As We Say Good-bye To Our Public Art Intern We Invite Lily Pook-Ryan To Reflect On Her Time With Us!
In mid-May, I began the ‘Public Art Internship’ with the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation. The role was to assist with the planning, installation, and execution of Word Play Way in Douglas Park, North Lawndale in collaboration with the Chicago Poetry Center. During my time as the ‘Public Art Intern’, I was welcomed as a member of the David L. Hoyt and the Chicago Poetry Center Team. My superiors actively involved me throughout the entire planning process, and genuinely sought my thoughts and feedback during the preparation of the project. The expectation to contribute as a member of the group was a warmly appreciated challenge. Far exceeding my expectations of what an Internship would look like!
The experience has taught me the importance of community and inclusion, first and foremost. Building rapport with members of the North Lawndale community, as well as its neighborhoods' organizations, with partners at the Chicago Literacy Alliance, the staff at the Chicago Poetry Center and, of course, with the David Hoyt Foundation has been incredibly rewarding. The opportunity to work within these relationships has widened my perspective and understanding of the socio-political environment within Chicago. Giving me the tools to navigate this with humility and awareness.
Now, I have a rich knowledge of the inner-workings of non-profits within Chicago, and how to establish connections with like-minded community organizations. With the guidance of my Executive Directors, I was free to open-up discussion with figureheads, and groups to form ways to collaborate with the Word Play Way Project in North Lawndale.
Lily Pook-Ryan and Barbara Stewart at the Word Play Way Kick-Off Event, Douglas Park 2018. Photo by John Booze of the Acting Up Award Foundation.
This experience has helped me to better understand how to implement a community-minded public art project such as Word Play Way. Particularly, it has equipped me with the skills to bridge the gap between community members and public art in a mindful and collaborative manner.
The 'Public Art Internship' has allowed me to immerse myself in new cultural, practical and professional experiences while coordinating professional expectations alongside my own changing understanding of my role in the community I was working with, and the project as a whole. I’d like to thank my Superiors Claire Hassl and Ashley Elsmo of the David L. Hoyt Foundation and Natasha Mijares and Beth Sampson of the Poetry Center for their leadership. As well as all the incredible people of North Lawndale who welcomed me into their community and lives. You will all be sorely missed! - Lily Pook-Ryan
The David L. Hoyt Team and Volunteers at the Word Play Way Kick-Off Event, Douglas Park 2018. Photo by John Booze of the Acting Up Award Foundation.