Sifting the Inner Belt was a year-long community development and public art project, consisted of a series of interventions and action-based research projects, which closely observed and created an understanding of Boston’s South End neighborhood. We successfully created emotional, conceptual and physical bridges between two well-respected neighborhood institutions that had previously been isolated from one another: the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and the Berkeley Street Community Garden (BSCG).
This project invented new and authentic forms of audience participation, communication and political intention, and was constructed through a generative process involving dialogue and community engagement through specific efforts, including research and interactive performance art.
This project allowed us to develop multi-angled-and creative research methods in collaboration with individuals with a range of expertise.
“Inner Belt” refers to the ill-conceived and never completed highway project from 1948-1971 that would have created an inner beltway highway around downtown Boston and between the South End and Lower Roxbury. In the process of the failed project, hundreds of homes were destroyed and many families displaced. Yet, because the project was stopped, over one hundred gardens have sprung up. The foundations of these homes, the spirit of these families, and the legacy of the impact remain today.