Stephanie Benenson MA '17 just shared the news that her thesis research combined with a RISD Graduate Studies Research Grant is enabling her work as a social practice artist to engage the Cape Ann, MA community in "Harbor Voices" - a collaboratively developed site-specific installation. Here is how Stephanie describes the work:
"Harbor Voices has been collecting the stories of immigrants, both ancestral & recent, on Cape Ann. These stories have connected people to each other, offering opportunities for resource-sharing to promote social change and artistic production. For example, storytelling sessions in Gloucester High School have led to class discussions around the cultural contributions (such as food, industry, and music) that each immigrant community has offered Cape Ann. In Veterans Elementary School, students created art about their individual cultural heritage stories and then joined the individual artworks together onto a bulletin board to make one large artwork reflecting our colorful, connected, and dynamic community.
Storytelling propels actions. Today, these actions become art.
The installation is a ten minute experience. It is an ocean of sound, stories, and light, drawn by the voices of our neighbors and friends. From age 6 to 86, our stories reflect immigration paths to Cape Ann from 5 continents across centuries. This installation celebrates the 100 voices that we have collected so far, mostly from our youth, but we plan to collect many more going forward and welcome participation from all."