Felicia Young is a social action artist, theatrical pageant director, and the Founder/Executive Director of Earth Celebrations, a non-profit organization engaging communities to effect ecological and social change through the arts. Felicia has developed a successful methodology utilizing the arts and the theatrical pageant art form, along with civic engagement and activism. She has initiated broad-base citywide coalitions and collaborative partnerships bringing together organizations, academic and cultural institutions, municipalities, government officials, schools, community centers, neighborhood associations, artists and local residents to work together on common goals, mobilize action, develop solutions and impact change.
Seeking an art-form that could engage diverse communities as well as address and impact on issues for positive change, Felicia was inspired by theatrical pageants (processions with site-specific performances) enacted in her mother’s native land of India, civic pageants popular in early 20th century America, and political pageants of the French Revolution. Theatrical pageants as a public art-form, utilize the inspirational power of the arts including sculpture, painting, music, dance, theater, poetry, and ceremony, to inspire and engage people to work together creatively towards a common goal.
Her social action art projects for over 25 years include a 15 year grass-roots effort and annual theatrical pageant which led to the preservation of hundreds of community gardens in New York City, an annual ecological art project and pageant to engage community in the restoration efforts of the Hudson River. Her latest project launched in January 2014 applies these creative strategies to a global context, mobilizing the community in the city of Madurai, South India through a social action art project and international collaborative effort to restore the Vaigai River that is in a severe crisis due to pollution, waste dumping, and the drying effects of climate change.
She has also developed an ecological and social action art course/project for Princeton University, “Art, Ecology, and Community: A Lake Carnegie Pageant” to engage students, community residents, youth, and local organizations through social practice art and methods of creative community engagement to collaborate on an ecological social action performance and art project to highlight and positively impact Lake Carnegie and the watershed. The Course/Project developed for Princeton Atelier Program of the Lewis Center for the Arts, includes collaborating Partners: The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), The Arts Council of Princeton and The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.
For more than 25 years, Felicia Young has created and produced ecological and social action art projects for numerous organizations including: The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, arts >World Financial Center, Alternative Museum, World Trade Center/Post Authority of NY/NJ, St. John the Divine, Independent Friends of McCarren Park, New Wilderness Foundation, and Earth Day New York, among many others.
Felicia Young is also the Founder of the first Ecofest event for the New York City Parks Department (1989) and the Trash Monster (1990-1995), Earth Day New York, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The World Trade Center, and Port Authority of New York/NJ.
As a native 3rd generation New Yorker, she has deep roots in the City of New York, as well as much inspiration from the festivals, ceremonies, and mythic dramas from her mother’s native land of India.
Felicia Young has a BA in Art History from Skidmore College and a MA degree in Performance Studies from New York University. Learn more about Felicia at: http://feliciayoung.info/.
“Right here in New York City where we may often feel disconnected from the natural world, we are also part of a unique ecosystem, one where we must curb our production of waste, pollution, environmental destruction, as well as restore the ecological balance in our city. Art does not only have to reflect life, but can effect it too, by inspiring people’s imagination and bringing them together to address crucial issues. Earth Celebrations programs engage the community to celebrate the natural world, cultivate culturally diverse arts and traditions, document and perform local history, and revive the arts at the center of community life!”