Presentation of Practice; Goddard College, MFA-IA, 2016
For my required presentation of practice, I created Little Fish; an interactive puppet show showcasing the effects nitrogen pollution has on aquatic life. The story is centered around Millers Pond, a community pond in Smithtown, NY.
During my study at Goddard College, I had an opportunity to attend the Highlander Research and Education Center. “The center has been a catalyst to reform in the labor and civil rights movement in this country and has touched the lives of many, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pete Seeger” (Horton).
The Highlander workshop consisted of immersion into Highlander methodologies, Population Education, Cultural Organizing, Participatory Action Research (PAR), Language Justice, and Intergenerational Organizing. All the methodologies encompass learning and begin with the learner’s own experience, focusing on connecting that experience to others. Using the thread of experience to educate in such a way that people are able to grasp deep concepts and make sense of them through community, the program produces effective practices participants can use to govern their lives.
This concept combined with imagination, offers people an opportunity to create a world of respectful justice and the mindfulness of the oneness of all. I had an opportunity to share my experience as an artist, developing sculptures and art addressing ecological and social issues challenging my local community. The feedback I received from the group suggested using Cultural Organizing as a strategy, combining art and culture to broaden my audience. This is an avenue I am currently developing, using Scuppets (sculpted puppets) to address nitrogen runoff into Millers Pond, a pond in my local community (Nissequogue River/Smithtown Bay Watershed).
Preliminary Drawings for Scuppets:
Millers Pond’s “Lady of the Lake” attends to the fish living in the pond suffering from Nitrogen’s infiltration. How will this be solved? Will Nitrogen have to go on a diet? This is what the audience had to find out. The performance concluded with a procession around Millers Pond.
The suppressing heat of the summer forced me to convert my home into a studio in order to finish this project!
Spencer, my Jack Russel, volunteered to be a model! But he is a dog, the wrong species.