Saint Paul City Choir seeks to create a more “singable” city by exploring the concept of civic singing and investigating the limits of what a city choir can be. The project poses these essential questions: How is singing a practice of civic joy and belonging? How can an innovative concept of choir be a model of inclusivity and engagement? What new singing practices will emerge from this interplay of city and choir? Public Art Saint Paul, concept originator and project Co-Artistic Director Molly Balcom Raleigh, and City Artist Marcus Young conducted a series of experimental workshops, created civic singing etudes, formed a temporary wellness choir with the City’s Human Resources Department. They produced an Election Day sing-along at City Hall, each demonstrating the Choir’s motto: “Sing truthfully and live!”
Marcus Young 楊墨 (b.1970, Hong Kong) is a behavioral and social practice artist making work for the concert stage, museums, and the public realm. His work expands the repertoire of human behavior and the expressivity of city systems. Since 2006, as City Artist, Marcus has redefined the artist working within city government. His project Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk transformed the city’s sidewalk maintenance program into a publishing entity for poetry. The program has so far created 751 installations, resulting in 17% of City land being within a two-minute walk of a poem created by this single work of art. Interested in DIY spirituality, he created Don’t You Feel It Too?—a participatory street dance practice of public protest and inner-life liberation. He has led more than 150 sessions of this dance form for art festivals, schools and colleges, youth experiencing homelessness, professional dance groups, and the general public. Recent museum work includes With Nothing to Give, I Give Myself—living 10 days around-the-clock at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to foster the understanding that people are the great overlooked art. Marcus has a BA in music from Carleton College and an MFA in theater from the University of Minnesota. He is ongoing Collaborating Director with Ananya Dance Theater, and a recipient of awards from the McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Franklin Furnace, and New York Drama League.