The Steam Exchange at the Poetry Opera

The Steam Exchange and visiting NYC artist Patrick Rowe, engaged the local community in an art project related to the Smoketown Poetry Opera that was unveiled the night of the show. While the piece was facilitated and printed by Patrick and the Steam Exchange, it was designed and created by the Smoketown community.

We asked the participants of the poetry opera to select passages from their poems that they felt were especially meaningful and powerful. Working with over 50 community members (predominantly youth) we asked them to draw or write responses to these lines of poetry. Their drawings were then condensed and assembled into 6 simplified posters composed of text and image.

These posters were screen printed on large (22″x26″) pieces of felt which were strung up on a clothesline and displayed at the Poetry Opera. Smaller versions of the posters were available at the poetry opera for anyone to screen print! This way anyone who wanted could take a copy home with them. One young boy recognized the line “I am this. Because I am a woman” from his mother’s poem in the performance. He printed 10 copies to show support for his mother.

Many thanks to those of you who contributed your poetry, your drawings, your creativity, and your prints to help create this project!

[photos by Steam Exchange, Josh Miller, and Kertis Creative]

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