Artist Crosses Pine, Makes a South End Statement | Live Culture

Artist Crosses Pine, Makes a South End Statement


Kate Donnelly's rack of ponchos - COURTESY OF KATE DONNELLY
  • Courtesy of Kate Donnelly
  • Kate Donnelly's rack of ponchos
That woman you may have seen crisscrossing Burlington's Pine Street today — or will over the next six days — with a garment rack is not homeless or mentally unstable. The plastic ponchos she's wearing are not a fashion statement, or even a fruitless protest against the seemingly endless rain.

No, Kate Donnelly, known for some previous public performance pieces in arresting costumes, is doing it for South End consciousness. She's wending her way down Pine, between Maple Street and Flynn Avenue and back again, for two hours each day, Monday through Saturday.

"Crossing Pine" is timed to correspond with this week's unveiling of planBTV: South End — a document that summarizes feedback about development, housing, traffic and a variety of other issues, compiled over a months-long series of community discussions. The process has generated vociferous reactions, from concern to animosity, in the arts district. A draft plan will be presented at ArtsRiot on Tuesday, 5-7 p.m., and Wednesday, 7:30-9 a.m.

Meantime, walking on Pine, Donnelly will stop at each crosswalk, don one of her decorated, transparent ponchos, then continue on her way. "By the time I go up and back, I will have crossed the street 18 times and will be wearing 18 ponchos," she explains in an email.

The Burlington artist has employed the simple, everyday act of walking before (check out the video on her blog). She describes this, and her current performance, on her website:

In my last walking performance I explored personal transition from the small, everyday rituals such as going from home to work, to more transformative changes we experience, intentional or not. "Crossing Pine" focuses on the transition of the group or community and on the role the artist plays (intentionally or not) in shaping the character and ethos of a community. What is obscured, revealed or made transitory when a neighborhood undergoes redevelopment or gentrification? What is seen, felt, protected, or left vulnerable? What new framework, patterns and expressions emerge? 

Today, June 15, Donnelly's walking schedule is 7 to 9 a.m. Tomorrow she'll be crossing Pine from 9 to 11 a.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursday, 1 to 3 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m. (See a pattern there?)

"Crossing Pine" was funded by a grant from the City of Burlington Department of Planning & Zoning and Burlington City Arts, as part of planBTV: South End.

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