On Saturday June 10, 2017, in conjunction with Works on Water's 26 days of art, theater, and excursions, UNY editors Nicki Pombier and Helen Georgas set off with seven intrepid explorers for a half-day residency at Coney Island Creek. As we walked along its banks, we delved into the Creek's unique history, learning about its past (site of landscape architect Calvert Vaux's death, its role as an important stop on "Rum Row" during Prohibition) and present (graveyard to abandoned ghost ships and a yellow submarine). Using a series of artistic prompts, participants were then invited to create their own work, in any genre, inspired by the Creek and our wanderings.
Here are just a few of the amazing pieces that came out of the residency:
Caleb Wright used found objects (an Arizona iced tea bottle, a cigarette) to re-imagine the yellow submarine built by Jerry Bianco (Jerry, a Navy Yard worker, built the submarine in the 1960s along the shore of the Creek so that he could dive for sunken treasure off the Andrea Doria).
Anna Blair invented a story on the spot about the dinosaur who wanted to be a sea monster when we encountered this object washed ashore.
Nick Truesdale, inspired by the word "stevedore" (Big Bill Dwyer, a one-time rum-rummer and the original owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, started out as one), collected field notes by writing down all the singular and specific maritime words he encountered, transforming them into a list poem.
Claire Fry used a historical article and the process of erasure to create an entirely new story that she then performed for the group.
A "clip" of the historical New York Times article Claire used as inspiration.
Huge thanks to all the participants who came out to UNY's inaugural artistic residency and to Works on Water for inviting us to participate in their month-long triennial devoted to work around the waterways.
We had such a fun day exploring and making!