UPP Arts hosted the 9th Annual Urban Pond Procession on May 14, 2016 in partnership with local artists, scientists, historians, community members, and representatives of the Tomaquag Museum. Choreographed by Lisa Abbatomarco, the 2016 Procession departed at 6:00PM from Roosevelt Lake behind the casino in Roger Williams Park and traveled to J T Owens Park on Mashapaug Pond where a ceremonial blessing by Tomaquag Museum representatives opened the celebration of this past year’s theme, the Pond’s Indigenous Culture and Urban Waterways. The evening’s programming included a variety show featuring student projects created to explore Mashapaug Pond’s cultural and environmental history.
Artist and UPP Arts co-founder and Artistic Director Holly Ewald debuted a new floating sculpture that doubled as a film screen by showing student films. Ewald’s work, Full Circle: Art As Reflection, was fabricated by The Steel Yard with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism. The installation was on view at Mashapaug Pond through October 2016 and will be used for a film series thought the summer months.
The annual Urban Pond Procession draws over 250 youth, families and other community members each year. 2016 participants included: Extraordinary Rendition Band, the Extraordinary Youth Ensemble, Big Nazo Puppets, Tomaquag Museum performers, and Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts. Teaching artists included Kate Lacouture at Reservoir Avenue Elementary, Denali Tiller at Alvarez High School, Wanda Hopkins and Dawn Spears with 21st Century Learning Community in Cranston at Gladstone Elementary School & Bain Middle School.
Every year the procession focuses on a different theme to celebrate and build stewardship of Mashpaug Pond and the Lower Pawtuxet River Watershed with local residents, schools and elected officials. Mashapaug Pond was a settlement site for Indigenous People for centuries and many still recognize it as an important ancestral site. Loren Spears, Director of the Tomaquag Museum, is an advisor for all UPP’s arts-based school and public workshops.
For more on Mashapaug Pond, check out the Rhode Score home page.
For more on the sculpture Full Circle: Art as Reflection, and programming at Mashapaug, check out the UPP Arts home page and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities’ What is the 21st Century Essay? blog.