Art workshop organized drum circle in Flint for evening of common celebration


FLINT, MI – Though it’s not the late 60s anymore, drum circles continue to group people to enjoy the rhythms and sounds of hands beating drums, which allows attendees to feel connected with others and to develop community relationships strengthen.

Sanctuary Art Park, a community workshop series, will host a drum circle event for Flint residents and community members to participate in an evening of “healing” together and celebrate life through rhythm and music.

The Drum Circle will take place on Wednesday, July 21, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary Art Park, located near the intersection of Brookside Drive and South Franklin Ave on East Court Street on the former Pierce Park Golf Course.

A community drum circle is a form of percussion ensemble where people come together to share and celebrate community life through rhythm and music in a loud and friendly event.

“The drum circle is a unifying activity that many people can participate in if they don’t need a lot of skill, to a community activity that people can join,” said local artist and Keep Genesee County Beautiful team member Desiree Duell. “It’s a good thing. It really is one of those things that are open to everyone.”

Duell said that all ages and skill levels, regardless of ability, are all welcome, along with all types of rhythmic instruments.

She added that those interested, even if they don’t have drums or rhythm instruments, are welcome to attend and enjoy the sounds and ambience of the event.

At previous events, Duell brought their own rhythm sticks and had chalk ready for children to draw while adults play. Camping chairs and / or blankets are recommended as the group is on the lawn.

“It’s really not a drum circle where you learn or everyone learns how to drum,” Duell said. “Here you sit in one place and someone starts drumming and then someone will repeat that or maybe people are walking back and forth or it could be silence. It’s a very organic and (mutual) activity. “

As a local artist, Duell had worked a lot on the former golf course. About two years ago, as part of a conceptual art project, she started a program in the park aimed at creating a space for communal healing after the water crisis. This art concept became Sanctuary Art Park.

The Sanctuary Art Park is a restorative ecosystem that will recapture the abandoned Pierce Golf Course, owned by the City of Flint, to turn it into a haven for residents to grow, harvest, and teach native herbal medicine to use can heal. Sanctuary Art Park works with the Genesee Conservation District, the fiduciary and technical assistance provider for the project.

The location was chosen because, according to the duel, it had the highest lead content in the water in the city.

When she began researching lead poisoning and dealing with trauma, Duell discovered that drum circles tend to demonstrate physical, psychological, and community benefits of drumming that include reducing anxiety and stress, strengthening the immune system, and releasing emotional trauma may include.

However, Duell has found it really hard to do things that are collaborative when people are traumatized, and while she has always wanted to drum circles, she first had to find people willing to volunteer to make this happen.

“In the first few years our volunteer Carl Rogers made that possible (drum circle), but he’s not a trained musician, he just helped create this space,” said Duell. “This year he passed it on to Camm Winn, who is a musician and has a great passion for drum circles and has a great knowledge of various instruments.”

She said that at previous drum circle events, the program has seen between 10 and 20 people to attend. Duel also said that people outside of Flint who heard about the drum circle came to the park to enjoy the group’s activity.

In addition to the drum circle, Duell also organizes various other programs in the park, such as a nature art workshop.

The three-part workshop, held in 2020, included community healing, a freedom fair, and an art market, but Duell said the drum circle was the only event the community responded the most to.

“All of the people doing the work are volunteers and we work with Keep Genesee County Beautiful and they provide funding and the like, but these programs are important so hopefully at some point we will be able to fund them, so that we can finance it, people can enjoy it, ”said Duell. “Artists and musicians doing this work – this is work, and we often think that if there was a support system for artists and musicians to get involved in the parks and get paid for their work, it would really help.”

The drum circles in the Sanctuary Art Park take place twice a month on Wednesday evenings.

If you want to learn more about the park or future events, visit the Facebook site.

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