Dear Harbor Radio Project 

By Arts & Entertainment Editor Sawyer Pollitt & Staff Writer Maddie Kenn

The desire to have one’s thoughts and opinions heard by the public is a distinctly human feeling. Dear Harbor Radio, “a nomadic bike-powered love letter writing and recording studio”, can offer anyone with the creativity and the ambition the chance to make their voice heard around the world. This artistic work is making an appearance in New Bedford throughout the month of November, 2019.

Dear Harbor Island gives anyone a chance to “Write a letter to your beloved nonhuman creature, object, natural element, [or] place.” Those who have already submitted content to the project have expressed their emotions about animals, objects, places, and even beloved possessions.

The process for entering a piece of writing is multi-staged. First, one has to submit a written letter, a song, or an observation to the group. Then once it has been received, the writer will be called and asked to make a voice recording of the work. Finally, the recording itself will be added to the growing radio broadcast for anyone to listen to.

There is already an extensive roster of artists and other creatives involved with Dear Harbor Radio. Jane D. Marsching and Andi Sutton who are spearheading the project, are the members of creative collective “Plotform”. This artistic collective has a mission statement where they “activate the interconnectedness of riparian species by scrambling strategies from ecological design, craftivism, communication engagement, tactical urbanism, interspecies communication, micronations, and empathetic making.”

 

There are a number of UMass faculty who are major contributors to the Dear Harbor Radio project. Dr. Rebecca Uchill (UMass Dartmouth, art history, art education, and media studies), took on a curatorial role in this project. Kristen Swenson, an associate professor and Art History coordinator at Umass Lowell, and Sam Toabe, gallery director at Umass Boston, both took on the task of coordinating the Dear Harbor Radio.

Many involved in the construction of this work state that their goal “is to use the love letter format to build a vocabulary of care and mutual connection that describes the ecological relationship repair work that is already happening in the New Bedford community, as well as seed, support, and nourish new repair and resilience actions”.

Uchill states that “there are public talks and events specific to each campus, course offerings and a scholarly online publication. It’s so much more than a gallery show”.

The project is commissioned by the visiting artists program of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UMass Dartmouth. You can partake in the exhibit at various locations. The gallery opened at UMass Boston on September 26th, 2019 and will be located at UMass Dartmouth on November 14th, 2019. The exhibit will also be travelling to UMass Lowell beginning on January 21st in the year of 2020.

This project is particularly unique in that it travels. Beginning in front of the New Bedford Whaling Museum on June 29, it continued on to a station outside of the CVPA Star Store Campus on July 11. After these stops, the project moved to the Allen’s Duck Pond Derby on August 11. Dear Harbor Radio’s most recent stop was at the UMass Boston, University Hall Gallery on September 16.

There is still time to catch Dear Harbor Radio as they have more events planned, however as of now no dates have been announced.

Tune in to the radio broadcast on Soundcloud to hear works such as “Dear Rainforest” by Sally, “A letter to my garden” by Lee Heald, “Dear Air” by Sue, and much more! If you’re interested in contributing, email janemarsching@gmail.com to seek more information or to show your interest in the project!

 

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