Autumn’s bright golds, reds, and yellows are fading, the air is crisp, and it’s almost time to turn the calendar to a new year.
At ArtYard, November is a time of thanks giving. While we are full speed ahead in planning programming for 2022, when we will officially open the McDonnell Theater, we are making space for gratitude and reflection.
In this frayed moment in the second year of a global pandemic, we continue to experience gratitude in small ways. First and foremost, we are grateful for our community — our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and all who have shown up and played a part in our story. Knowing we have lost too many, we are grateful to those who made it possible for us to be with people outside our quarantine bubbles safely together again. We are grateful for the return of travel and gatherings to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other occasions. We are grateful for the lessons, obstacles, and failures that have made us stronger. And we remain ever grateful for the power of art to repair, connect, heal, and transform.
We are grateful to the curators, artists, and visitors for their vision and openness to collaborate with Going to the Meadow, a living exhibition curated by Robin Hill and Ulla Warchol / BiolunarL, the second in our new building. The exhibition explores the paradigm shift we find ourselves in as we navigate the pandemic, confront systems of oppression and racism, and face the climate crisis. With each visit, questionnaire response, chalkboard message, artist interaction, social media photo, and peep into the Very Small Gallery portals to experience Selections from Object Lessons, you, too, have become part of this exhibition, which aspires to prioritize process over outcome, the collective over the individual, play over work. We thank you all for helping to answer the question, what is it we collectively care about?
If you haven’t joined us yet, we have two events coming up this month for Going to the Meadow — the final Conversation with the Curators is today, Thursday, Nov. 4, and the Reception to celebrate the final installation is on Saturday, Nov. 13. Click the links to register for these free events.
We are grateful for the 15 people who embarked this week on the Writing as a Tool for Healing five-part virtual workshop series, and to its host Alexandra Vassilaros, founder of Make Meaning Workshop. Through writing, Alex is guiding the group to process loss and open pathways to healing in a safe and creative space.
We are grateful for all the actors, artists, curators, dancers, filmmakers, poets, and social change advocates who never stopped creating over the past year and are finding their way back to communal spaces so we can all experience art together.
We are grateful to Ledelle Moe whose Monuments, five cement and welded steel figures installed permanently in four locations across the ArtYard campus, are weathering the elements and recent storms to help us grapple with permanence and impermanence, strength and vulnerability, and the intersection of the personal and political. With memories of the flooding that wreaked havoc this September still fresh, we are thankful for Fisherman’s Mark Social Services and everyone in the community that has helped support those impacted by Ida.
We are grateful to Brian Sanders’ JUNK who helped us see refugees as humans in search of joy in a times of darkness at last month’s Aqualumina Festival. We are grateful to The Philadelphia Jazz Tap Ensemble who rocked our outdoor stage and helped us celebrate the sound of the City of Brotherly Love. We are grateful to Kei Ito and Andrew Paul Keiper who helped us remember and heal from acts of violence in This Place is a Message. We are grateful to J. Vanessa Lyon and artists who complicated the narratives of coming of age through feminine eyes in Girl You Want. We are grateful to Stephanie Smith, ArtYard’s poetry curator from 2018 to 2021, and the poets whose words and language helped us reflect and hope for the prospect of renewal in Remember, Green’s Your Color. You are Spring and Tearing it Down is a Love Song. We are grateful to Grace Fossett who shared the art of mending through hand stitching and darning techniques in Means of Measure.
We are grateful for the architects, builders, crafts people, technicians, volunteers, board members, former staff, and all others we have not mentioned here but are indebted to for helping us reach this moment.
We thank you all for coming along with us, and we can’t wait to share more about what’s in store in the coming months.