After eight years of creative visioning, planning and community engagement Postcommodity’s “Repellent Fence” (or Valla Repelente, in Spanish) goes airborne connecting the lands north and south of what is today the U.S./Mexico border. The installation, which launched October 10th, involved 26 scare-eye balloons tethered to the Sonoran Desert ground, that spanned a two-mile stretch and physically and metaphorically created a direct line of communication between communities and their many stakeholders. Repellent Fence is one of NACF’s Community Inspiration Program Pilot Projects.
A fusion of talent and energy came together in the sold-out world premiere of The Story of Everything (TSOE) in Honolulu, Hawai`i on September 26, 2015. Kealoha, an award winning spoken word poet and a graduate of MIT with a degree in nuclear physics, led the effort. The theatre, filled with a community of mothers and babies, students, and young adults to elders of all ethnicities and professions, represented the vast diversity of communities Kealoha desires to work among. The performance was the culmination of a lifetime’s work for Kealoha and one of the pilot projects of NACF’s Community Inspiration Program.
Yup’ik dancer and choreographer Emily Johnson galvanized four large urban centers in the country and her hometown of Homer, Alaska, with her multi-disciplinary project SHORE – one of NACF’s Community Inspiration Pilot projects. Story, volunteerism, performance and feasting engaged local communities who were willing to show up and be open to the possibilities.
I believe there is a benefit of arts and cultures that has not been written about nor studied enough in more intentional ways, although it has gained value in arts and philanthropic circles in the past few years. This is the value of arts and culture as a social change tool. The head of a social change organization and one of the national proponents of social change and the arts had this to say: “The single most powerful social change tool in the world is arts and creative expression. There is nothing that transcends barriers across language, economics, cultures, and place in a way that engages people and community like arts and cultures can. Nothing (emphasis) is that powerful.”
Art collective Postcommodity is completing three projects with the publics of the Tohono O’odham, U.S. and Mexico nations exploring experiences along the U.S./Mexico border, including the Tohono O’odham tribal boundaries which pre-date the political border that currently separates communities.
This remarkable program created a fellowship to provide direct support to emerging American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native filmmakers.
Kealoha is the first Poet Laureate of Hawai’i who was honored as a “National Slam Legend” in the 2010 National Poetry Slam. Kealoha was also featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices television series. “The Story of Everything” is a performance creation story based on Native Hawaiian oral traditions and science.