LP Create Change Public Artists in Residence Across the Country and Beyond

Posted on December 13th, 2011

Create Change artists have gone on to impact communities across the globe with projects they began in our annual public art residency program. In partnership with Asian Arts Initiative and The LP, CC ‘09 alum Michael Premo brought Housing is a Human Right to Philadelphia's Chinatown this past summer, after previous runs in New Orleans and South Africa. CC ‘10 alum Bayeté Ross Smith piloted Got the Power during his residency, which he has since traveled to Baltimore and Minnesota.
Bayete Ross Smith and Got the Power: From New York to Minnesota

While a 2010 LP Create Change Public Artist in Residence, artist, photographer, and educator Bayeté Ross Smith launched his project Got the Power, in which he uses ambient sound, music, and oral history to create mixtape portraits of American communities. Ross Smith travels to historically-significant neighborhoods and invites community members, young and old, to collaborate in making a mixtape which archives their favorite songs and stories. The tapes can then be played through a tower of boom boxes built at each site, resulting in an accessible and site-specific work that offers its collaborators an opportunity to record their own history.

Ross Smith started Got the Power in his Washington Heights laundromat, but has traveled the project to two other American cities since his LP residency. He collaborated with Baltimore-based curator Raquel DeAnda to mount the project at ROOTS Fest 2011, collecting oral histories and creating a mixtape and tower unique to the people of West Baltimore. This summer he was also a FSP/Jerome Fellow at Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia Minnesota, where he constructed a Minnesota version of the boom box tower and two Minnesota mixtapes: "A Twin Cities" mixtape and "Rural Minnesota" mixtape. All of these projects continue online, and Ross Smith is eager to mount it in new cities across the country.
Office of Human Rights: An exhibition with Asian Arts Alliance in Philadelphia

From June 2 to July 2, 2011, The Laundromat Project collaborated with the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia to present the exhibition Office of Human Rights. Former LP Create Change Public Artist in Residence Michael Premo kicked off his ongoing multimedia project Housing is a Human Right
in 2009 with an exhibition and listening party at a laundromat in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, before expanding the project to an international stage where such cities and countries as New Orleans, Philadelphia, and South Africa were able to experience Premo's multidimensional project.

In partnership with Asian Arts Initiative and Premo, The Laundromat Project was able to organize an exhibition featuring over 50 photographs, town hall meeting, film screening, storytelling workshops and oral history training, and oral history interviews with local residents of the North Chinatown and Callowhill neighborhoods. Housing is a Human Right brought awareness to the struggle of community members to obtain and maintain a place called "home," and to build a collective definition of what home means to the people of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, and beyond.
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Images: (above) Bayete Ross Smith builds his boombox sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, Minnesota; (below) Michael Premo and Rachel Falcone introduce Housing is a Human Right to Philadelphia residents.

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