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Impact Awards

Last updated on Apr 17, 2024

The Center for Art and Public Life has hosted the Impact Awards each year giving the students an opportunity to win funding and mentorship for their impact project.

Impact Awards 2024

2024 Impact Award Theme: Paradigm Shift

In a world marked by tension and disinformation, artists and designers stand out as agents of positive change. With compassion and empathy, we address pressing issues, fostering unity through our creations. By embracing the power of art, we can build a more harmonious world.

Do you believe you can help shape the world using your art as design as a positive force, fostering connections, and creating solutions? Do you have a social justice driven project, design, or concept you would like to see funded and developed further? CAPL invites you to apply for the 2024 Impact Awards.

The Impact Awards is an opportunity to further develop and fund projects in Impact. Whether you already have a community partner and the work is underway, you are just beginning your partnership, or you want to develop an innovative and exciting idea, the Impact Awards can help with funding, feedback, mentorship, and development.

The application process allows for the development and strengthening of your project, your team, and your impact. You can sign up here for mentorship, brainstorming sessions, and internal and external partners.

2024 Awards Recipients and Finalists:

Community Impact Recipient of $10,000

Echoes of Tomorrow: The Power of Your Vote

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team Paradigm

Echoes of Tomorrow: The Power of Your Vote - Team Paradigm - Anurag Bhavsar, Arunima Walimbe, Maitri Bhateja, Mehak Prashant Kothar, Nidheesh Hasabni

Team Paradigm's research initiative, based at the Social Lab within the California College of the Arts, aims to address the concerning trend of low political engagement and voting rates among young adults in the United States. This initiative is poised to foster a culture of informed decision-making, enabling young voters to understand and navigate the complexities of the political landscape. By focusing on voting literacy as a cornerstone of engagement, we aspire to educate, empower, and inspire young voters, ultimately transforming their engagement in the democratic process.

Our research has identified several barriers contributing to low voter turnout among young adults, including limited political understanding, conflicting interests, and skepticism toward voting. By demystifying the electoral process and emphasizing the impact of each vote, we aim to cultivate a sense of responsibility, empowerment, and active participation in democracy among young adults. Our comprehensive approach includes exploring barriers to voting literacy, innovating content formats that resonate with younger audiences, and collaborating with stakeholders to integrate educational efforts into CNN's engagement strategies. Central to our plan is the co-creation of actionable strategies that not only educate but also inspire young adults to see the value in their vote and the difference it can make.

Our partnership with CNN represents a pivotal opportunity to redefine the network's connection with its younger audience, making a lasting impact on the future of civic engagement and participation in the democratic process. The successful implementation of this project has the potential to significantly increase voter participation among young adults, strengthening democratic processes and ensuring that all voices are heard and represented.

Exceptional Innovator Recipient of $5,000

In My Pajama, From Silk Road to San Francisco


In My Pajama, From Silk Road to San Francisco by Badri Valian, KathrynVercillo

The Impact Grant will enable the expansion of a creative series from impacting a small local community to having a much larger impact. I was honored to receive the 2024 USAAF APICC grant to complete the first iteration of the project called “Silk Road to San Francisco”. The grant would allow for it to grow significantly.

This series of workshops combines storytelling, mapmaking and textile art into a guided sensory exploration of the challenges and resilience inherent in experiences of immigration, displacement, and trauma. Each workshop results in a powerful visual art exhibit. The initial small project focused on San Francisco’s Asian immigrants; the grant would allow me to include the important voices of Iranian, Ukrainian, diverse LatinX immigrants and others.

The project’s benefits are multifold. Intimate workshops (which are conducted in collaboration with Kathryn Vercillo who is trained in craft as therapy) offer empowerment to participants. The exhibit's private opening unites participants across all workshops, fostering collective healing and solidarity among immigrant communities. Subsequently, as the exhibit opens to the public, it aims to raise awareness and cultivate empathy for San Francisco's diverse immigrant community.

As my CV shows, I am capable of executing large participatory projects. I am committed to utilizing the grant efficiently to maximize impact, which is magnified by the potential I have for support and collaboration within my professional network. Having worked in the past with organizations including ArtTogether, Central Stage, Diaspora Arts Connection, and Chinese Cultural Center, I am confident that the reach for this project can be huge.

