The People’s Potlucks from MAPP International Productions a program based on Sekou Sundiata‘s The America Project, is an artist-led events that explore– through creative expression, personal stories, honest dialogue and a shared meal-issues of importance to engaged, critical citizenship. Bringing together people from all walks of life in small, intimate settings for thoughtful reflection, deep listening, and the possibility of finding common purpose across difference, the Potlucks offer an alternative to political discussion focused on policy change or the latest issue of the day and instead aim to unleash fresh thinking, spark ideas and imagine new ways to see and act interdependently.
Each event is led by an artist whose own work is deeply embedded in community. The artist provides common texts for reflection prior to the gathering and shares his or her artistic practice with the Potluck participants to create a collective experience from which dialogue can grow. Individuals or organizations may host a dinner in a private home or intimate community space. Hosts are asked to invite a group of participants, reflecting diverse backgrounds, viewpoints and beliefs. Throughout a series of dinners, or as a culminating moment, special events are created to celebrate and bring together groups of Potluck participants as a way of bringing the intimate experiences of each event into a larger, public context.
The 2011 People’s Potluck series took inspiration from the global Interdependence Movement and explored the idea of living as citizens of conscience in an interconnected, global society. 22 dinners, held in all five boroughs of New York City from June to September 2011, took place in the months preceding the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2011. Looking forward into an increasingly interconnected and interdependent future, the Potlucks encouraged New Yorkers to actively engage with our communities, demonstrating how shared imagining is important to a common civic consciousness.
Artist Leaders for the 2011 People’s Potlucks included: Cecilia Rubino, Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, Leila Buck, Michael Premo, Rebecca Armstrong, Tattfoo Tan, Elizabeth Streb, Mildred Ruiz & Steven Sapp, Patricia McGregor & Paloma McGregor, Talvin Wilks and Samita Sinha. The series culminated in a special WeDaPeoples Cabaret on September 15, 2011 presented by MAPP in collaboration with Harlem Stage.