Blog post - September image

The STREB Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) is expanding its unique programming offsite, creating “Pop Up” SLAM adaptable action zones which can occupy a myriad of public spaces including parks, vacant lots and parking lots.  This project will also incorporate the design by Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta of a new façade for STREB’s Brooklyn studio.

Between the time of our last blog post and now, STREB has…

• Completed our first PopUp SLAM at McCarren Park in partnership with the Brooklyn Open Space Alliance (OSA)
• Celebrated our last Summer Camp “SLAM Show”: STREB Olympics 2012
• Invited the community into SLAM on September 8 for Family Day
• Signed consultant letters of agreement for the SLAM façade renovation
• Opened enrollment for the fall semester of STREB’s PopAction School and Espana/STREB Trapeze Academy

Over 200 children and adults attended the four weeks of PopUp SLAM which was promoted through both planned and spontaneous actions – eblasts, cross-promotion with local businesses, website listings , word of mouth through friends, neighborhood groups and City Councilmember Stephen Levin.

From this experience, we gained valuable insights into:

• how environment encourages participation
• what animates group dynamics
• how location informs experience
• how public curiosity fosters gathering
• how methods and channels of communication promote participation
• how participation promotes vibrancy
• how corridors of exchange between places are created

Specific information gathered to help assess effectiveness and plan future activity included -

How many attended more than one class? 39%

How many had been to SLAM before? 21%
How many were new to STREB and PopAction? 79%

How many came because they just happened upon PopUp SLAM? 27%
How many heard about it in advance? 73%

How many of the attendees regularly frequent McCarren? 68%
- for sports
- use of the pool
- use of the playground
- sitting on the lawn
- meeting with friends
- special events – concerts, film screenings etc.

Through anecdotal evidence, we learned that those introduced to PopUp SLAM at McCarren Park –

• were introduced to the vibrancy that action can bring
• felt as though their community had a deeper identity
• felt as though their community had more to offer
• were compelled to share their communities offerings with others
• learned something new including what SLAM has to offer as a community resource

As hoped, many who participated in PopUp SLAM and had never been to SLAM before attended Family Day on September 8th. Participants of all ages had a chance to swing on our trapeze, jump on our trampoline, balance on our low wire, spin on hanging hoops, try out PopAction, eat popcorn and cotton candy while meeting and working with STREB company members and each other learning that, in the words of one participant –

“…it’s a cool and unique space and not just because of Elizabeth and the company but also because of the values of the institution – excitement and daring, seriousness and straightforwardness (and still fun) and the welcoming and inclusive nature that is built into everything you do.”

We’re looking forward to seeing these people again in our classes, in our audience, in our neighborhood parks, on our streets and businesses and as part of our ongoing conversations about art and community.

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