Joyous Exploratorium is a traveling community resource center in a 23 ft long delivery truck bringing oral history, storytelling, the arts and tools of community resilience and repair to rural regions in and around Piscataquis County, Maine. This project offers a flexible and open space designed for communities to explore, make and discuss the human experience and impact on each-other and the environment. Multigenerational connection through inquiry, listening and making are the basic tenets. Joyous Exploratorium threads community resilience by weaving from house to house, neighboring towns, then returning to anchor institutions to debut culminating exhibits and documentaries of collected stories and artful experiences. In Piscataquis County, it is estimated 4.4 people live within 1 sq foot mile according to 2019 Census Data. This region has been described as a “frontier county.” Homes are far from services, reliable transportation is often an issue and tendencies to isolate due to Covid-19 have exacerbated this isolation for many. Limited broadband internet access further exacerbates the ability to connect with resources and others. Piscataquis County is the poorest county in the state with all children qualifying for free or reduced meals at school. Joyous Exploratorium fills these gaps by threading and delivering resources on food access, financial assistantship, and contacts for regional services and support-oriented organizations in addition to lively and intentional programming. This region is no stranger to hardship and yet, shows resourcefulness and resilience to be celebrated. This project allows empowered participation for individuals that have lived outside the container of institutions or traditional organizations. Joyous Exploratorium assesses needs and makes connections between resources and people while also encouraging the pursuit of self and collective compassion and creativity through a free, safe, inclusive and accessible space for all ages.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (May 2021)