Poet Chris King on platform designed by Douglis Beck. Image courtesy of the artists and Mike Venso/Laumeier Sculpture Park.


Poetry in Place: The Platforms

Featuring St. Louis-based poets Julie Dill, Chris King, Christopher Parr, Stefene Russell and Buzz Spector and local artists—Axi:Ome (Sung Ho Kim and Heather Woofter), Douglis Beck, Sarrita Hunn, Noah Kirby, Daniel McGrath and B.J. Vogt

September 30 to October 16, 2011 with organized readings on Saturday, October 1 and Saturday, October 8, 1 PM
Laumeier Sculpture Park
American Arts Experience Event

In conjunction with the 2011 American Arts Experience, Laumeier Sculpture Park will present a series of poetry and sculptural happenings throughout the Park. From September 30 to October 16, Laumeier Sculpture Park will provide a series of commissioned platforms created by six local artists—Axi:Ome (Sung Ho Kim and Heather Woofter), Douglis Beck, Sarrita Hunn, Noah Kirby, Daniel McGrath and B.J. Vogt—for use by the public and poets as forums for public expression. For seventeen days, these artist-created soapboxes will offer an engaging venue for art and discourse in a public park setting.

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 1 and Saturday, October 8, St. Louis-based poets Julie Dill, Chris King, Christopher Parr, Stefene Russell and Buzz Spector will engage Park visitors in a dialogue about the issues of today. The poets will recite their works atop the six platforms and will encourage those in the audience and other visitors to do the same throughout the installation allowing for a diversity of perspectives and creative content to be aired.

Poetry in Place: The Platforms hopes to extend one of Laumeier Sculpture Park’s broader cultural missions as a ‘platform’ for launching new concepts, themes and ideas,” said Dana Turkovic, the event curator and Laumeier’s Curator of Exhibitions. “Anyone who has a poem to share, an opinion to air, or would like to simply listen can gather and carry on an oral tradition that is vanishing within our current culture of email, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.”

Free speech in places as diverse as London’s Hyde Park to Cairo’s Tahrir Square has played an important role in creating a democratic society. From union workers in the Midwest to revolutionaries in the Middle East, citizens are seizing the power of the pulpit and the opportunity to be heard. Speakers Corner’s around the globe draw ranters, ravers, activists, agitators and artists. The Platforms at Laumeier offer a similar space to engage in public dialogue, while referring directly to the presence of other monumental sculpture permanently installed in the Park.  At Laumeier, visitors will have the power to shout it out loud, to step up and exercise their rights by engaging in the original social media forum— public speech.

During the October 1 and 8 events, docents will be available in the Park to assist other speakers and Park visitors who choose to offer their own poetry, prose or express their opinions on the themes of the day.

American Arts Experience         From September 30 through October 16, 2011, the American Arts Experience – St. Louis will fill concert halls, museums, theaters, and universities in the St. Louis area with American music, theater, dance and the visual arts. 
Visit www.AmericanArtsSTL.org for more information.