“I believe it is vital for members of the LGBTQ+ community to have spaces to come together and build coalitions across difference and work to transform the world. The design of the project and Dance Exchange’s proven model of community engagement necessitates a deep and informed responsiveness to the world around us and the specific oppressions members of an engagement community face.” — Tyler French, collaborator and poet
Growing Our Own Gardens is an iterative performance project rooted in queer world-making. Conceived and directed by Matthew Cumbie, this body of work centers and celebrates the stories, struggles, and possibilities of intergenerational queer communities. In 2018, and with support from Dance Exchange, Growing Our Own Gardens premiered a queer world, unfolding, a DC-based iteration of this work that was informed and shaped by years of research and work with local partners Dance Place, the DC Center, the Human Rights Commission of the City of Rockville, and the Rainbow History Project.
The stage work was only one outcome of this research, though; through our partnerships, we also generated repeatable intergenerational LGBTQ+ community workshops, created connections between various LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations, and created Queer History Walks with the Rainbow History Project (walks that incorporate movement and information about LGBTQ+ histories in specific DC neighborhoods). This work continues through pop-up excerpted performances of the evening-length work, and through workshops and Queer History Walks. To date, we have co-facilitated a handful of Queer History Walks with the Rainbow History Project of the DuPont and Eastern Market neighborhoods of DC; each time, we have gathered 50-60 people for these walks.
Growing Our Own Gardens Collaborative Creative Team
Photo by Ben Carver, featuring Juliana Ponguta and Heather Doyle in Growing Our Own Gardens: a queer world, unfolding