The Pawtuxet Village Freedom Project

The Pawtuxet Village Freedom Project (2003)

This project involved Pawtuxet Village residents in a year-long exploration of local history, based on concepts of freedom. Children, parents, artists, and scholars collaborated in a series of fifteen Saturday-morning workshops in the fall and winter of 2003-04, presented by folklorists Dr. Michael Bell and Dr. Winnie Lambrecht, historian Al Klyberg, anthropologist Dr. William Simmons, Narragansett Indian Preservation Officer Nancy Brown Garcia, and performing artists Melodie Thompson, Kate Katzberg and Jason Roseman. I worked with each child to create a collage image and text from the perspective of either a Narragansett Indian or an African American who might have lived in Pawtuxet in centuries past. The cards were mailed to village residents, who replied with images and text expressing concepts of freedom in their lives today. In early 2004, participants gathered at the library to discuss the issues of freedom raised in their postcards, including war, sovereignty, equal rights, land use, and civic responsibilities. The postcards are presented as inlays on a six-panel screen of monoprint on rice paper, designed and hand printed by me. The project was funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Verizon, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, The Cranston Public Library, and Voices and Visions of Village Life (a volunteer civic organization in Pawtuxet Village). The wooden frames that house the panels were built and donated by Residential Builders.

Freedom Screen
Freedom ScreenFront of freedom screenFreedom Screen At OpeningCorrespondenceCorrespondencedetail of freedom screenCorrespondence


Working with the Community

ResidentsReading a photoNegro Elections Re-enactmentHistorian Speakingcharacter developmentCreate postcardCorrespondents talking