On Saturday, June 26, Art City was joined by hundreds of people of all ages for our Planet of the Plant People Parade, the grandest spectacle of plant appreciation West Broadway has ever seen. The Art City parade and picnic is a summer time tradition in the West Broadway neighbourhood that has involved thousands of creative, community-minded people over the course of it’s nine year history.
Working with the theme Planet of the Plant People required an early start to the parade preparations. In April, we began by planting and nurturing hundreds of plants in the Art City studio to later be incorporated into floats, costumes and decorations. By late May, and all through June, local gardeners were lending their knowledge, and plant and puppet focused guest artists led our staff, volunteers and participants in the creation of costumes, food wheels (a visual guide to planting and harvesting in Manitoba) and giant walking, talking, plant people puppets.
One overwhelming success of the process was the creation of our Seed Sown Civilizations: scrap wood cities filled with plants grown in the studio. Participants hammered and glued together hundreds of off-cut pieces of wood of all types, shapes and sizes to make buildings, houses, and shops, which were then installed together to create densely composed urban centres. A combination of art, carpentry, and gardening, Seed Sown Civilizations was one of our most successful group projects to date. On the day of the parade, the Civilizations, overgrown with plants, were pulled through the procession on platforms with wheels.
Frequent Art City Participant, Hussein, reflected on what he liked most about the Planet of the Plant People Parade: “I didn’t know there were so many people around the neighbourhood. I got to see people come outside of their houses, and I met lots of new people. The group I was walking in had more than one hundred people. It’s better when we’re all together, walking and supporting Art City. The marching band (the Flaming Trolleys Marching Band) reminded me of Africa, when we would celebrate a holiday and play instruments. It makes me feel good.”