Forklift in Rotterdam: Not Their First (Trash Truck) Rodeo

After 10 hours of traveling, 11+ if you count some time on the tarmac in Houston, Allison and I arrived in at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and hopped on the train south to Rotterdam for our residency at the International Community Arts Festival.  The airport and train station architecture has vaulted ceilings, lots of glass, steel,…

Served at Williams College: Almost No One Sees His Face

Note: This post is the second in a series of reflections from three Williams College students who worked with Forklift on “Served” for their Winter Study course in January 2017. Read the first post here. On January 10, starting at about 7:30am, I shadowed Bill in the dish room. One of the first things that…

Served at Williams College: Studying Service

Note: This post is the first in a series of reflections from three Williams College students who worked with Forklift on “Served” for their Winter Study course in January 2017.  It’s a Monday morning at 7am, and I’m standing in Paresky’s underground kitchen surrounded by busy dining staff workers getting ready for another work-packed day….

In the beginning

This week marks 15 years since the premiere of In Case of Fire, my very first production with a City of Austin department. To celebrate this anniversary, here is an excerpt of my recent writing on how the project got started: Beginnings “Oh my gosh what have I done…why did I say that? Everyone is going to think…

A look at my summer with Forklift as Wesleyan College of Environment Intern

Coming back to Austin after my first year away at Wesleyan University, Forklift granted me the opportunity to look at my hometown through a new lens. I learned a lot about community organizing as I conducted initial research for Forklift’s upcoming multi-year project with the city’s Aquatics program. Austin is currently creating the city’s first…

A Freshman in College Walks into a Water Treatment Plant

Community-Based Art is a collection of banal words that means something magical. This almost supernatural process changed how I see art. I, along with seven other college students, dipped our toes into a something mysteriously exciting and new, led by an all-knowing professor Allison Orr.  We all had each others’ backs from the start, giggling…

“You made us feel like humans”

“You made us feel like humans”… These are words uttered by Al—one of the dedicated kind hearted city workers of Middletown, with whom I spent months shadowing and building an artistic performance for Allison Orr’s class “Artist in the City”. These words deeply touched me in a “conflicted feelings” way. I say this because, it…

Reflecting on Water Works

While I often aim to make art for my community I got to see a completely different and possibly more effective way of achieving this goal. By incorporating people into the process rather than simply creating it for them you gain a perspective that may have been previously unknown to you. Also though the voice…

Cultivating Connection and Relationship

One of the most important things this class taught me is that community-based art making is as much about connection and relationships as it is about art. People like the Water and Sewer Department employees are rarely seen at all, and rarely seen by the public as anything more than city workers. Making space for…

Thank you to the Middletown Water & Sewer employees for everything.

Overall, I think what we did as a class was incredible. The entire process, although difficult, ended up being one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. I will never forget this class and the people that I met at the Middletown Water & Sewer Department. My first day shadowing the employees at…