The Urbano project brings two public art installations to Eggleston Square Public Library this month

by AryanArtnews
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Urbano Project has announced the celebratory culmination of its Spring 2022 projects: “Calling Home,” a community art project with Artists-in-Residence (AiR) Krystle Brown exploring housing justice in Boston, and “Message from Sidewalk,” a young artist with AiR Ponnapa Prakkamakul A collaborative project that investigates the boundaries of public space. These are the final projects under Urbano’s 2021-22 curatorial theme of “Democracy,” a year-long series of art projects focused on community organizing, placemaking, public art, activism, participation, and social practice.

On Saturday, June 18, Urbano will host a double celebration of both projects, with artists presenting interactive public art installations they have created in collaboration with youth and community participants at the Boston Public Library’s Eggston Square branch.

“Calling Home” is Urbano’s first foray into a new series of community art projects, intergenerational collaborative courses in contemporary art in which adult participants (19-65+) work with Urbano’s resident artists to create a participatory Boston Community-specific art projects. Brown’s project asks: How does democracy exist when people can’t afford housing? Since March 2022, Brown and the project’s nine participants have been learning about housing justice and the crisis of housing insecurity, gentrification, and displacement in Boston, and exploring autobiographical expressions of change in their own neighborhoods and communities and challenge method storytelling.

During the festivities on June 18, the group will showcase their collaborative installation at a disused phone booth at the intersection of Columbus Ave and Washington St, Egleston Square (1951 Columbus Ave). Passersby can participate in participants’ stories through QR codes or physical “phone book” publications, including audio and writing in Spanish and English. The public is also invited to contribute their own housing struggle stories by email ([email protected]) or by leaving a voicemail at (978) 219-4014. By sharing these stories, the project aims to highlight our shared struggle with housing insecurity, spark community dialogue, and generate collective healing. Site-specific installations will be permanently displayed.

Since April 2022, young artists in Ponnapa Prakkamakul’s “Messages from the Sidewalk” Young Artists Program have been exploring the boundaries of public space and learning about street art, public art, social justice, games and design. This project asks: How can street art be used as a tool to raise awareness, stimulate critical thinking and create an inclusive space for everyone? In response, Young Artists designed and created a series of semi-permanent, participatory hopscotch games on the sidewalks around Eggleston Square Public Library. The interventionist installation aims to express students’ ideas of democracy and engage the Eggleston Square community of all ages in a conversation about democracy. During the festivities on June 18, Prakmakul and young artists will guide the public through the different games they have created.

Register for the final celebration on Saturday, June 18 from 11am-1:30pm at Eggleston Square Public Library (2044 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA). After an introduction to food and drink in the library, artists and participants will lead walking tours of their projects and interactive art activities for all ages. Printed maps are also available for self-guided tours.

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