Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bridge to Haiti

"Tonton Chien et Neveu Chat", a traditional tale from Haiti, told by Doria Hughes at massmouth's Bridge to Haiti, part of the Cambridge River Festival. I found this story in

Children of Yayoute: Folk Tales of Haiti, by Turenne Des Pres.

On June 5, 2010 massmouth created a unique and wonderful collaborative installation called Bridge to Haiti, as part of the Cambridge River Festival. We invited massmouth Storytellers and local artists to come and work together to maintain awareness for Haiti, in the wake of the recent earthquakes, and in so doing, brought beauty and storytelling to a forlorn old bridge.
Norah and Adriane installing one of our hand-painted Haitian flags on the Weeks Memorial Bridge.

Norah Dooley and Andrea Lovett had been talking about their vision for a collaborative project between artists and storytellers for over a year, and they had lit on the idea of using a bridge as the ideal space to "bridge" the gap between visual and performance art, since it provides the perfect physical space for both disciplines. Saturday morning, despite dire predictions of rain, the day way blustery and blue-skied, so we installed Norah's hand-painted cardboard panels on the bridge, brought snacks, tables, chairs, water, video equipment, and everything we could think of that artists and storytellers might need.

massmouth's gang of four (Norah, Andrea, Stu, and myself) were joined by a team of stalwart volunteers, including Rowan Meade (past winner of one of our Cambridge Story Slams) and Adriane Spunt (one of our excellent Story Slam judges), and various willing minions. At 1pm, we held a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, and our Bridge to Haiti was officially open to the public!

We were joined by massmouth Storytellers Nicolette Heavey, H.R. Britton, Bruce Marcus, Tony Toledo and Laura Packer, as well as Haitian Master Storyteller Charlot Lucien and his talented children Malaika and Sebastien. Everybody told stories and riddles, while the artists painted and drew on the bridge; folks walking by also contributed their artistic inspiration to the project! It was a beautiful day, a wonderful cause, and happiness was infectious. Ice cream trucks nearby helped, of course!

Thank you to all who came, told, listened, painted, and laughed. I can't wait to see you at our next massmouth event!

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