With hundreds gathered for a 2nd Amendment Right rally at the Capital and a NFL event in town, Mobile Studio celebrated MLK’s National Day of Service by printing wishes of students from across Montgomery, Alabama, inspired by the life works of Rosa Parks. We have received nearly 1,500 from every district in the city and from as far away as Paris and Burundi. The wishes have been translated to graphic posters- printed messages that speak directly to the future of the city.
Ranging from stop the violence and the killing! to appreciate your bravery and change the world!, the voices of the children are a clarion call to urban action. Not renewal but regenerative design, from soil to civic health, from the roots to the shoots- what is needed includes sidewalks, parks and bike lanes, community centers and excellent public transportation, investment in education and the future of all children today. To make the wishes of these children come true in the City of Dreams, citizens and civic leaders will need to collaborate to rebuild vital community and neighborhood infrastructures. Enter the Mobile Studio, a collective art-based approach to open dialogue about our shared landscapes. We aim to engage the discourse, share the visions and bring the change.
The public silk screening day was held beside the bus stop at which Rosa waited in 1955, in Montgomery’s historic Court Square, a fitting place from which to consider the past, present, and future of downtown Montgomery. Court Square was one of the largest slave markets of the Confederacy. In that clearing beside the first courthouse, an artesian spring provided water to the emerging capital, as cotton and hay was sold and slaves auctioned at the block. In 1965, a decade after Mrs. Parks acted for equal rights and justice, thousands of people marched from Selma to the steps of the Capital along Dexter Avenue past the Dexter Street Baptist Church and continue to march today to actualize human rights and justice. However, today, this ground zero is more of a ghost space despite its prominent neighbors. Downtown is half boarded up. Setting the print shop here for this civic workshop was an intentional alignment, a strategic punctum in the studium of the city.
With the Potluck Drumming Choir and Auburn Alabama’s own Less Than Heroes, the field day served to test the acupunctural significance of that haunted terrain in the revitalizing of Montgomery’s civic health and to stimulate the tingling of healing, opening pathways, and channels of sustained service and exchange. Printing these powerful wishes at the epicenter of Dexter Avenue, Rosa Parks Avenue and the State Capital grounds, on what was probably once a sacred mound above the Alabama River, was for the studio, a double move of resistance and wish-making. The posters give power and presence to the children’s wishes for peace, safety, equality, and justice. The event itself celebrates that act, and invites an open dialogue about how we achieve these wishes.
This project is ongoing. We hope you will join us in this wonderful partnership between Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum, Professor Jerry Johnson and his graphic design program at Troy, Auburn University’s Master of Landscape Architecture Program and an international group of students and artists dedicated to the critical and creative practice of being the change we wish to see in the world.
Poet Nikki Finney http://nikkyfinney.net/ will be speaking at the commemoration of what would be Rosa Parks 100th Birthday the week of February 4th and prints by Amos Kennedy are showing at the Rosa Parks Museum Gallery http://trojan.troy.edu/community/rosa-parks-museum/. Mobile Studio is excited to be a part of this wonderful year-long project!
Check out the several awesome publications about the event posted the Montgomery Advertiser, and the Prattville Press http://progress.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20130120/NEWS01/301200015/Rosa-Parks-celebrated-Montgomery-event
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