Tuesday, January 27, 2015

As is usual on Sunday mornings, the city was hardly awake. The sky was clear, the air was cool, a few early risers were out for their morning coffee. And in the lobby of the Juilliard dorm building, the New Orleans Service Project team stood in a circle, frantically shouting numbers at one another, and then chanting “Big Booty!” unison, in order to “break the ice.” After which, Kelly beat Riley in a “vegetable off” (her pose was was more broccoli-esque). As is usual, on Sunday mornings.

And then we were down to business. Our weekly fundraising checkup found that we surpassed our $2000 goal on Indiegogo. In addition, our first bake sale brought in $266, and we planned several more for the coming weeks. Still, we’ll have to up our fundraising game another notch, since the goal for next week is $5000. If all goes well, we’ll be launching our raffle in just a few days, and the prizes are amazing. (I won’t spoil anything, but I’ve been meaning to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for forever now.)  We also came up with a few alternative fundraising ideas: selling cheese, grapes, and crackers at the third year drama production of “Cabaret”; and hosting an event where students pay to throw pies in their professors’ faces. We’re especially excited about that second one.

As for the colors of our team shirt, we decided on a deep magenta with text and design in white. The bracelets will be navy blue. If you’re curious why we chose the colors of the main characters in Blue’s Clues, so am I. But, it’s true, they look great together, and we’ll be the most stylish team of artists in New Orleans.

There is this funny thing that happens in our meetings when we arrive at the discussion of the team song. When the discussion begins, we are sitting cooperatively in a circle. Someone then mentions a song the team likes (Pharrell's “Happy”, or “Don’t Stop Believin’”). Without fail, a few people then begin to sing that song, a few others start to dance, and before long it is playing through someone’s phone and everyone is grooving to the music. After a few repetitions of this last Sunday, we chose Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” as the team’s official song, with alternate theme music of “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone.

Afterward, we took our break. Which, normally, wouldn’t be worth mentioning, except that JJ spent the whole time dancing to iPhone ringtones, and the rest of us spent the whole time laughing hysterically. As productive as our meetings are, we always find some time to goof off.

For the remainder of the meeting, we discussed the theme of this year’s trip, “Art Invigorates.” We brainstormed mission statements and discussed our goals: sustaining and cultivating the vibrant New Orleans culture, sharing our artistic passions with the community, and eating as much good southern food as possible. It’s only the second week of planning, but we’re well on our way to the Big Easy. I can taste the beignets already...


Sunday, January 18, 2015

As a newcomer to the New Orleans Project, (and a newcomer to blogging)I've spent the past few minutes scrolling through this blog for inspiration. And after seeing all of the history that exists in these posts, documenting the last several years of the NOLA project, I am delighted and honored to be writing the first official post of the 2015 team!

We had our first team meeting today, and after a little "fun" with a 9:30am ice breaker, which I'm told is customary, we got down down to business.

First order of business was watching 2014's video made by Riley. The video brought back reminiscing smiles from the returning members, and I think I speak on behalf of all of the new members when I say that it added a dimension of reality to our future that stirred up quite a bit of excitement!

After receiving our personalized binders, we covered some logistical things and proceeded to tackle some fun but important decisions, such as our team theme, our team shirt color, and team song ideas.

I'm pleased to announce that after some intense brainstorming, idea tossing, discussion, and voting, we arrived at the the theme, "Art Invigorates". And after Angela tossed around some super creative color descriptions such as "Baby's Bottom Pink," and "Jeffery's Shoe Green" we arrived at our top two color choices of maroon and mint green, with a final color to be determined next meeting.

Finally, we spent the end of our meeting discussing some very important aspects of fundraising, from our Indiegogo site and donation letters, to our raffle and the bake sale.

It was an early Sunday morning for the group, but the air was full of excitement for everything that is to come. We have a lot of work ahead of us but we have a great and committed group. We're one meeting in but it's all starting to become real and we couldn't be more excited.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our 9th consecutive project is underway!

The 2015 team up and running! 18 students will be traveling back to New Orleans for a week of service and outreach!

We need your support though to make this happen! Please visit our Indiegogo page to make a donation to the project. Every cent helps. all donations go directly toward housing, meals, airfare, ground transport and teaching supplies.

Check out our 2014 video below to see the work we do.

Thank you for your support!