ArtWeek Wrap-Up: Earth Month-Themed Poetry Challenge Explores Diversity
May 7, 2019 by Stewart Ikeda
In partnership with ArtWeek for 2019 (April 26 – May 5, 2019), The Umbrella Arts & Environment Program took the opportunities afforded by several of its Musketaquid Earth Month-related events to invite the public to contribute to a mixed-media installation in its annual, non-juried art exhibition, this year responding to the theme "Embracing Diversity in a Climate of Change".
A participatory activity inspired by the confluence of Interntional Earth Day, National Poetry Month, and Massachusetts Art Week, the program challenged contributors to submit an original, short-short poem -- exactly seven-words long -- responding to the theme. Entries could be submitted through an online form throughout the month, in-person during the April 27 Musketaquid Earth Day Parade & Festival in Concord, MA, or on-site during the exhibition at The Umbrella Arts Gallery, which runs from April 17-May 14.
Collected on a rolling basis, the poems are then rendered using natural materials, such as leaves and bark shavings and sculptural wooden objects, to create a "poetry bush" that continues to grow throughout the exhibition.
In the call for participation, the concepts of "diversity" and "change" were intentionally left broadly defined, allowing for a variety of approaches to theme -- say, biological, economic, intellectual, and cognitive as well as social, cultural, racial and gender. Examples include:
Bacterias, bananas, belugas and bats:
Earth's check engine light is on.
Although ArtWeek has formally ended for this year, The Umbrella will continue to accept challenge poems and grow the installation until the exhibition ends on May 17.