Little Amal Walks NYC and Porch Plays Festival at Snug Harbor Launch a Weekend of Community by Celebrating Voices of the Marginalized

September 29, 2022 | Staten Island, NY – A larger-than-life-size puppet representing the struggles of refugees and immigrants is paired with a festival of original performances that center the work of diverse, socially engaged audiences for an exciting weekend of arts and culture at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden at 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301 from September 30 – October 1. Both events explore themes of migration, change, and resilience, and are co-curated by Lina Montoya of La Isla Bonita Festival and Shawnakay Salmon and Melissa West of Snug Harbor.

“We’re proud to host Amal’s incredible international journey on Snug Harbor’s historic campus—a perfect way to showcase the depth of arts and culture on Staten Island with the Porch Plays Festival,” said Jessica Vodoor, President & CEO of Snug Harbor. “Snug Harbor is grateful for the partnership of St Ann’s Warehouse, The Walk, and La Isla Bonita Festival on these exciting community events, as well as the longstanding the support of Con Edison’s Arts al Fresco initiative for Porch Plays.”

“Con Edison’ Arts Al Fresco is pleased to continue to support Snug Harbor’s work,” said Jen Hensley, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Con Edison. “This weekend’s events are sure to inspire New Yorkers, young and old.”

Little Amal Walks NYC: “Little butterfly, don’t be afraid”

A little girl on a BIG journey, Little Amal is the giant puppet of a 10 year old Syrian refugee girl at the heart of The Walk. Since July 2021, she has travelled over 9,000km across 12 countries representing all children fleeing war, violence and persecution and each with their own story. Little Amal’s urgent message to the world is “Don’t forget about us.”  She has become an international symbol of compassion and of human rights. She carries a message of hope for displaced people everywhere, especially children who have been separated from their families. Little Amal Walks NYC is a co-production between The Walk Productions and St. Ann’s Warehouse in association with Handspring Puppet Company.  Between September 14 – October 2, Amal will be welcomed at 55 events across the five boroughs of New York City.

On September 30, Little Amal finds herself surrounded by a huge cloud of butterflies that lead her through Snug Harbor, where she is welcomed with a collaborative parade made up of the Staten Island community.  Beginning at 5:00 PM, guests can take part in butterfly-themed crafts. Amal arrives at 6:00 PM, and will lead visitors on a walk across Snug Harbor’s 83-acre campus.

Porch Plays Festival

The Porch Plays Festival on October 1 from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM is a free outdoor showcase of original work by socially engaged and diverse artists working in theater, dance, music, and storytelling on the porches of Snug Harbor’s historic Cottage Row. This festival centers the work of artists from historically marginalized communities, including local and emerging artists and grassroots community groups.

This year’s third annual festival explores the complex and layered notion of migration. Migration is defined as the process of movement from one country, place, locality or geography to another. Many species of animals, including humans, migrate as an act of survival in response to changing environments and other conditions. The act of relocation can be temporary and recurring—such as the annual migration of Monarch butterfly—or it can be permanent. There are many cultural, social, environmental factors that shape the experience of a community impacted by migration.

Through performances and art activations, Porch Plays artists will investigate these ideas, utilizing the symbol of the butterfly, to inspire new works in theater, dance, music, and spoken word that activate the porch as a space for contemplation, celebration, and civic dialogue.

Porch Plays performers include the Women’s Playwright Collective of Staten Island, James Scruggs, Sparrow, Staten Island Urban Center, Mayah Burke, The (G)eneration Project: Immigrants are Us, and more.

Porch Plays Festival vendors include: Intuitive Insight, Michelle Swiney Hair, TrippinOutfitters, Captain Dude’s Emporium, SidePony Jewelry, Hart Candles, Zence, and The G(eneration) Project: Immigrants Are Us.

Little Amal Walks NYC: “Little Butterfly, don’t be afraid” is made possible in part with the generous support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation. The Noble Maritime Collection is an event partner. Porch Plays is made possible with the generous support of Con Edison’s Arts al Fresco initiative and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation.

About Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is one destination with unlimited experiences. We offer dynamic programming in the arts, horticulture and agriculture for diverse communities and all ages, on our historic 83-acre campus. We envision being a locally impactful, globally renowned destination, true to our values of artistic vibrancy and community, inclusion and discovery, stewardship and conservation.

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