Saturday, April 24

Wherever there is Water

Artist George Ferrandi has been working as the Artist in Residence at Fleisher Art Memorial for the past 6 months. It started off with inviting community members in for tea and conversation, and slowly the story grew. From stories it moved on to sculptures and lanterns, and countless community members gave their time and energy to make the paper mache items that would eventually be carried in a night procession to tell the story. Inspired by Catholic Saint processions on Holy Days, tonight was the culminating event- a procession around South Philly with community members and Fleisher people carrying all the lanterns and lit sculptures through the streets (see the parade route above). Led by Huberta, the main character, traveling by water up the Eastern seaboard to find her love, we set out at dusk, lanterns swaying.
We stopped traffic as we marched down 8th street to Wharton, down to 3rd and back up to Catherine Street. We passed a quinceanera party, neighbors hanging out their windows to watch, children in the project developments rushing up to ask what was going on, and bar patron crowding the windows to see us go by.Huberta was accompanied by a giant polar bear, sphinx-like lions, a canoe and various other fish and animals all made of paper and lit with fairy lights. A choir sang her theme.We ended up back where we started with a great cheer. Somehow the long-predicted rain held off for the parade to go on without a hitch. I've been in and watched a lot of parades in my life, but none like this! Congrats to George and the community for pulling it off!

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