Stilt walkers and dancers from the Brooklyn Jumbies will lead the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Neighborhood Night Block Party, celebrating the cycles of the Earth and cosmos. Everyone is welcome to join in the evening of art and performance inside and in front of the Museum along Evans Way Park – which is free and open to the public on August 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Presented by Laura Anderson Barbata, Intervention: Ocean Blues will be performed by the Brooklyn Jumbies stilt dancers, along with Jamaica Plain-based Spontaneous Celebrations and Afro-Caribbean percussion group Tempo International Rhythm Section. Donning bioluminescent sculptural wearables designed by Barbata, performers will parade through Evans Way Park throughout the evening. This cross-disciplinary collaborative performance highlights the physical and emotional relationship maintained with the life of our ocean and the urgent need for collective transformation. Jellyfish puppets will set the scene for the procession, and a Mermaid Queen, designed by Meegan Williams, will accompany the Jumbies.
In 2007, Barbata began working with the Brooklyn Jumbies, who perform stilt dancing, considered one of the numerous cultural elements of the African and Caribbean diaspora. Jumby means “ghost” in Afro-Caribbean and also serves as a substitute for “stilt-walkers” who function like above ground roots connecting the undead with the rituals of the ancestral African world. Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies blend tradition with social contemporary culture, group participation, and protest.
Also outside the Museum, choreographer Marsha Parrilla will lead a Dances of Resistance workshop exploring the power of movement to challenge the status quo, create new paradigms, and uplift the spirit. Enjoy roller skaters Chez-Vouz Roller Rink, interactive demos from Xtreme Ninja Martial Arts, metalsmithing projects from Metalwerx, the Boston Public Library’s Bibliocycle, lawn games, art-making, music, tabling from local organizations, the Jamaica Mi Hungry food truck and ice cream trucks for visitors to get a bite to eat.
Inside the Museum, join local artist Silvia López Chavez in the Bertucci Education Studio for hands-on art-making activities inspired by the Museum’s Life, Death, & Revelry exhibition. Songwriter and violinist Josh Knowles will celebrate the release of his upcoming album with performances in Calderwood Hall. David Baird of Metalwerx will lead a stone-carving demo in the Jordan Garden, and healer Luana Morales will conduct rune readings in the Tapestry room.
Over the past year, the Museum has experimented with new ways of animating the historic galleries from sound art to pop-up dance performers. The Evans Way Park Block Party is the third free event of the three-evening series, which is designed to draw neighbors from the Fenway, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, and Dorchester neighborhoods. The Gardner Museum partners with local culture makers, neighborhood organizations, and artists to offer fun and interactive activities for individuals and families as part of Neighborhood Nights.
Admission is free but limited to Museum capacity. Check in at the Admissions Desk upon arrival.