FRANKLIN PARK ART GROVE: CULTIVATING AN ARTISTIC LANDSCAPE – a description

Excerpts from review on Franklin Park Art Grove event by Founder and Creative Director,  Carolyn Lewenberg:
“As the team reflects on the first year of the Art Grove, we ask ourselves how well we were able to accomplish our goals. Finding artists who were representative of the communities surrounding Franklin Park was key. During the proposal process, we supported artists in carefully considering the resources and context of the site in their proposals. Artists were selected for their skill, as it was important that this project succeed not only as a community event, but also as a contemporary art event. With hundreds of people in attendance, and new partnerships being cultivated, we are proud to call Art Grove a success.”
“Pampi, Dey Hernández and Loreto Paz Ansaldo’s Jataka Fables: Rooting into Our Animal Bodies to Inspire Community-Building re-imagined a selection of Buddhist fables featuring selfless parrots, sporting crocodiles and sensible boars. Their performances weaved together puppetry, temple dance and song of postcolonial curry cultures.”
“Barbara Lewis, Director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute of Black History and Culture at the University of Massachusetts at Boston hosted a talk on “Empathetic Environments: Animals as Mentors, Masks and Mirrors” at the Overlook Shelter ruins at the opening weekend event. This talk featured panelists from The Autobiographical Animal and Jataka Fables, who talked about their backgrounds that inform their current work, and their use of animal imagery in expressing issues of importance to them. All participants spoke enthusiastically about the panel and conversation they sparked.”
“Discussion was also facilitated as part of Jataka Fables, where artists followed their performances with interactive discussion and activist theatre to explore community responsibility, agency and resilience. Sharing community theatre techniques with the audience was intended to break the audience/performer barrier, and reclaim the power of storytelling and active listening to enable the group to exercise togetherness in order to problem solve. These strategies included forum theatre, playback, or mask-play, in which a volunteer shares the story of a situation in which they struggled, and other people enact the story. The audience offers feedback and applies their many perspectives to come up with possible solutions and understand how the individual may look at the situation with new eyes. With the support and investment of community as actors, participants could revisit difficult situations and reimagine positive outcomes.”

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