How One Performance Artist in Florida Is Bringing Together a Wounded Community With a Little Help From Michael Bloomberg

Members of the public are invited to join the public performance.

Kate Gilmore, Walk the Walk (2010). Photo by Amy C. Elliot, courtesy of Public Art Fund.
Kate Gilmore, Walk the Walk (2010). Photo by Amy C. Elliot, courtesy of Public Art Fund.

As the communities of Coral Springs and Parkland, Florida, continue to heal in the wake of the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, during which 17 people were killed, artist Kate Gilmore is staging a 26-hour participatory performance piece, the third in a series of five public projects in Florida sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

For Gilmore’s work, The Yellow Walk, paid performers from the local communities have been enlisted to continuously walk up and down an 800-foot-long yellow carpet installed in Coral Springs. Members of the public are invited to join in, with the performers slowing down or speeding up to match their pace, creating a sense of companionship as strangers walk together.

The piece is somewhat reminiscent of Gilmore’s 2010 Public Art Fund project, Walk the Walk, which saw performers walking for hours on a raised yellow platform in Bryant Park.

Bloomberg’s Parkland and Coral Springs initiative was announced in November 2018. The Michael Bloomberg-run charity awarded the two cities a $1 million grant as part of its annual Public Art Challenge, which has funded projects in cities around the country since 2014.

Kate Gilmore, <em>The Yellow Walk</em> (rendering). Image courtesy of the artist.

Kate Gilmore, The Yellow Walk (rendering). Image courtesy of the artist.

The program, titled “The Power of Art,” is also funding projects by Carl Juste, Steven and William Ladd, David Best, and R&R Studios (overseen by artists Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar). Each work is part of the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s art therapy program. To mark the one-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, Best erected and ceremonially burned one of his ornate wooden temples, a staple of Nevada’s annual Burning Man gathering.

This week’s performance kicks off at 2 p.m. on Friday, and concludes on Sunday afternoon. The first 1,000 attendees will take home a t-shirt designed by Gilmore and created with assistance from local community members.

Kate Gilmore, Walk the Walk (2010). Photo by Amy C. Elliot, courtesy of Public Art Fund.

Kate Gilmore, Walk the Walk (2010). Photo by Amy C. Elliot, courtesy of Public Art Fund.

Gilmore is the recipient of the Anonymous Was Woman Award, the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, and the Art Prize Jury Award.

“Kate Gilmore: The Yellow Walk” is on view at the Coral Springs Art Walk, NW 31st Court, Coral Springs, Florida, November 8–10, 2019. 

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