OC Weekly: Community Engagement Brings Art to Affordable Housing Communities in Santa Ana

OC Weekly: Community Engagement Brings Art to Affordable Housing Communities in Santa Ana

Extra! Extra! Read all about Community Engagement in the OC Weekly!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Santa Ana Creatives-in-Residence 2016

We are ready to announce our 2016 Creatives-in-Residence!   We have made the following selections:

Dino Perez – Triada Village and Court

Becca Chernow – Sullivan Manor

Trinh Mai – Heninger Village

Thank you to everyone who applied.  We received so many strong applications and unfortunately had to make a number of tough decisions between compelling candidates.  We are thrilled by the amount of interest and various ideas for establishing programs within low-income communities.  Please check back in late 2016 for information about upcoming residency opportunities.



Erin Sotak, a Phoenix based social practice artist, is a Creative-in-Residence at Whispering Pines.  

OPEN CALL: Creatives-in-Residence 2016


Developing Sustainable Social Practice Initiatives
Within Low-Income Communities



Community Engagement has partnered with California State University at Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) to enlist community-driven “Creatives*” to respond to a “Call” for proposals.

*Creatives can be defined as community engagement leaders, artists, architects, urban community planners, etc. whose interests are in creating collaborative efforts promoting positive individual and community change.

Specifically, the Creatives selected will be awarded a one-year opportunity to engage the residents of one of three low-income housing communities in Santa Ana, Calif. and Phoenix, Ariz. to ignite social change through sustainable practices and programs. The Creatives selected, individual and or collective groups, will be given housing (or a housing stipend), a working stipend, and a budget to execute their projects.

The communities in which applications will be accepted for are as follows:

Heninger Village
gated senior 55+ affordable housing community; 58 units; 73 residents
200 South Sycamore Street; Santa Ana, CA 92701
Median Income: $13,044; Average Household Size: 1

Sullivan Manor
Family affordable housing community; 54 units; 162 residents)
2516 West 1st Street; Santa Ana, CA 92703
Median Income: Approx. $15,000; Average Household Size: 3

Triada Village and Triada Court Apartments
Multi-site affordable housing community; 114 units; 467 residents
600 N. Lacy Street; Santa Ana, CA 92701
Median Income: Approx. $33,000; Average Household Size: 4

Whispering Pines Apartments
Family affordable housing community; 325 units; 661 residents)
2601 North 36th Street; Phoenix, AZ 85008
Median Income: $19,134; Average Household Size: 2

What is Community Engagement?

Community Engagement is a newly incorporated nonprofit that utilizes Creatives-in-Residence to serve as catalysts in bringing about positive change in low-income communities in collaboration with the individuals, families and seniors who live there.

Through a competitive process, Community Engagement selects individuals or groups who become a part of these communities by living onsite for one year, subject to extension for up to a second additional year. The Creatives-in-Residence initiate projects where the community at large is a part of its adoption and success. Projects to date have included development of community gardens, afterschool tutoring and enrichment for school-age children, and development of community driven art projects.

Community Engagement also provides a training platform and peer-mentoring forum for our Creatives-in-Residence, furthering the development of their skillsets in bringing people together, building community leadership, and developing sustainable projects.

What is the Grand Central Art Center?

The California State University at Fullerton Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) is a unique partnership between the University and the City of Santa Ana. Located ten miles south of the main campus in the heart of downtown Santa Ana, GCAC is a 45,000 square-foot, half-city block deep and full city-block long, three-level mixed residential, commercial and educational complex. GCAC is dedicated to the investigation and promotion of contemporary art and visual culture regionally, nationally, and internationally through unique collaborations among artists, students, and the community. The facility offers apartments and studio spaces for college of the arts graduate students, the Grand Central Gallery, the Project room, the Grand Central Theater, the Gypsy Den Café, Hipcooks Cooking Classes, Claudia de la Crus Flamenco Institute, Maska Art and Architectural Studio, an Education Gallery, classrooms, and studio and living spaces dedicated to its international artist-in-residence program and Master Level students of CSUF. More information regarding GCAC can be found online at http://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/

What are we looking for?

Community Engagement and GCAC are looking for Creatives who desire to bring low-income people together to share ideas and experiences, and stimulate social change within their communities. The Creative’s role is to live and/or spend significant amounts of time among the community members, get to know them, listen and lead the effort to stimulate change using their specific skillset and social practice* approaches. The Creative should also consider the sustainability of their work by creating leadership in the community to continue when the Creative is not present. Community Engagement and GCAC seek a similar outcome which is that the Creative leaves the community a better place to live, with the community active in assuring the continuation of this positive change.

*Social practice involves engagement with communities of interest by creating a practitioner-community relationship wherein there remains a focus on the skills, knowledge, and understanding of people in their private, family, community, and working lives. In this approach to social practice, activity is used for social change without the agenda of research. Activity theory suggests the use of a system of participants that work toward an object or goal that brings about some form of change or transformation in the community. (Wikipedia, 2015.)

What is social change?

We are looking for Creatives to live within the community in an affordable housing apartment complex and ignite change within that community making it a better place to live, getting people involved, and leaving a lasting impression for generations to come.

What exactly the Creative and that community are seeking to change and how this is accomplished is where we turn to you, the applicant, to lay out a framework for specific projects and approaches to accomplishing your goals over a one year period of time. This framework would also include methods for measuring this impact during your residency and once you have concluded your time.

