My Park, My Pool, My City

My Park, My Pool, My City

A multi-year collaboration between Forklift Danceworks, the City of Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department, and East Austin neighborhoods about the future of our city pools. 
 
 
Save the date! July 21, 22, 28, & 29, 2017 at Bartholomew Pool
1800 E 51st St, Austin, TX 78723
 
“My Park, My Pool, My City presents an extraordinary opportunity for residents, artists, and civic and community leaders to work together to explore and address equity and access issues facing Austin’s Eastern Crescent.” —Austin Mayor Steve Adler
 
My Park, My Pool, My City is a multi-year residency led by Forklift Danceworks in partnership with Austin’s Parks & Recreation (PARD)/ Aquatics Program. Conceived with PARD leadership to address the complex issues confronting Austin’s aquatic systems, this 3-year residency will utilize arts-based engagement and collaborative performances to foster dialogue between pool users, community stakeholders, and PARD staff in three different East Austin neighborhoods.
 
As PARD begins the rollout of a new Aquatics Master Plan for the City of Austin, the community faces a number of impending challenges including neighborhood resistance, extreme fiscal limitations, and issues of equity in access dictated by transportation. Forklift Danceworks recognizes the magnitude of these challenges as well as the often intense and emotional responses of residents to ideas about changes that might happen in their neighborhoods. On both sides there is a lack of understanding of the others’ perspectives, experiences, and motivations. The arts can take a role in helping to mediate and bridge these divides in understanding.
 
Harnessing the power of the arts to address these complex local issues, My Park, My Pool, My City will utilize Forklift Danceworks’ community-based creative process to activate existing community networks--of individuals, community organizers, community groups, PARD staff, and municipal leaders--towards the goal of creating shared understanding of, and finding creative solutions to, neighborhood-level concerns and PARD challenges related to the aquatics system.
 
Each year for three years, project activities will center on one specific East Austin neighborhood. In addition to creating new original performances, we’ll host town hall gatherings, community workshops, documentary film screenings, and—of course—pool parties leading up to and following each  show. 
 
The first performances will be presented in July 2017 at Bartholomew Pool and will feature PARD staff and residents from the Windsor Park neighborhood. The second series of performances will take place in 2018 at a new East Austin site to be determined by neighborhood and PARD leaders, and in 2019, we will present our final performances at a third neighborhood site.
 
“There is a real sense of community around this pool that sometimes isn’t fully appreciated. It gives a lot of people  healthy, safe summer activities that they might not have otherwise.”  -Nick Robertson, Lifeguard, Givens Pool 
 
Forklift Danceworks is forming at Citizens Advisory Committee to help guide us as artists as we develop and implement this project. This advisory committee will support the project by giving Forklift staff vital information like neighborhood histories and introductions to key residents in the participating communities. The committee will also serve as a link between Forklift artists and the wider Austin community, helping to connect this project to other stakeholders and supporters across the city. PARD staff, the public and the Aquatics Master Plan that will support a refined understanding of community needs as they relate to the aquatics system plans for the city.
 
Stay tuned to this webpage and join our email list as we will post updates and project developments. 
 
My Park, My Pool, My City is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program.
 
This project is funded and supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department believing that an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.