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REALSOUL is a curriculum-based arts organization, founded in San Francisco. We develop creative offerings that shed light on the intersectional stories of Asian America and other BIPOC communities. We believe that learning doesn’t stop in the classrooms, but continues in workplaces, living rooms, around campfires, and beyond. Our approach is simple. We keep it real with intention and we focus on our core values: Social Responsibility, Open-Mindedness, Unity, and Lifelong learning (S.O.U.L). Through community-centered art, interdisciplinary lesson guides, workshops, and activities, REALSOUL's heart is rooted in accessibility and advocacy. We aim to make space for complex dialogues and questions, with the firm belief that it is never too early or too late to start imagining the change you'd like to see in the world.
About the Organization:
$0 - $50,000
Long story short, as a country, we suffer from historical amnesia. Whether history be left out of textbooks or made inaccessible, memory (or therefore lack of) is a dangerous tool. While Asians have been in the Americas for centuries, more than 44% of Americans were unable to name a famous Asian American in 2023. With only only 1% of colleges and universities in the U.S. having Asian American Studies classes, we need to find diverse ways to teach Need for the arts: Nearly 90% of our public schools are failing to meet arts education set by state standards.As a country, our priority on the arts are so low that they are often cut first when budgets run low. This needs to change. Visual and performing arts give students an outlet for expression, encourages engagement in civic and community activities, prepares them for well-paying 21st-century jobs , and all while providing a well rounded education for students to thrive. Beyond Testing : 64% respondents of a Washington Post survey said too much emphasis has been placed on testing and more emphasis needs to be student engagement and hopefulness about the future. We need to go beyond current measures of student success, beyond learning state standards that often leave out marginalized communities. More importantly, we must also dive into the true stories and themes that have helped to create and shape Asian America as it is. Need for new approaches: Students are bored of “traditional” ways of teaching. In an age of instant access to information and viral videos that last a week, it is vital that our educational system meets learners where students. After all, they face different challenges than they did in previous generations. Especially with the rise of post-pandemic mental health effects, our curriculum not only needs to be informative, but relevant to students’ lives, approachable, and accessible.
With our approach of S.O.U.L., our art aims to spark curiosity, encourage empowerment, and ultimately connect us to our roots. Whether it be the need for art education, quality discussions, or new approaches, we tackle these issues head on: With our Storytelling Art, we connect Asian American stories to other BIPOC communities to expand our understanding of American history. However, this series is unique, because our curriculum also focuses on making these stories interdisciplinary with an emphasis on arts and activism. Our goal is to get these posters and these stories into every school. Our Youth Leadership Development offers a space that intertwines artistic creativity and identity empowerment. Our youth often don’t have access to Asian American history in their schools and through our programming, they have the freedom to explore topics of interest, produce engaging art, and more. With no tests or pop quizzes at stake, our curriculum is curated for each student, fostering empowerment in their specialized skills while encouraging them to explore their own communities. Through Public Art & Engagement , we make history accessible. We understand that mainstream history can feel irrelevant as it centers dead white men, but we make history relevant to marginalized communities in family friendly settings. Whether it be festivals, fairs, workshops, and assemblies, our interactive activities and installations encourage people to work together and discuss the potential answers. While much programming takes place within educational spaces, our materials are meant to go beyond the moment. They are meant to be discussed with family, friends, teachers, classmates, and more. We believe that the youth are our future, but our elders can lead by example… And when our world has so many complicated issues, it’s much more effective to heal as a collective.