a competition in disconnect
when i recently heard about moma ps1’s ‘call for ideas’ juried competition, i was initially very excited — i thought maybe i had an idea that could help the recovery, but when i sat down to put pencil to paper, and stared at the blank canvas, i froze.
although i’ve spent a fair amount of time both working directly with rockaway residents, and raising capital for local redevelopment projects, it was clear to me that my ideas were just that; namely, my ideas. i knew at that moment that not only couldn’t i participate in this design competition, but i needed to ask the residents what they felt about it, and the needs of their community moving forward.
the rockaways are not a blank canvas, or an artist’s playground. many of the people have lived there their entire lives, and plan to stay — to take part in the healing of the community. the people are resilient. smart. each working hard to get their lives back on track, with open arms to any and all outsiders wishing to support with good intention.
as ethical citizens, we know we must react quickly when we see our neighbors in need of help; however, we must also act genuine and in a way that’s valuable. our support methods should match the needs of the rockaways. the only way to accomplish that, is to ask first.