Living in New Orleans, I became fascinated with how parade arts and culture foster enduring bonds between people and place. Night parades transform a workaday space into an ethereal magical community. This shared immersive experience alters social convention between strangers and charges the physical space with joyful collective memories. Though ephemeral, parade arts operate as powerful creative place making.
Living in Atlanta, in the absence of established parade culture, I have developed a different kind of parade art practice. Inspired by the total inclusivity of the community lantern parades of England, my focus has become lantern parades based in public participation. Shifting from come-see-the-parade to come-be-the-parade has been a wondrous evolution. I like to build big art that is intended to go outside and play, to inhabit a public space, and interact with people. It is a joy to invite everyone to do the same and to teach lantern building. There is a universal desire for creative play and people come to it like a tall glass of water. This collaboration with hundreds of perfect strangers does indeed create a momentary magic community and delivers the gift of civic kinship. I am honored to do this work.
I am the proud Captain of the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons in Atlanta. I founded my Krewe in 1999 in New Orleans in awe of the New Orleans Krewes and all that they give to their city.
I'd be delighted to come help start a lantern parade in your community, or teach a lantern workshop with your group. Send me a note!