Riverside Park Sound Garden 5/14/2022

Project Background

In Spring 2022, Composer / Director JG Everest teamed up with Artist Organizers and poets Chavonn Shen and Nimo Farah
to present a new site-specific temporary sound + performance installation at historic Riverside Park, part of the
Cedar Riverside People’s Center and Clinics’ “Because Your Health Matters” community wellness initiative,
funded by the City Of Minneapolis’ Creative City Making program’s Creative Response Fund (CRF).

The Riverside Park Sound Garden event was a free, family-friendly, self-guided event that featured
a sound installation of 70+ small, wireless speakers, distributed throughout 4 acres of the park, (see map below)
with live accompaniment by roving musicians and dancers, and embedded poetry and site-specific photography and visual art.
Check out an interview with composer JG Everest about the new piece and its origins here.

(Scroll Down for photo galleries from the event, and a “behind-the-scenes” video about the artists involved)

In the weeks leading up to the event, we offered four free community Art + Nature workshops, where
local participants were led by naturalists on guided nature walks and then led through
art-making activities by Teaching Artists in four disciplines: Poetry, Sculpture, Murals, and Music. The artistic
elements created and developed in these workshops by community members (poems, sculptures, murals,
music) were then featured in the larger Sound Garden event on May 14, as a gift to the wider community.
(For context, these workshops are similar to our previous Monarch Magic! series at Lake Nokomis Park for the Mpls Monarch Festival.)

Take a guided nature walk in the park and then participate in art-making activities for the new Sound Garden event!
Sun April 24 1-4pm Poetry Workshop w/ poets Chavonn Shen, Nimo Farah, Lisa Yankton, and Teresa Ortiz
Sat May 7 10-1pm Murals Workshop w/ Muralist Tim Blighton
Sat May 7 2-5pm Music & Sound Workshop w/ composer JG Everest, percussionist / MC Truth Maze, and Matty Harris
Sun May 8 1-4pm Natural Sculptures Workshop w/ Sculptor Jim Proctor

Teaching Artists for Art + Nature Workshops

Attendee Comments from the Riverside Park Sound Garden
(scroll down for photos)

“Thank you for this peaceful enriching experience. much needed in the turbulent times! Blessed be!!” – anonymous

“I felt very calm and at ease. I am always surprised at how the sound can be so immersive one moment and then fade out the next. it’s just lovely.” – Jason

“I felt so peaceful. My family and I loved it. The atmosphere was calm and lovely. Right before we descended toward the river, there were dancers and music. That was amazing.” – Yara

“Thank you for this experience and the connection to the Line 3 / Water Protectors drawing thoughts to the river in a peaceful, loving but also motivating way. Love to the water!” – anonymous

“The visual beauty of spring really hit me. The tiny oak leaves, other tree leaves that I found remarkable, phrases about Sitting Bull, image of dragon with bleeding hearts coming out of their mouth, absorbing it all slowly and with pleasure. The end of a dance (I think) when the dancers laid down to rest. I was surprised by how much I could slow down after a busy day. How the music kind of added to the slowing down for me.” – Elizabeth

“Thank you so much for bringing this experience into our space.” – anonymous

“Felt joy watching the dancers. Peace sitting under the trees with my wife with the music. I live with anxiety, so being able to leave it behind for a little while was wonderful. The quote from Sitting Bull was especially strong. The dancers were also so amazing. Wasn’t expecting to love their work as much as I did. Full of whimsy.” – Jonathan

“I felt peaceful, curious, enchanted, a sense of poignancy…I loved my initial approach and immersion into the sonic space, experiencing newly how the subtle sounds from the various small speakers intermingled with nature’s sounds, birdsongs, and also the musicians’ instrumental playing (near and distant).” – Nick

“Thank you for a very calming experience it helped me relax when I was very stressed.” – anonymous

“So hard to let go out there. But here, wrapped in the earth’s womb it blooms possible. Dandelions remind me of past attempts to vainly sort and purge…Here, it is easy to surrender.” – anonymous

“My mother’s 73rd birthday. My sister made arrangements for me and her kids to be here. We had no idea what to expect. The longer we’re here – the more there is to be heard, felt – all senses engaged. Sitting here with my mother is the most pure relaxation and I love my amazing, resilient, strong, beautiful mother. Opportunity to quietly be present and feel the swelling and tingling warmth of pure, true love.” – Tracey

“I feel very CALM:) loved the experience want more!” – anonymous

“I felt calmed, peaceful, other worldly. I’m a political person and so my interests are for coming to a point, doing things for purpose etc. But I actually enjoyed that this experience wasn’t that and it was a pleasurable relief.” – Keith

Event Photos from the Riverside Park Sound Garden

photos by Tamar Serin, Sarah Musgrave, Keith Christiansen, Jeffrey Skemp

“Behind The Scenes” short documentary about the Fall Sound Garden at Riverside Park in 2020, with interviews with participating artists, most of whom were also performers and collaborating artists at the larger Riverside Park Sound Garden event in May 2022.

MAP of Riverside Park Sound Garden site

Composer JG Everest is a fiscal year 2022 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity was made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.