This is a one year residency, subject to extension, in which the Creative is provided housing (in most cases), a stipend of $10,000, and a small project budget. The Creative may also choose to work part of the time from an onsite resource center, if available, as well have access to property management staff.

In addition, Community Engagement and GCAC aim to provide a collaborative environment in which some, if not all, the trainings listed below will be provided. The goal of the trainings are to support the Creative in their personal and professional growth, as well as providing support to the Creative in forwarding their work in the low-income housing community.

Trainings: Community Building; Resource Development – In-Kind/Fundraising; Expense Submission/Reimbursement; Community Engagement Leadership Structure and Reporting; Social Media Communication; Rent Assistance Program/ 2-1-1/ Basic Needs Referrals; Strategic Planning and Exit Strategy Development; Property Management Relationships; and Accounting/ Reimbursement Process/ Tax Reporting.

New this year, is the opportunity to live at GCAC in their Artist-in-Residency one bedroom unfurnished apartments. The additional benefit to this living arrangement is access to the shared common space with the other California State University, at Fullerton art students and alumni living there. In this setting, Creatives will also benefit from engagement with other like-minded artists and access to art design space.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

A Creative must be:

Individual artists or artist collectives;
A U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident;

At least 25 years old;

Without felonies on their record;
Undergo a background (and credit check for housing) and pass TB screening; and

A Creative with at least five years of professional and/or relevant work and volunteer experience.

Award Calendar

Fri., October 2, 2015: The Call is released.
Sun., Nov. 30, 2015 11:59 p.m. (PST): Applications due.  (Please note the extension.)
Dec. 14-17, 2015: Finalist Interviews.  (Please note the adjustment in interview dates.)
Fri., Dec. 18: Awards made.
Mon., Feb. 1, 2016: Creatives Begin Training & Strategic Planning
Mon., February 15, 2016: Creatives Begin Social Practice Work


Full Name(s)
Phone Number(s)
Alternative Phone Numbers(s)
Email Address(es)

On a separate document, please provide responses to the following questions.

Please describe your creative interests.

Please select which community you would like to work with.

Henniger Village in Santa Ana, California
Sullivan Manor in Santa Ana, California
Triada Village and Triada Court Apartments in Santa Ana, California
Whispering Pines Apartments in Phoenix, Arizona

What type of social change do you hope to bring about in that respective community? And, what are your goals of the proposed project? (Please provide a minimum of one page description on this question.)

How do you plan to engage the community to foster their interest and participation?

What plan do you have to bring about positive social change?

How do you plan to measure your impact on the community during your residency and what tools might you suggest post-residency?

What makes you qualified and the right person to be selected to initiate positive social change in this community?

What ideas do you have about sustaining the work after your term as a Creative has concluded?

You have the option of signing on as a one or two year Creative. Please submit your request for number of year term with a brief explanation of you project timeline.

Please describe some of your past work engaging community and/or leading positive social change.

What sets you apart from other applicants for this project?

Please provide three professional references.

Please provide samples of your work, if relevant.

Please attach a copy of your resume or CV.


Applications should be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. PST on Sun., Nov. 29, 2015.

Submissions will be accepted through email (.PDF format only) to:

creativecall@communityengagement.org or by mail to the following address:
Community Engagement
Attn: Creative Call
4029 Westerly Place, Suite 113
Newport Beach, CA 92660


Please feel free to email any questions you may have to John Spiak at grandcentral@fullerton.edu or creativecall@communityengagement.org.


Heninger Village is a 58-unit gated senior community walking distance from the downtown Santa Ana, California arts district.  The vast majority of the residents at Heninger Village live alone and do not work.  The community has a gated and covered parking garage, however, most of the residents rely on friends, family or public transportation.  The community is diverse with many residents speaking English as a second language.  The leasing office has a large community gathering space and is situated on the first floor overlooking a community pool.  The residents congregate mostly near the fountain on the second floor courtyard.

Sullivan Manor Apartments is a 54-unit multi-family gated apartment community in Santa Ana, California. There are 162 residents living at this property that includes 8 two-story garden style buildings containing 54 two-, three-, and four-bedroom units.  The residents are English and Spanish speaking, and represent backgrounds including Pakistani, Afghan, Hispanic and Asian.  There is one playground area located by the office, a community room with a kitchen, restrooms, dishwasher, refrigerator and stove. Priority will be given to proposals that address health and wellness.

Triada Village and Triada Court is a newly renovated, majority Hispanic family community near 6th Street and Santa Ana Boulevard, in Santa Ana, California.  The community consists of a 74-unit multi-level complex with an additional 40 units scattered throughout a three-block radius.  Some of the scattered apartments include duplexes and single family dwellings.  Most of Triada’s residents are two-parent households, working in the service industry with one parent staying home to look after small children.  The community has a Project Access Resource Center, on-site day care facilities and Garfield Elementary School is just across 6th Street from Triada.  The community is a transit-oriented property being just three blocks from the rail and bus stations.  Triada is in need of a social practice initiative that will help bring together the apartment complex’s residents and adjacent community members.

Whispering Pines is a large apartment community situated about fifteen minutes from downtown Phoenix.  The community consists of over 20 two-story apartment buildings with two pools, a play structure, and a social service resource center.  Many of the residents have families with children and about a quarter of the units are occupied by senior residents.  Many of the residents of Whispering Pines work in the service industry with jobs at car washes, restaurants, and in landscaping.