“For the most part, people who live in Greenwich really appreciate what they have.”
Karen Frederick, Curator and Exhibitions Coordinator for the Greenwich Historical Society, voiced this sentiment when reflecting on the Society’s Greenwich Voices exhibition. Greenwich Voices, which will run from April 22nd to August 30th, is defined on the Greenwich Historical Society’s website as “an audio time capsule of life in Greenwich in 2015.”
Specifically, Ms. Frederick explained, the exhibition was created by celebrated artists Karina Skvirsky and Liselot van der Heijden. Ms. Frederick stated, “[the artists] went all over Greenwich, interviewed over 100 people, and took those tapes and edited them down.”
During the interviews, residents responded to questions that sought to evoke a nuanced picture of life in the Greenwich community. These included queries such as, “What single word best describes Greenwich?”, “What would you change about Greenwich?”, and “What is most important to you?”. Within the Greenwich Voices exhibition, visitors may sit at various stations, put on a set of headphones, and listen to the responses provided for specific questions.
Ms. Frederick explained that one of her favorite parts of the exhibition was its intimate atmosphere. “What I like about the way [the artists] set it up . . . is that I feel like I’m in Bryant Park in New York City, and I’ve sat down at one of the little tables in the park, and I’m just overhearing a conversation at the next table.”
Ms. Frederick noted that Greenwich Voices is an especially important commemoration of this anniversary, as it allows visitors to understand the vibrant, diverse set of opinions residents hold regarding the community. “If people think about what their answer would be before they actually picked up [a set of headphones] and listened to what other people’s answers are . . . then they can compare what their answer would be to people who had agreed to do the interview.”
The Greenwich residents’ testimonials will help to celebrate not only the town’s 375th anniversary, but also its 400th. All responses will be saved in the Greenwich Historical Society Library and Archives, and shall serve as a gift to community members in 2040.
Visitors to the exhibition in coming days will notice that they have the opportunity to experience far more than the recordings themselves.
Ms. Frederick remarked that, “One of the things most people say about Greenwich is that there are policemen on the Avenue, so I contacted the police department and . . . [the artists filmed] one of the policemen on the Avenue.” She also noted that, “[the artists] took a video of Tod’s Point, so when you sit in that part of the exhibit, you can see [the waves] moving.”
Ms. Frederick additionally explained that the walls of the exhibition are adorned with images of Greenwich’s past chosen by the artists.
Throughout the process of creating the exhibition, Ms. Frederick emphasized, the intense loyalty many Greenwich residents feel for the town became clear. “I think [people in Greenwich] really do love their town . . . I don’t know whether everybody . . . has the same intense feeling about [their hometown] that I get from people who grew up in Greenwich.”
To learn more, like the Greenwich Historical Society on Facebook, follow the Society on Twitter, or find specific visitor information on its official website. Visitors may access the Greenwich Voices exhibition at Storehouse Gallery on Wednesday-Sunday, between 12-4 pm, until August 30th.