Outstanding Startup Recipient of $2,500

Shaping the Future of Education

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Shaping the Future of Education by Sharpi Singh, Ruchira Biswas, Sakshi Shah, Mrunal Suryavanshi

In partnership with Wikimedia, we aim to transform the education ecosystem, aligning it with Generation Z's needs. Our goal is to leverage the open-source community of Wikimedia to address educational gaps and the availability of resources, thus turning every Gen-Z dropout into an active contributor to the knowledge economy
The existing education system, established in a bygone era, was inherently oppressive, excluding various social groups. Despite the passage of time, there have been minimal changes to this system, continuing its outdated norms. By relooking at this through an anti-oppressive lens, we are now exploring ways to reimagine education, aiming to create a system that is flexible, adaptable, and inclusive. Our goal is to ensure that education, a fundamental right, is accessible to all.
We are engaging communities globally through co-design workshops where participants from varied educational backgrounds envision their ideal learning scenarios. This reflective exercise spans their entire learning history, then complemented by discussions that aim to unearth the individual and collective gaps and needs in learning. This co-design workshop offers an opportunity to hear previously unheard voices, allowing us to leverage the crowdsourced knowledge from Wikimedia to effectively create a hybrid social environment where individuals from any background can access and exchange information without the pressure of competition.
Aligned with Wikimedia's 2030 Movement Strategy focusing on innovation and equity, our goal is to utilize this extensive network to enhance education's adaptability and accessibility, particularly for marginalized voices. We strive to empower users to interact with Wikimedia, promoting a self-reinforcing cycle of learning and sharing.

Other Finalists

CCAxCCM - Creativity Beyond the Museum

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Creativity Beyond the Museum by Bhavya Chauhan, Abheet Dutt, Annie Yi Chung

One might think that embracing creativity in children is not really ‘solving’ a problem and the world is not being affected by the lack of original ideas and exploration. We would like to argue otherwise. Our social lab collaboration with the Children's Creativity Museum seeks to democratize creative experiences, ensuring global accessibility. Central to this effort is the launch of create@home on, offering children worldwide a gateway to imaginative exploration.
We also engaged with parents, conducting interviews to understand their motivations for visiting the museum. Our insights revealed: while the museum provides an exceptional onsite experience, there's a noticeable gap in extending its impact beyond its walls. This insight highlighted an opportunity for us to bridge the gap between the museum's interior and the wider world, ensuring its creativity-inspiring mission reaches far and wide.
Our initiative extends beyond solitary creativity to foster community and collaboration. The platform will feature interactive sections for showcasing creations and fostering mentorship. Seamlessly integrating with onsite experiences, it transforms individual endeavors into collaborative masterpieces.
By facilitating a continuous creative path, we aim to instill the value of creativity in children and families alike. Through this collective effort, we aspire to nurture future innovators capable of shaping a more imaginative and vibrant world.

Purpose Project - Little Spark

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Purpose Project - Little Spark by Yuye Jin, Emma Chuang, Yi Cao and Robinson Ha

Our project aims to empower underprivileged youths by harnessing the transformative power of tactile engagement to nurture inspiration. Focused on leveraging unique identities and personal challenges, our physical toolkit seeks to unlock the potential within young individuals and others of all ages, fostering creativity and resilience.

The toolkit’s design involves human-centered methods, through many conversations with artists like P.Locz, a musician who faced homelessness. He shared how making beats on a broken laptop during his toughest times provided a lifeline of creative expression. His story powerfully illustrates the impact we hope to make, guiding our approach to developing a toolkit that provides a creative spark to those who need it most.

We’ve seen how tough life can get, and we believe in the magic of picking up something physical—a reminder that you’re not alone. Our toolkit is a gateway to exploring who you are and what you can overcome. We are researching its contents to include materials that inspire users to create pieces they are proud of.

We are collaborating with Larkin Street Youth Services, which supports youth farthest from opportunity, and Chopsticks Alley Art, an organization showcasing underserved artists and creating opportunities for low-income groups to be creative. Larkin Street will help us test the toolkit, while Chopsticks Alley Art will assist in distribution and testing.

The funding will be invested in materials for these toolkits, enabling us to uplift those who need it most through tangible, creative expression. With a little help, we can make inspiration tangible, one toolkit at a time.

Urban Oasis - ANV Youth Empowerment

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Urban Oasis - ANV Youth Empowerment by Dani Huang, Jessie Zhang, Xiaojie Dong, and Prekshit Satyarthi

Described as a "food desert," Oakland has seen its food insecurity levels rise from 340,000 to 425,000 individuals post-pandemic, affecting a quarter of its population. This issue, alongside limited green spaces and educational opportunities, hinders the community's sustainable growth and well-being. The educational attainment of local youth is concerning, with only 60% graduating from high school and 7% holding a bachelor's degree, highlighting the need for targeted engagement and empowerment efforts.

