The Esek Hopkins House on Admiral Street is undergoing a reimagining. Thanks to an artist-in-residency program created by the Providence Parks Department and the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the Haus of Glitter PVD is well into the second year of their historical intervention at this City-owned historic property.
The Haus of Glitter explains their mission:
The Haus of Glitter Dance Company + Performance Lab is living in + healing with + reimagining the former Esek Hopkins Homestead (built in 1756) + Park. We are transforming the space to create work that investigates lineage; and restores the energetic center of its layered history towards Queer/Feminist BIPoC Wisdom, Healing, & Liberation. Everything we create here is a protest-demonstration against the system that tells us that Esek Hopkins’ home, a symbol of his legacy of white supremacy, is worth preserving.
Commodore Esek Hopkins was the first commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy during the American Revolution, but his name will forever be linked to the slave trade and the sickening voyage of the slave ship Sally, a merchant ship owned by Providence’s Brown brothers.
Of the 196 Africans acquired by the ship’s master, Esek Hopkins, at least 109 perished, some in a failed insurrection, others by suicide, starvation, and disease.
The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) has included the homestead on its Most Endangered Properties List for a number of years, but the property had been left to the city for use as a public park which complicated preservation efforts. (We wrote it up in 2015.)
So big ups to the Providence Parks Department and the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism for some creative thinking on this one and bringing the Glitter Goddess Collective on board. To cap off their residency, they have created The Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins, an activist dance opera about mermaids, revolution, and resilience; the production is scheduled for September.
We will check that out, but meanwhile the Glitter Goddess Collective has hooked up with AS220 who are using the sweeping lawn for many of its classes. (Go here for the AS220 calendar and to register for a class.) For instance, today it will be Afro/Dancehall Fusion Dance, Tuesday it’s Intermediate Ballet, and Thursday it will be Traditional West African Dance taught by Assi Coulibaly, which leads me to this photograph.
I stopped by the other day and met some of the crew who were kind enough to show me around. That is Assi on the right sitting with her father, Seydou Coulibaly of Mali, with Anthony (AM.) Andrade on drums.
Below is Matt Garza who helped me understand all the moving parts of the organization. The property is huge with several mature oaks; it’s a beautiful spot.
Haus of Glitter, Hopkins Park, 97 Admiral Street, (directions)