Artist Stephanie Benenson’s Harbor Voices Public Art creates immersive family-friendly sound and light experience: May 6 & 7
For 40 years, Wellspring has supported hundreds of families from all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life achieve employment and financial security through stable housing, education, job training and career readiness. To mark its four-decade anniversary, the Cape Ann-based nonprofit organization is hosting “Voices of Belonging: Immigration Stories in Light & Sound” to bring the stories and sentiments of immigrant families alive with music, spoken word, and laser lighting for a captivating, participatory immersive experience.
Inspired by collective storytelling and powerful personal histories, Stephanie Terelak Benenson, a sound, light, and social impact artist, founded Harbor Voices Public Art Art in 2017. Her laser and sound installations feature more than 100 global stories of recent and ancestral immigrants to Cape Ann, ages 6 to 86, as choreographed lasers immerse you in a multilingual sound & light public art experience.
The works celebrate empathy, cultural identity, diversity, inclusivity, and resilience from the past to the present. The stories and experience then become a vehicle for social change. Her installations have been shared in Lynn, Worcester, Boston, Gloucester, Salem, and New York City.
The SAWYER FREE LIBRARYand WELLSPRING HOUSE are pleased to announce the launch of GLOUCESTER CONNECTION. This innovative multi-lingual website (gloucesterconnection.org) connects the greater community to Gloucester’s vast social services for education, health care, housing, and much more. The new free-to-use web platform is an easy-to-navigate centralized online directory and calendar that consolidates information from local organizations, services, and events for residents, visitors, and service providers, prioritizing accessibility by making it available in over 100 world languages.
Recognizing the need to streamline access to critical local resources, the Sawyer Free Library and Wellspring House, with contributions from Action Inc., Gloucester Housing Authority and Gloucester Public Schools, came together to align their efforts —and created the Gloucester Connection. Social Capital, Inc. was hired to develop the site.
The group identified and enlisted over fifty Cape Ann social service organizations, both public and private, to participate, organizing their information into six categories: Basic Needs, Youth Education and Programs, Adult Education and Job Training, Housing, Transportation, and Health and Wellness. The Gloucester Connection resource partners collectively provide access to a wide variety of direct services from how to register kids for public school, sign up for MassHealth, find information and applications for housing, and information about Cape Ann transportation, where to find English classes, and more.
Through Gloucester Connection, users can directly contact the resource for assistance. Participating organizations can also access similar information and look up individual organizations’ pages to determine their services and update their own offerings, programs, and events. Lastly, the website features a community calendar where all Gloucester Connects’ resource partners can share events, programs, and new initiatives with the public.
“Every day, at the Sawyer Free Library, we aim to improve the lives of people in our community with the power of information. Gloucester Connection is a direct expansion of our core mission,” said LibraryDirector Jenny Benedict. “There is a wide range of social services available throughout Cape Ann, but trying to find what exactly you are looking for can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to Gloucester or English is not your primary language. With Gloucester Connection, we hope to change this with a welcoming platform that easily connects people to the resources and social services they need in a language they understand. From legal services, shelters, school and library services to mental health resources and more listed on the site, each organization acts as a lifeline for those in need on Cape Ann. We are proud to be a part of and sponsor such an important collaboration that directly supports our community.”
“We want community members to have easy access to the resources and services they need, whether they have just arrived or have lifelong family ties in Gloucester,” said Melissa Dimond, President and CEO of Wellspring House. “Gloucester Connection helps people get clear and current information for any number of life circumstances. For example, we see firsthand at Wellspring House the manychallenges immigrants face as they adapt and get acclimated in their new community. Our collective hope is that the Gloucester Connection will help make this transition easier. It is part of what it means to be a welcoming community.”
Cape Ann based non-profit organizations or resource-focused agencies are invited to join Gloucester Connection to help strengthen the resource network for Gloucester residents. Those interested in registering with the platform may contact Sawyer Free Library Community Librarian Julie Travers, email@example.com.
Gloucester Connection is sponsored by Sawyer Free Library with key support from Wellspring House. To access services or to learn more, visit www.GloucesterConnection.org.