PUBLIC ART Ranging from intimate projects created in response to a specific community at a specific moment, to international projects which invite thousands to respond, public art is the foundation of all of Medicine Wheel Productions.
Medicine Wheel Vigil. First Place, Best Project in a Public Space, Association Int'l des Critiques d'Art. The organization's oldest and largest recurring public art event, an annual 24-hour vigil of prayer, dance, song and ritual by hundreds of individuals and artists, all within Michael Dowling's evocative installation each December 1, World AIDS Day, at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama. Medicine Wheel, a circle with no beginning or end, is a sacred ceremonial space honoring the connections of all life while providing a safe place to gather and reflect on AIDS and other losses in all our lives. Each year Dowling involves thousands of people in creating Medicine Wheel. In 2008 The Paper Project, people from all across the commonwealth will create the walls of the installation.
No Man's Land Since 1996 Medicine Wheel Productions has led South Boston in reclaiming this once abandoned weed lot behind So. Boston High School. In the presence of art, in a landscape created by hundreds of hands working together, No Man's Land invites connection to the immaterial and the spiritual, asking us to cast aside animosities and prejudice to access a deeper knowledge of community. Its ever-expanding gardens, pathways and sculptural features include the Outdoor Classroom, the Poetry Path and the Serenity Garden. Winner Faces of Greenspace Award, Boston Greenspace Alliance.
The Tonnes: a Meeting of the Waters 300,000 people live in the border region of Ireland, along the River Foyle which forms a boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This project aims to involve 30,000 people, 1 in 10, in bringing a truth, a prayer, an intention, to be recorded in books, engraved on stones and dropped into the waters where river meets ocean, known as The Tonnes. Written Witness, the first stage of this project inviting people to record their truths and prayers together in stone books, to create a dialogue beyond conflict, is already underway.
HOPE AND RECOVERY: MENTORING YOUTH IN PUBLIC ART
Since 1996 when Artistic Director Michael Dowling worked with a group of eight teens who had lost so many friends to overdose and suicide that they called themselves "Southie Survivors," mentoring hi-risk youth in healing and recovery through art has been a focus of the Medicine Wheel Productions. Now with contracts at Edwards Middle School and Cushing House residential drug treatment program, as well as a vibrant after school and summer internship program the staff of professional artists at Medicine Wheel Productions mentor over 265 inner city youth annually. Through creating individual, collaborative and public art the youth are invited to self-awareness, to recognizing their intrinsic value, nurturing their gifts and learning to give those gifts away through the work they do as poets, public artists, and performers. New in 2008, five full-time internship positions are involving youth in all aspects of the organization, as leaders, facilitators and administrators of the public art of Medicine Wheel Productions