Art Without Borders
Art Without Borders was originally designed to bring the Arts across demographic barriers, to not only make classes and performances accessible to marginalized communities, but also to bring otherwise separated communities together through shared experience. We offered after school programs in singing, theatre, and dance and organized community events such as our festival for Dia de los Muertos, which brought together performers and vendors from around the Tri-Cities and allowed our students to perform on stage with professionals.
It was exciting and inspiring work, and we could feel our little projects starting to gain momentum. Then, literally the night before our St. Patrick's Day festival was scheduled to take place, Washington State was shut down. Everything was cancelled. The Arts were suspended, and as the weeks turned into months, we scratched our heads wondering how a business based on bringing people into a shared space in order to celebrate art and culture was ever going to survive.
When Covid struck a year ago, virtually everything related to public performances and the arts was closed down. Productions were cancelled, symphonies and theatres shut their doors, dance classes were stopped, and the barely year old Arts non-profit that my mom and I had started was put on hold.
It also happened that as college classes were moved online and jobs closed up, almost all of the seven Powers siblings were suddenly back home again. With a houseful of cramped, aimless, and increasingly stir-crazy artists all under one roof, it's not surprising that we soon took to the back acre that makes up our yard.
There wasn't a set purpose to it originally. We cleaned and weeded and dug around in the dirt. It was cathartic, and left a little more headspace to look at both the present and the future with optimism. It became part of the normal routine for months: put in some hours at a part time job, perhaps working online, and go do yard work. Then somehow, in the midst of our digging and thinking, we looked up and realized that the garden spaces had exploded with flowers!
It was both beautiful and surprising. We had intended for plants to grow of course, but between the rich soil we didn't know we had and our mom's green thumb, things were really growing. In a time when the digital age and human isolation had suddenly grown to a peak, we were struck by the awesome possibility of creating and presenting Art in a space that was truly our own, and one that would connect people to nature and one another at the same time.
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