Poetry Found: First Night Evanston w/ the Poetry Foundation
A partnership with the esteemed Poetry Foundation brought us to Chicago in the dead of winter - New Year’s Eve to be exact. We were honored to be asked to architect a new initiative, Poetry Found, which aimed to introduce uncommon poetry programming designs alongside a traditional reader/audience framework.
The program found it’s debut at the 2015 First Night Evanston Festival. We rang in the new year with a celebration of the arts that boasted over 3500 enthusiastic participants in 7 venues scattered around a historic park. Since 1993 First Night Evanston has presented a huge variety of music, art, poetry, puppetry and more. We were more than excited to try to find a new poetic voice for the festival.
As always, WanderWord looked to shake hands with the traditions of poetry while pioneering new angles and mediums. Our programming had three parts:
Poetry Projections: Event specific verse and advanced video mapping technologies combined to produce a captivating, 25 foot high, 15 minute loop projection of poems and images. Positioned at a heavily trafficked event entrance, hundreds if not thousands of audience members were drawn to the piece. A soaring, ancient church provided the canvas – our software mapped specific design elements to architectural features and allowed us to tweak and refine the piece as the lighting changed through the night. 22 poems, from Edmund Spencer to Hester Knibbe, rotated in a beautifully designed sequence evoking event appropriate themes of winter, New Year’s Eve, and city life.
Pop-Up Poets: Six talented, charismatic young Chicago poets gave performances on sidewalks, in coat rooms, courtyards and choir balconies. Making full use of the element of surprise, they roved the streets and venues, blanketing the event with poetry. Part of the Pop-Up’s talent is to choose poems on the fly, based on an exact location and audience. The power of this programming lies in creating a small scale intimate experience within a large festival and this group of performers nailed this intent.
Poetry Cookies & Poetry Tags: In our first foray into edible poetry, we partnered with the internationally acclaimed Bennison’s Bakery. Throughout the night, our team handed out 1,000 delicious, star-shaped Poetry Found cookies, which were hand packaged with 1,000 gorgeously designed poetry cards featuring 5 different event specific poems.