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) addresses this urgent challenge.

West Oakland's farm park, under ANV's stewardship, is a newly developed community green space combating this issue. Currently, the farm lacks essential wayfinding and educational features, compromising its potential for engaging experiences. How might we build an interactive space to empower youth towards healthy living and better educational opportunities?

Our initiative reimagines ANV's farm as a sanctuary for learning, playing, and building connections. Our proposed solutions focus on leveraging physical touchpoints such as a clear wayfinding solution and educational elements, along with digital experiences like the use of augmented reality for interactive exploration tools in the space.

By transforming the farm into a hub of education and exploration, we help ANV invest not only in youth development but also in promoting overall community well-being and sustainable food production.

With your support, ANV can lead the way in redefining urban farming as a vital resource for education, empowerment, and the development of self-sustaining communities in Oakland and beyond.

Thanks you to all of the applicants, finalists, Jurors, and beyond for making this years Impact Awards such a success!

2024 Jurors

CAPL 2023 Impact Awards Recipients

The Community Impact recipient of $10,000: Resilience of Poppies

Resilience of Poppies

Resilience of Poppies: Manifest Differently by Katayoun Bahrami

The Resilience of Poppies is a project that explores the inspiring story of those who have overcome tragedy and adversity. Through a combination of video and performance, this project tells the story of courageous survivors - men and women targeted by security
forces during protests and shot directly in their eyes, resulting in many of them being blinded. I will use the traditionally feminine craft of crochet to create poppies and distribute these as a performative tool to reflect the resilience and power of collective solidarity. The
poppies will be used in a series of performances, videos, and photographs to help build community and foster a sense of shared belonging. In addition to the physical works of art, Resilience of Poppies will include a series of podcasts available in Farsi and English. The podcasts will focus on the use of art to support and further the Woman, Life, Freedom movement and its impact. I will be
interviewing a range of experts, activists, and community members involved in this movement, exploring how they and their communities have been affected and what they see for the future.

The Exceptional Innovator Recipient of $5,000: VOTE


VOTE by Angela Becerra, Preet Ruparelia, and Tanvi Jain

The crux of this research endeavor lies in comprehending the nuances of how younger demographics are swayed towards voting for a particular party, leader, or measure, and how voter activists can effectively engage them in the electoral process. As part of the overall research objectives, we will explore the challenges voter activists face in connecting with youth, devise strategies to involve young people in the voting process, make the pre-voting phase more engaging and convivial, and distribute relevant information to the appropriate audience. An initial supposition posits that voting is a learned practice that evolves over time, implying that the low frequency of voting among young people could stem from their limited opportunities to cultivate and reinforce this habit. Given the potential opportunity costs of voting, such as finding a polling place, learning about the candidates, or taking time off work, first-time or second-time voters may encounter greater obstacles than experienced voters. This is especially true for those with inflexible schedules, limited resources, or transitory housing. To fulfill these research aims, qualitative data collection methods, such as in-depth interviews, were employed to gather insights from young adults between 18-30 years of age residing in diverse regions across the nation. Voter activists and political parties can use the findings of this study to engage younger audiences, increase voter turnout, and streamline the voting experience to make it more accessible and enjoyable. Ultimately, this research and prototype have the potential to strengthen democratic processes by encouraging greater participation from younger generations.

The Outstanding Startup Recipient of $2,500: Hack A:tack

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Hack A:tack by Shreya Saraf

ITU reported that in 2020, 71% of youth actively used the internet. Social media has increased internet use since 1996, with kids preferring general apps over child-specific ones. Accessing apps early brings social status, but as they become adults, internet use becomes more serious and
sensitive information is shared. This puts them at high risk of cybercrime. Cyberbullying often goes unreported, and this project aims to suggest a design solution to encourage responsible internet use and protect against online risks. Hack a:tack was created to facilitate learning about online safety, using role play for fun and engagement. The board game aims to familiarize players with internet jargon and prevent common hacks. It involves two or more players who take on the roles of hacker and web surfer, each with specific tasks to complete. The concept involves using
"Action Cards" to introduce jargon in a fun way, encouraging players to apply it and learn. While there is an element of learnability, repeated play enables players to start using the jargon themselves. The main was to intrinsically motivate teens to play. Hack a:tack can be seen as a radical change in the way we approach digital literacy and online safety for teenagers. By making the learning process fun and interactive, we can encourage them to be more responsible with their online behavior, leading to a more just and equitable digital future. The expandable model
and the potential for a digital platform further increase the accessibility and potential impact of the game. The Internet is fun to use, why make learning about it boring?