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Showing posts from 2019

Thoughts and Images from the Greenville, NC "Send Her Back" Trump Rally

Tuesday July 23, 2019 I don’t recall any specific faces or themes, but I know I had a stressful dream the night before the Trump rally that shocked the world with the “Send her back” chants. In the many hours leading up to the event, when I knew Greenville citizens and out-of-town travelers alike were already lining up outside of ECU’s Minges Coliseum, I worried for my town. Part of me really didn’t want to witness any of it (in addition to warnings of oppressive 90-something degree heat), but I convinced myself that this was an important day in history and that it may be useful, indeed illuminating, to document it. I was tense as I readied my lens, poised to capture anything, preparing myself for violence, even. But to be honest, I’ve felt more threatened in a Walmart parking lot. This latter half of the rally had the energy of a heavily attended church barbecue, not a political event. I was terribly curious about the people in my region who support Trump—I wante

An Afternoon Near Como

Here at the edge of Lake Como, the sloping mountains and rolling waters unite to create winds like this swamp girl's never felt before. The gusts arrive with varying power, sometimes to playfully tousle your hair and other times to remind you that even your bones can be chilled. On the lakeshore, this wind is continuous--the pushy friend of amateur windsurfers and the bane of recently coiffed fashionistas. Yesterday I went on a long walk with my sister, her boyfriend's sister, sister-in-law, and her infant girl. Lots of sisters, sisterhood. Joyful camaraderie is to be expected on a trek like this, but we would periodically find ourselves turned into a band of haggard survivors each time a freshly fierce wind would nearly topple the stroller and we the strolling. Andalo Valtellino has truly swept me off my feet. On this breezy walk, we made our way to a latteria sociale, which I understand to be some sort of farm/store/social club, which I suppose made total sense in a sma

An Initial Critique of Public Art and its Tools

I adore festivals. I've been fortunate enough to attend many small-scale festivals, and I particularly enjoy ones that feature music, dance, and other culturally expressive elements. I study how festivals and similar arts/cultural "happenings" are useful for gathering people and adding to a framework of sustainable economic activity in an area. I'm lucky to be here with the time to write about these topics and I invite you to use yours to entertain healthy appreciation for and skepticism about the arts/cultural happenings you observe in your community. What is perceived as "public art" may not be for everyone.  Festivals are a tool in the tool bag of Creative Placemaking. Creative Placemaking is both an urban development theory and practical strategy to elevate a physical space through tools such as public art installations, street festivals, and development of arts businesses. The term was first coined in a 2010 whitepaper by Anne Markusen and Anne Gadwa