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The Art of Civic Engagement in Port Chester

Ceramic artist Teddy Poneman, an artist-in-residence at Clay Art Center, is using his Bowling Together project to incentivize people to participate in civic engagement. Through this project, which was supported by one of ArtsWestchester’s Arts Alive grants, the artist is asking for people to complete four or more hours of volunteer work in Port Chester in exchange for a handmade bowl with a decal of one of the City’s landmarks. Approximately 200 bowls have been made, equating to at least 800 hours of volunteerism. On July 15, Bowling Together participants will attend an event at Clay Art Center at which they can pick up their bowls and see works on display, as well as meet and hear one another’s stories, during an open-to-the-public event. Explains Poneman: “It’s special when we can find common ground … this helps us to meet people with different stories and to expand our notions of community… When we disagree, we might have a more nuanced and humanized understanding of ‘the other side.’” The artist has sponsored community volunteer projects once a month since March, leading participants of all ages and backgrounds in clean-up projects. The artist will be accepting volunteers throughout July, until he runs out of bowls. Any remaining bowls will be sold for $20 each with proceeds being donated to Port Chester organizations. For more info, visit: bowlingtogether.org.

Photo caption: Ceramic bowl by Teddy Poneman (photo courtesy of the artist)

A version of this article first appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews