site near you, text the word, “FOOD” to 877-877, call the Utahns Against Hunger Hotline toll-free at 1-800-453-FOOD, or to speak directly with Utahns Against Hunger Executive Director Cornia or her staff, call 801-328-2561.

The West View offers an authentic look into Salt Lake City’s west side – an area that has been historically undervalued and misrepresented.

The purpose of West View Media, the nonprofit organization that produces The West View paper and online content, is to inform, inspire and connect readers to generate positive change in Salt Lake City. Community members volunteer to write and provide photos for the stories they feel are newsworthy.

Recently, we launched a West View Teen Newsroom that meets weekly at the Glendale Library on Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. This is a partnership between the Salt Lake City Library and West View Media, with support from University Neighborhood Partners.

The Teen Newsroom is a safe space for teens to express themselves and to be heard. With guidance, they will explore their community and their lives through writing, multimedia storytelling and journalism. To find out more, please visit our website at www.westviewmedia.org or call us at 385-355-0910. You can also simply show up at the library!

It is with great sadness and respect that we mourn the loss of a beloved and influential west-side community member, Robert “Archie” Archuleta, who passed away on January 25, 2019. Archie spent a lifetime working for social justice, peace and equality; was the founding leader of Utah’s Chicano Movement; and served on countless boards and commissions throughout his life. A well-attended and moving celebration of his life was held on March 2 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Our condolences go out to his family, especially his wife, Lois. He is sorely missed and will always be remembered.

We would be remiss not to pay tribute to Archie in The West View, since he was a longtime supporter, cheerleader and contributor to it. He served and guided West View Media on the Board of Directors for six years. It was Archie’s hope that The West View would continue to tell our authentic stories and bridge the divide between east and west sides of the city.

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