Blog focused on artists who examine, move over, look at, work with, journey on, use metaphorically, or create new connections to water, rivers, lakes, oceans, or boats.

Gowanus Visions: A Festival of Art and Action

An interactive festival focusing on one of New York’s more vulnerable, and promising, neighborhoods

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Artichoke Dance Company’s Director, Lynn Neuman, lives six blocks from the Gowanus Canal. She’s been working at the intersection of arts and environmental activism for nearly 10 years, creating work focused mainly on water and plastic pollution. When she found out about the impending rezoning of Gowanus, she joined the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice, a group of organizations and individuals working to make coordinated and pointed demands from an environmental justice perspective.


“Gowanus is poised for a great deal of change and now, before the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure begins, is the time to make your voice heard and fight for the things that are important, and that we value in the neighborhood” states Neuman. “Rezoning proposals do not take into account canal remediation and vice versa, so this has the potential to be a very expensive, and very ineffective, clean up with more and more people moving into a toxic zone.”

Neuman was well aware of the environmental issues, including flooding, combined sewage overflow and urban heat effect, plaguing Gowanus and created a work performed along the canal in 2017. Gowanus Visions: A Festival of Art and Action expands this line of work to include community involvement, education and activation. The festival includes clean and green volunteering, an eco-walking tour, canoeing on the canal, visual art exhibits, performances by Artichoke Dance, Gowanus Wildcats, Fureeous Youth, students from PS372 and Murrow High School, and a DJ dance party.


From May 18 – June 15, Artichoke Dance Company offers weekly movement and trashion workshops as opportunities for community members to join Gowanus Visions. Movement workshops involve participants in a dance that will be performed on June 15 and enables them to perform it with the Company. “The dance follows the journey of a community facing the impacts of climate chaos and involves people in a process of collaboration that’s needed right now,” Neuman reflects.


Trashion (fashion made from trash) continues Artichoke Dance Company’s practice of using materials otherwise headed to landfill, for productions. For the past few years, the target material has been plastic bags, which will continue to be used but are less a focus since the passing of plastic bag legislation. These workshops will utilize other single use plastics, including bottles, caps, straws and more, all collected locally. Trashion will be paraded on June 8 at the March for the Ocean at Coney Island as well as at the Gowanus Visions Festival on June 15.

This announcement was originally published in Artichoke Dance Company’s website.