[Re]Rooting at The Commons: Exploring the Fifth Dimension of Citizenship

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What does it mean to be a citizen and which citizens were the system designed to support?

Despite rainy weather, over 40 people gathered at The Commons on April 18 to Explore the Fifth Dimension of Citizenship and [Re]Root themselves, in reality, possibility, and community. Dimensions of Citizenship was an exhibition that investigated the meaning of citizenship and the impact of design and architecture on the relationship between places where one lives, where things grow, and where things are built or torn down. Sweet Water Foundation was asked to be a satellite site for the exhibition to bridge the gap between museum and community and to demonstrate the possibility of a space like The Commons...Read on to learn more about the event.

[Re]Rooting at The Commons: Exploring the Fifth Dimension of Citizenship assembled a unique intersection of local residents, global artists and musicians, community partners, celebrated cultural practitioners, and academicians to work together on a series of trans-disciplinary collaborations and unpack the evolution of a specific community undergoing the transformative process of rerooting. The event began with introductions, which was followed by a “disorientation” tour of The Commons that provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the history and present-day realities of the Sweet Water Foundation community. The heart of the event invited participants to engage in collaborative activities that spanned agriculture (laying woodchips, transplanting, seeding, and weeding), carpentry (deconstruction and reconstruction), and art (printmaking, archiving, and artmaking). Participants had an opportunity to experience each station, connecting with fellow participants and the SWF team throughout the day.

The event celebrated the myriad of intersecting cultural traditions that emerge when networks of people work together to heal and reroot themselves in a sense of place while directly utilizing art, architecture, and agriculture as vehicles to respond to the trauma of a century of segregation, redlining, disinvestment, disconnection, mass incarceration, and marginalization. As such, the event celebrated the people and life that exist within disinvested neighborhoods and concentrated to reverse a legacy of manufactured ecology of absence. Sweet Water Foundation’s practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development - which creates safe and inspiring spaces through the cultivation of healthy, intergenerational communities - embodies this work on a daily basis. The SWF team was excited to engage a new audience in SWF’s practice via the [Re]Rooting at The Commons: Exploring the Fifth Dimension of Citizenship event.
Sweet Water Foundation would like to thankWrightwood 659for including Sweet Water Foundation as a satellite site and looks forward to rerooting at The Commons and exploring the fifth dimension of citizenship with future visitors.

Courtney Hug