By Southwester Staff

The commUNITY art project lasted through August, taking the place of the Sunday Suppers; Courtesy of SWBID

For the past three years, the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) has brought neighbors together for Sunday Suppers, a free community meal hosted each Sunday at the Southwest Duck Pond. This year, the weekly experience of connection was reimagined as a month-long public art piece, inviting the community to engage directly with the installation, enjoy poetry from local writers while at the park, submit poems of their own, and explore digital resources that help connect residents to Southwest’s history.

The experience was curated by local artist Beth Ferraro of The Art Island and invited people to share chalk messages directly on the oversized table, representative of the community table from Sunday Supper. 

“The commUNITY table physically represented but did not replace our gatherings,” said Beth Ferraro, “we aimed to create a space where everyone had access and could engage when they wanted to. The poetry packets allowed us to slow down and reflect on what community means. The virtual components helped everyone to create their own Sunday Suppers this year.” 

The poetry packets attached to rocking chairs all around the park included poems from seven local poets. Online, people can still enjoy curated playlists from two local DJs, peruse a book list of recommended reading to learn more about the Southwest neighborhood and its history, watch relaxing videos of the Southwest Duck Pond Park produced by a local videographer, and access information on local community groups.

Poetry packets, attached to chairs, offered passersby a chance to sit and reflect; Courtesy of SWBID

“Sunday Suppers has always been about connection, and connection looks a little different this year,” said Lexie Albe, Deputy Executive Director of the SWBID, “While we couldn’t safely host suppers in the park for forty neighbors, we wanted to create space for people to express themselves and connect, keeping the spirit of Sunday Suppers alive.”

The installation was in place throughout the month of August. Community members inspired by the installation’s poems were invited to participate in a friendly poetry competition each week, with winners receiving gift cards to local restaurants. 
For more information, including a full list of the local artists who participated and the winning community poems, please visit www.swbid.org/sundaysuppers.

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