NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday November 23rd 2017

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The Phillips History Museum – 2016 Phillips youth learn about and share stories of migration in our neighborhood

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By Bart Buch

Director of Youth and Community Programs

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

Photos by Bruce Silcox

The Phillips History Museum is a playful, interactive art installation exploring the history of the Phillips neighborhood. Created by artists from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) in partnership with neighborhood youth from the United Tribes of Little Earth, Waite House, and the Collaborative Village Initiative, this annual event is part of HOBT’s ongoing Phillips Project. On Wednesday, March 16th the 2016 Phillips History Museum explored themes of ‘migration’. The event was generously hosted by the nearby American Swedish Institute, who endeavor to provide a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts. In conjunction with the event, a project called Green Card Voices joined the exhibition. Green Card Voices’ mission is to share various stories of our nation’s 40 million immigrants and put a human face to the current immigration debate.

In the Heart of the Beast’s Phillips Project is in its 5th year and going strong. This year-round community based residency engages neighborhood youth by centering long-term arts program activities at partner sites; Waite House, Little Earth of United Tribes and PPL’s Collaborative Village Initiative. Our intention is to provide an immersive puppet and mask theater experience to a highly diverse population of neighborhood youth who have limited access to arts programming. The Phillips Project also seeks to reduce cultural barriers and increase relationships of the diverse youth populations and programs in our neighborhood to promote dialogue, friendship and fun.

Each year each site participates in parallel themes through site-specific art projects that focus on the expression of cultural identities and creation of dialogue with the people and places in the Phillips neighborhood. The artists conduct workshop sessions for three hours per week throughout the year. Youth involved study the history of the neighborhood’s physical and social landscape and the people who have lived there, led by local historians, naturalists, community members and teaching artists. Youth participants also observe and collect stories from the present day communities, families and individuals living in Phillips. They use the stories to explore the cultural and physical landscape, history, and sense of place in their neighborhood.

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