“The How To Fix The World Festival” brought together art and activism to consider ways we can improve our communities and the larger world. The free event was presented by the Somerville Arts Council and partners in the city’s Union Square from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 18.
Produced with funding from The Boston Foundation’s Live Art Boston (LAB) Grant, the festival showcased music (including Tef Poe, pictured above, the St. Louis rapper and current Harvard University fellow who rose to national prominence as an activist at the forefront of the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri, protests), dance, visual art, talks, sign-making, letter-writing and other participatory activities. The festival also offered ways to engage with local activist groups and community organizations addressing racism, sexism, global warming, the flaws of capitalism and other major problems.
The How To Fix The World Festival culminated with a 3 p.m. parade/march and 3:30pm rally, which all were invited to join. The parade was led by the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Asociación Carnavalesca de Massachusetts (pictured above with Tef Poe), and the Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The parade ended with a 3:30 p.m. rally in which artists, activists and community groups led participatory chants.
The festival was organized by a planning committee that includes Deidra Montgomery, Marissa Molinar, DiDi Delgado, Greg Cook and Nina Eichner.
(Photos here copyright 2017 Greg Cook)
Danza Orgánica, the Boston-based social justice oriented dance company, performs excerpts from “Running in Stillness,” a dance-theater piece based on the impact of mass incarceration on women and their families and inspired by the group’s work with people who’ve directly experienced incarceration. (Greg Cook)
A dance performance by the Boston dance troupe Upasana, based on classical Indian style, about reconnecting with nature. (Greg Cook)
Deidra Montgomery, one of the festival organizers, leads the crowd in chants during the closing rally.(Greg Cook)
Cambridge puppeteers Trudi Cohen and John Bell of Great Small Works perform their toy theater show about the clash between government urban planner Robert Moses and community activist Jane Jacobs in the mid-1960s New York. (Greg Cook)
The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence pose at the The Network/La Red table. The Sisters are the Boston branch of a gay activist group founded in San Francisco in 1979. They describe themselves as a “modern order of nuns” devoted to fostering joy, eliminating guilt and serving their community. “We are the sacred clowns of our community, taking a stand on the edge of what our society defines as ‘normal.’” The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, BDSM, polyamorous, and queer communities. (Greg Cook)
Lakaï Dance Theatre, led by choreographer McKersin Previlus, performs a dance exploring masculinity. (Greg Cook)
Boston-based indie folk singer-songwriter Grace Givertz performs. (Greg Cook)
Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts is a Lawrence-based group that brings the carnival traditions of the Dominican Republic to the United States. Its diablos cojuelos (limping devils) and the fabulous, ruffled attire of its other masqueraders are part of a tradition whose roots include satire of Europeans who colonized the island nation. (Greg Cook)
To help us envision threats from global warming, Boston artist Jason Turgeon constructed an installation that visitors could enter that depicted an office waiting room with a pile of melting ice at the center. (Greg Cook)
Fossil Free Somerville. (Greg Cook)
Deidra Montgomery, one of the festival organizers, walks with the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band during the festival’s concluding parade. Second Line is a New Orleans-style street band based in Somerville and Cambridge that combines music with social action, performing at protests and peace rallies, as well as helping organize Somerville’s annual Honk festival of activist street bands. (Greg Cook)
The Center for Teen Empowerment. (Greg Cook)
Gloria Rose tells jokes as fellow comedians Jere Pilapill (center, in blue shirt) and Kwasi Mensah (to the right of Pilapill) watch. All three performed in a stad-up comedy lineup organized by Christa Weiss. (Greg Cook)
A voter registration table. (Greg Cook)
Beyza Buarcak of MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition) speaks during the closing rally. (Greg Cook)
Representatives of the Urbano Project, the Boston community art project, presented their “Nomadic Civic Sculpture/Escultura cívica nómada, a mobile art installation that prompts conversations with visitors about “What is the solution to youth gang violence,” “How do we influence next generation leaders,” and other vital questions about how we can improve our communities. (Greg Cook)
youth from Somerville’s Deborah Mason School of Dance perform. (Greg Cook)
Applause for Cambridge puppeteers Trudi Cohen and John Bell of Great Small Works as they perform their toy theater show about the clash between government urban planner Robert Moses and community activist Jane Jacobs in the mid-1960s New York. (Greg Cook)
Subject:Matter, a Boston based tap dance company, under the direction of choreographer Ian Berg, performs. (Greg Cook)
Boston artist Ife Franklin (blue hair) led her “Ancestor Slave Cabin Workshop” in which visitors were invited to craft small structures reminiscent of slave cabins to honor the ancestral spirits of Africans who were enslaved throughout the early centuries of America. (Greg Cook)
Constructing an “Ancestor Slave Cabin” at Ife Franklin’s table. (Greg Cook)
Boston artist James Montford (right) will offer visitors white circles to place in spaces and photograph where they see “Blind Spots,” problems of exclusion and other social injustices. (Greg Cook)
Staffers from Somerville’s Office of Environment and Sustainability talk about their efforts. (Greg Cook)
Tef Poe speaks to the crowd. (Greg Cook)
Deidra Montgomery, one of the festival organizers, leads chants during the festival’s closing parade. (Greg Cook)
Boston artist Ria Brodell shared “Butch Heroes” cards, based on icon-like paintings Brodell has made illustrating the lives of people assigned female at birth, but who presented as masculine as they grew up, and had documented relationships with women. (Greg Cook)
Brock Satter of Mass Action Against Police Brutality calls for “Justice for Philando Castile during the closing rally. (Greg Cook)
Ife Franklin sings on stage during the concluding rally. (Greg Cook)
The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band plays during the festival’s closing rally. The band combines music with social action, performing at protests and peace rallies, as well as helping organize Somerville’s annual Honk festival of activist street bands. (Greg Cook)
Ben Echevarria of Somerville’s The Welcome Project speaks during the closing rally. (Greg Cook)
During the closing rally, people from the Center for Teen Empowerment call for the destigmatization of mental health. (Greg Cook)
Thanks to Black Lives Matter Cambridge for their support in planning and promoting the call to artists and event through their networks. Thank you to Deborah Mason for lending their mylar dance flooring. Thank you to Masai Andrews for designing the save-the-date flyer and Kenji Nakayama for designing the final poster.