The Humanities Truck was at Celebrate Petworth 2022,  a neighborhood festival organized by and for the residents of Petworth to celebrate the neighborhood’s diversity, culture, and people. 

Parked on the corner of 8th and Upshur St, the truck brought along a blank canvas for the community to use, creating their own communal masterpiece that explores how people express themselves creatively and how people experience art in community with each other. 

The Truck started off with blank butcher paper covering one side, providing space for people to create their own communal masterpiece. They were encouraged both to write and draw on the paper itself; submit photos of themselves, their art, or art of others; or to draw and write on prompted cards set up beside the truck and tape that art to the butcher paper. Other than the short prompts on the cards, there was no real prompt for what should be added,  people were simply encouraged to contribute whatever they wanted. The result was what we called The People’s Masterpiece, made up of random drawings, drawings of important places, pictures of people, families, art, and artists, shoutouts to DC spaces and organizations, and messages of love for the neighborhood and the people in it.

Check out below to see the final panels as they looked at the end of the day!

As part of the prompt for engagement, we had people draw directly on the butcher paper with the knowledge that their drawings are the base layer of the piece and may be covered by art from other folks on the cards. These drawings helped map themes and inspire others to engage with the masterpiece. 

We prompted participants to reflect on creative expressions of self, by others, and with others. When reflecting on creative expressions of self, we asked people to consider how they express themselves through any kind of art, from tattoos to poems, self-portraits to random drawings that came to mind. 

When reflecting on creative expressions with others,  we asked people to consider how they expression themselves with others in their lives; from groups of friends and families to more formal groups and organizations. We asked people to reflect on what communities people make art with and how they might reflect that. 

When reflecting on creative expressions by others, we asked people to consider whose art, or even just general existence,  inspires people in general and to  in making their own art. 

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