The Giant Puppet Extravaganza Brings Neighbors Together,
Highlights Power Of Spiral Q’s Mission
This summer, Spiral Q board and staff members reworked the organization’s mission, shifting from “Illuminating the victories, frustrations and concerns of communities…” to its more participatory and active, “Spiral Q Puppet Theater builds strong and equitable communities characterized by creativity, joy, can-do attitudes, and the courage to act on their convictions.” Peoplehood is one of the events and mechanisms through which Spiral Q pursues its mission.
This Saturday, for the 11th consecutive year, Spiral Q’s Peoplehood Parade and Pageant helped bring neighbors together to celebrate and learn from one another while participating in the pursuit of Spiral Q’s mission. 30 diverse community groups participated in the story-telling, art making, parading and performing process that Peoplehood creates. It’s the range and depth of community supported by Peoplehood that has made it such a cherished event by neighbors. When a group of 17 senior citizens joined the culminating giant puppet parade in wheel chairs decorated with glittery hearts, scores of teens spontaneously and continuously chanted, “L-O-V-E! That’s the way it ought to be!” down the streets of West Philadelphia. Neighbors and participants were equally touched.
Lena Buford, whose group from Mariposa Food Co-Op marched in the parade said, “About 6 years ago back in 2004 I was wandering through West Philly on an October day deciding if I wanted to live there. It just so happened that it was the day of the Peoplehood parade, and I thought – if this is West Philly, then West Philly is for me. I have lived here ever since. Spiral Q’s work and the Peoplehood Parade in particular are huge assets to the community and really reflect some of the things I love about kooky, creative, grassroots, caring West Philly.”
Anne Margrethe, who leads the Art Therapy Unit at Girard Medical Center, a residential, substance abuse and recovery center, said, “It’s one of the most fantastic experiences that our clients have. It’s a powerful day. The beauty of it, the sheer colors and creativity that we all experience is profound. Everyone is so welcoming here. It makes people feel really valued and important in society. It’s certainly one of the highlights of our year.”
West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance president and Paul Robeson House CEO, Fran Aulston, had this to say about Spiral Q and Peoplehood: “It’s like a family reunion and people from all over the city come here. It helps us support our mission; To create community and create arts and opportunity for those from West Philadelphia and beyond. We get to share experiences and we all become advocates for one another and the arts. Thank you, Spiral Q, for your energy and passion and integrity in serving your mission! I love you.”
The following groups participated in this year’s Peoplehood: The Paul Robeson House, The Peoplehood Band, Build On, Girard Medical Center, The Factorye, W. Philly Cooperative Preschool, Park Pleasant Nursing Home, Walnut Hill Comm. Assoc., Promethius Radio, ACT-UP Philadelphia, New Life Consumer Center, Neighborhood Bike Works, New Freedom Theater, The Harris Steppers, Youth Build Philadelphia, The Enterprise Center CDC Street Team, United Block Captains Association, Mariposa Food Cooperative, Philly BDS, Philadelphia Outward Bound, Project Home, Broad Street Ministries, Tasker Elite, Village of Arts and Humanities, Montessori Genesis 2 School, Teens 4 Good, Jane Addams Place, and Friends of Clark Park. This program would not have been possible without the generous support from PNC Arts Alive.
PEOPLEHOOD is Spiral Q’s annual artistic response to the times. It is our joyful, festive demonstration that we as people can come together, grapple with the issues of the day, and respond meaningfully in the streets. Through a giant puppet parade and pageant we offer a magical, relevant and participatory process for Philadelphians to create a new vision for our world…