For over six years we have been using our portable silkscreen printmaking carts and methodology for participatory design in public spaces to engage communities and explore social and cultural situations. Through socially engaged workshops and events we have explored a range of themes, questions, and social issues that are urgent in our community. Questions have ranged from, "How do we create spaces for uncomfortable conversations?" to "What does solidarity mean to you?" and "How does art create health?". In exchange for drawings and writing, we offer print instruction using our mobile printmaking carts, creating a full exchange of ideas and skills. Our methodology, to create conversation as well as to collect images and drawings, has resulted in many graphic images generated directly through public engagement.
¿Compartir's un recuerdo de comida especial con nosotros?
Will you share a special food memory with us?
MPP engaged the public in printmaking, drawing, and conversation about food at Socrates Sculpture Park as part of Queens Food Day.
MPP collaborated with Sam Holleran to create an installation for Flushing Meadows Corona Park as part of the Art in Parks program. Conocer y Compartir-We Find Each Other is a series of illuminated sculptures inspired by the lampposts from the 1964 World’s Fair. All of the graphics were designed with folks in the park over the last 2 years.
What does society limit you to and how is that different from what you are capable of?
How does being different make your life beautiful?
MPP spent the summer in Corona, engaging with the community and exploring questions related to Body Positivity.
What does a community of compassion, trust, and inclusion look like?
How do we build relationships to make that real?
MPP worked with students from MECA’s Public Engagement program to create a public project on Congress St. in Portland, ME. Together we generated questions to engage the public Portland, ME.
MPP facilitated printmaking, drawing, and dialogue with the public as part of The Center for Health Equity’s What Creates Health summit at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. The summit focused on the broad social and environmental determinants of health--particularly racism and social injustice.
For our public projects we begin by collecting drawings and writing from the public in response to urgent questions like, "what does solidarity mean to you?"" In exchange for each response we offer print instruction with our portable screen printing cart. We use the material we collect to create collaborative designs, which are subsequently returned to public spaces in the form of large printed works and printed books.
Throughout summer 2015 we collected writing and drawings around themes of solidarity - a topic that emerged in conversations with community members in Corona, Queens. In September we displayed the complete Solidarity Series in Corona Plaza - the place where we gathered most of the imagery and text.
In fall 2015 Combat Paper NJ and MPP hosted an interactive day of art production at Interference Archive in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Combat Paper NJ invited the public to pulp and pull sheets of paper with their mobile paper making set-up as we guided participants through the basic printing process using our cart. Both groups asked the question "What does solidarity mean to you?"" and "How can military veterans and immigrants (and immigrants who are vets) work together to improve their communities?"
MPP spent June and July 2015 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park as part of the Studio in the Park residency with the Queens Museum. The mobile studio, designed by ArtBuilt Mobile Studios, was setup next to the museum and adjacent to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We decided to call the studio The People's Design Laboratory since it functioned as a research center for the development of unique navigational signage for the park using our collaborative and participatory design strategies. The signage concepts that we developed at the People's Design Laboratory captured the spirit of the park and were created by the park community through a series of participatory events and open studio hours. You can check out more about the project on the Queens Museum blog.
In Summer 2015 MPP received a grant from the Bronx Arts Council to create a weekly printmaking workshop at Mott Haven Library in the South Bronx. This was our first stab at sequential workshops outside of Immigrant Movement International. During 8 weekly workshops at Mott Haven Library, teenagers learned the silkscreen printmaking process and gained an understanding of how it can be both a tool for creative expression and social change. Having learned the printmaking process and having created a body of work, participants planned and implemented a culminating public print event in early October, 2015.
In summer 2014 and 2015, MPP was invited by The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, to participate in Boogie on the Boulevard. The event takes place annually on Grand Concourse between 165th and 167th Streets in the Bronx. For the event, the center lanes on Grand Concourse are closed to cars and open to a world of fun, with music, activities and programs hosted by art/cultural, civic, health organizations and artists.
MPP travelled to Pittsburgh, PA for Open Engagement, Place and Revolution. We presented a day-long participatory printmaking and hip hop event with our collaborators Arts Greenhouse - a Pittsburgh-based youth hip hop collective. The project was called Lyrics and Lettering. For the project (which began earlier through a series of Skype conversations with Arts Greenhouse members) we set up outside of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University and displayed images that we had created based on Arts Greenhouse lyrics. We collected drawings and writing in response to two questions: "What is the Role of the Artist in Society?" and "Can You Be An Artist Part of the Time?" The drawings and writing that we collect (in exchange for prints of course) was used to generate a new print on-site. Arts Greenhouse also used the collected material as inspiration for the freestyle portion of their live performance at the conclusion of the project.
In summer 2014 MPP returned to Corona Plaza to once again participate in a series of monthly community celebrations called ¡OYE Corona!. We decided to use a newly designed form of currency, which was given to passers-by in exchange for images and writing in response to the question: "MPP wants to know, what makes you feel empowered?" Once passers-by received the currency they could exchange it for print instruction at the cart. We assisted the public in printing images from last year's Message From Corona Plaza. By late July the question had changed to, "What is one of your fears and how have you overcome it?" This question was a slight change from the previous, "What makes you feel empowered?" The change was made when we found that people had a hard time understanding what we meant by empowered vs. powerful.
MPP was invited to present at Open Engagement, Life/Work "an international conference that sets out to explore various perspectives on art and social practice." Open Engagement 2014 took place at the Queens Museum. We were also commissioned to print all of the tote bags for the conference. This was our first major print commission. During the conference we hosted a weekend of silkscreen printmaking on the walkway that surrounds the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park. Activities included a Tote Bag Intervention in collaboration with the artist collective Guestwork from Portland, OR.
In summer 2013 MPP returned to Corona Plaza to participate in a series of monthly community celebrations called ¡OYE Corona! with support from the Queens Museum. During these trips to Corona Plaza, we asked the public to contribute images and writing related to the plaza. We asked participants what they thought the plaza should/could be used for. In exchange for the drawings and writing, we offered print instruction using our mobile printmaking cart. The material we collected was then used to create the Message From Corona Plaza.
On August 24, 2013 MPP took part in the 1-year anniversary of Corona Plaza. For this event we displayed the complete Message From Corona Plaza series and invited the public to print the designs on bandanas provided by the Queens Museum.
El pasado 24 de agosto del 2013, Mobile Print Power participó en el primer aniversario de Corona Plaza. Para el evento, diseñamos e imprimimos 9 mensajes relacionados con Corona Plaza. Estos mensajes fueron el resultado de las conversaciones con gente de la plaza en nuestras ultimas 4 visitas.
For MPP’s first public project, we developed a series of images that served to illustrate the main concepts of the Immigrant Movement International Migrant Manifesto. We invited passers-by in Corona Plaza to print these images with us, using our mobile screen printing cart. As members of the community printed the images, members of the collective engaged in public conversation around the values of the manifesto. This experience brought us together and helped us begin to develop our methodology for socially engaged art making.