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Exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture Pays Tribute To Spiral Q Organization

originally published: 03/24/2023

Exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture Pays Tribute To Spiral Q Organization

Photo courtesy of Spiral Q

(HAMILTON, NJ) -- Grounds For Sculpture will present the site-specific exhibition Spiral Q: The Parade this spring to highlight Spiral Q, a community-based organization now in its 27th year, and its rich history of a take-to-the streets (real and virtual) approach to creating an unflinching and joyous commitment to justice and equality. They are honored to present their first retrospective exhibition showcasing 27 years of community partnerships, creativity, and advocacy. A key part of their tenure at GFS includes a three week residency with Artworks Trenton, building to a public parade at Grounds For Sculpture.

Founded in 1996, Spiral Q is a Philadelphia-based, non-profit organization widely known for its originality, capacity to inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and ability to creatively invigorate communities. They use art-making, organizing, and their own inquiry-based methodology to model and teach practical skills in collaboration, community organizing, advocacy, and identifying and mobilizing shared resources.

They are perhaps best known for producing parades and community festivals based on the creative and cultural traditions and practices of the people involved. These events are designed to create space for creative self- and community expression; to spotlight visual, movement, and musical artists; and to bring communities together.

Both Spiral Q: The Parade and a second exhibition—Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits—will be on view from April 23, 2023, through January 7, 2024, in Grounds For Sculpture’s Domestic Arts Building. They are the inaugural exhibitions in a new series, Perspectives, at Grounds For Sculpture. Through these two exhibitions, Grounds For Sculpture is exploring two distinct perspectives on storytelling: the collective voice through puppetry and the individual voice via personal narrative.

“With the launch of the Perspectives series, Grounds For Sculpture is taking on new levels of engagement with our audiences as we organize artist-led, community-driven exhibitions to deepen our understanding of how we—as artists, individuals, and communities—are reflecting on our world and responding to subjects and issues of today,” said Gary Garrido Schneider, Executive Director of Grounds For Sculpture. “We remain committed to engaging and challenging visitors of all ages and backgrounds with exhibitions and collections that present the work of contemporary artists through sculpture, while developing greater understanding of our audiences through storytelling and listening to the voices of the communities around us.”

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Kathleen Ogilvie Greene, Chief Audience Officer at Grounds For Sculpture and lead curator of both exhibitions, added: “Spiral Q: The Parade is a powerful installation centering the passion, joy, and advocacy of Black and brown communities and their allies. Spiral Q, the arts and cultural organization, has a deeply personal educational and creative practice that brings the voice of individuals and communities forward and we’re thrilled to bring that intentionality to our current and neighboring communities.

“During the month of July, Spiral Q will lead a series of workshops at Artworks Trenton,” continued Kathleen Greene. “Their work will cumulate in a public procession on Saturday, July 29, at Grounds For Sculpture. The processional is a powerful interactive experience for individuals who participated in the workshops and equally as impactful for those who choose to show up and participate in the parade, or others who are lucky enough to discover the parade en route. The processional will start out in the neighborhood and will move through our front gates, creating a wandering path across our grounds. The large-scale puppet, banners, chants, and energy will call you to it!

“Quentin Williams, co-curator of both exhibitions, has been an amazing partner to work with. His expertise as a curator, activist, and poet has been invaluable.”

The exhibition Spiral Q: The Parade will showcase objects and installations that include tribute banners, posters, objects, and wearable puppets from previous parades and processionals. More than 100 objects will be on view in the gallery, all of which were created by Spiral Q in partnership with select communities and individuals advocating for change on a local, regional, and/or global scale. Each installation shares a distinct story about a community and, like many objects on display in museums around the world, these objects are not meant to be displayed as static offerings. They were created to be part of a collective processional with movement and energy from those who created the objects. To share the living nature of these items, we’ll have videos of parades and share a bit of the process. The exhibition is an opportunity for GFS to partner with Artworks Trenton to deepen our relationship with the Trenton community.

Related Programs

Spiral Q will lead a three-week residency in spring 2023 at Artworks Trenton’s visual arts center in downtown Trenton. Community members and organizations from Trenton will be invited to create puppets and banners for a one-mile procession from Trenton to Grounds For Sculpture. Select creations from the residency will then be displayed in the Spiral Q exhibition space at Grounds For Sculpture.

Additional programs will include an on-site maker space within the exhibition where participants can make their own protest signs; multiple public workshops throughout the summer and fall focused on puppet-making for all ages; and a panel discussion with Spiral Q and community stakeholders at the end of the year.

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“Spiral is a symbol of magic and emotion and power, but it comes from a small agitation like a tornado. Tornadoes don’t just happen, they come from very special environments as more things are added to it the tornado gets stronger and stronger. It’s very focused. And Q is queer, it’s the unwanted, it’s the better left invisible, it’s the disgusting, the ones that shouldn’t be heard from. The ones that should be kept down. It’s the poor people’s theater; it’s very accessible. It can be an entryway to performance and theater that is very simple. It’s a form of personal justice.” —Mattyboy Hart, founder of Spiral Q, quoted in 2001

Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits and Spiral Q: The Parade are made possible by major support from Marjorie Ogilvie and Miller Parker (PNAA Foundation) and The Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Brooke Barrie Art Fund, Drs. Umesh and Sunanda Gaur, Holman, NRG, and PSE&G. Support is provided in part by the Atlantic Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel & Tourism, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Hours and Ticketing: Both Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits and Spiral Q: The Parade are on view April 23, 2023 - January 7, 2024. Grounds For Sculpture is open Wednesday - Monday, 10:00am-5:00pm (closed Tuesday). For extended hours May - September, check the Grounds For Sculpture website.

Advance timed ticket reservations are highly recommended to ensure entry. Capacity is limited and tickets often sell out on weekends and holidays. Member reservations are required on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) and holidays. Tickets are available up to two weeks in advance and are released on a weekly basis.

Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) is a 42-acre not-for-profit sculpture park, arboretum, and museum, founded by the late Seward Johnson. Featuring over 300 contemporary sculptures by renowned and emerging artists in a beckoning, ever-changing landscape, Grounds For Sculpture combines art and nature to surprise, inspire, and engage visitors from all backgrounds in the artist's act of invention. In addition to its permanent collection, Grounds For Sculpture offers exhibitions in six indoor galleries, alongside experiential art, horticulture, and wellness programs for all ages. Located in Hamilton, New Jersey, Grounds For Sculpture is easily accessible from the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas by public transit and is open year-round. 



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