Over the past 19 years Earth Celebrations has developed numerous partnerships with schools, community centers, parks, and gardens, providing workshops that engage youth and adults to explore and research the valuable natural resources in their neighborhood, such as the community gardens, the river, and waterfront parks. Three months prior to the pageant, planning meetings and production workshops bring together the diverse partnership of people, children and artists from all cultural backgrounds, interest groups, local organizations, to work together on the creation of the pageant. Visiting professional artists working in a variety of media, conduct workshops in schools, community centers, churches, gardens, parks and at Earth Celebrations workshop studio. The workshops teach a variety of artistic skills and produce giant puppets, costumes, dance, performances, and group art projects that are presented throughout the pageant. Earth Celebrations workshops are open to public and free of charge.
Through a ‘place-based’ learning process, the Art & Ecology Workshops engage children, teens, and community participants to explore, research and learn about ecological issues. For the Hudson River, participants research the diversity of marine plant and animal life as indicators of the river’s health, and current issues concerning pollution and waste. They learn about the restoration of the ecosystem of the Hudson River estuary, and research the species and habitats that exist in the river, off Lower Manhattan. For the garden pageants participants research local garden history and important community issues, through field trips to the gardens and interviews with gardeners. They also explore, observe, and study the diverse plant and animal species in their neighborhood gardens. These collective ideas are woven into artworks and performances for the pageants. The workshop series, March through May, culminates in the enactment of an ecological performance art event featuring a parade of spectacular costume and giants puppets, and presentations of dance, music, poetry, and performance highlighting the issues related to the pageant and ecological site.