Thanks for joining me on this journey with FiSH STiCKS!
Now let me share the story of this project… It’s a bit long, but, this is, after all, a fish story.
The story began with an assignment in 2015 from my Art Education in Museum & Community Settings course at the Corcoran School of Art & Design (now GWU). The course was taught by Melissa Green (Artreach at the ARC) and Meagan Estep (the Phillips Collection). Melissa charged us to create a community art program focusing on the artistic creation of fish.
“True arts engagement makes all things possible.”
— Judybeth Greene
Fish windsocket, created by ARTREACH for Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade (2014)
At the time, Melissa was involved in a program to help attract people to the 11th Street Bridge Park celebration with the Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade. Workshops were held throughout the city to create fish windsockets to fly behind bicycles as hundreds of people biked to the festival. Super cool!
As my project, I created FiSH STiCKS, to address the fact that while we have a fabulously integrated neighborhood in New Hampshire Gardens, we don’t really know each other, especially cross-culturally. By creating an easily accessible art project on site, with multiple points of contact, I thought we might get to know each other more across these potential divides and become more of an integrated community.
When I first wanted to implement this program in the New Hampshire Gardens community, I found some enthusiasm but also other priorities within the neighborhood association. In the end, I helped bring Art for the People in to supported the NHGCA application for a Takoma Park Community Grant for a neighborhood language survey and an art project. Talisha Searcy, Carolyn Bobb, Melissa Hopkins Taggart and Jessie Crain were the talented NHGCA leaders who submitted the application.
The grant was awarded, and the art result was the wonderful sign at the corner of Glenside and Carroll, designed and implemented by Art for the People artist Alice Sims and Luke Vawter in consultation with the NHGCA, and finished with the assistance of neighborhood residents.
Meanwhile, I implemented a “Beta” FiSH project with friends of my daughter and created more “Beta” FiSH with neighbors at a New Hampshire Garden Fall Party at the Becca Lily Park in 2016. This project was supported by Art for the People, which provided funds for the glazes, and GWU/Corcoran School of Art which fired the FiSH in their kiln.
Which catches us up to this year’s FiSH STiCKS launch……