A workshop was designed to engage participants with the subject of the artwork, and to provide them with tools to support their artistic contribution to the project. Adjustments were made in the structure of the workshop to better accommodate it to the specific nature of each of the collaborating organizations, and to the diverse backgrounds of the participants.
The workshops began with an introduction to public art and the use of light as an artistic medium in public spaces, giving participants a good understanding of the project and of the potential of public art to address social issues in collaboration with the community. As part of this introduction the youth built small-scale light sculptures using LED lights.
Before approaching the task of writing a poem/text, brainstorming sessions were held in groups to collectively achieve a deeper and more complex understanding of the terms home, community, public housing and demolition, including their inter-relations. In addition, text and video materials referring to the history of Cabrini-Green and to former residents’ experiences were used to provide the youth with an opportunity to learn and think about Cabrini-Green.
To help them perform their pieces for recording, participants learned about slam poetry and sound as a form of art.
The youth wrote their texts during the workshop, and received individual feedback, thus had a chance to take part in a dynamic editing dialogue with the instructors. Mutual feedback between participants was encouraged as well, especially while rehearsing for recording. At the “recording stations” participants learned about and experienced the tool that translated sound into light, witnessing the blinking light pattern as it was generated by their voice. The workshop ended with the youth performing their pieces for the rest of the participants.