Souvenir: Parker Spruce Hotel

1. Describe the project a STAKE Grant would help you accomplish (100 words):
Stake will sustain the research and development of Souvenir: Parker Spruce Hotel. We will rent various rooms at the Parker Spruce Hotel to experience the atmosphere, meet the regulars, spend time with the employees, and then create a performance in the rooms. Our interest lies in unearthing the stories, stigma, and community of the hotel and it’s history since establishment in the 1920s as a Bachelor Boarding Home. The hotel has endured rumors and gossip and we want to explore its story. Souvenir will culminate first as a dance for camera, then as a live performance, inviting an intimate audience.

2. How will you use the grant towards the realization of your project? $800 is your imaginary budget (50 words):
For full project immersion, we need to rent rooms, by the night and by the week, to spend ample time in the community and have accessibility at various times, day and night. A STAKE Grant would pay for room rentals and a videographer to film the final video project.

3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal (100 words):
Melissa Diane is the performance duo of Jacelyn Biondo and Kristen Shahverdian. We have been collaborating for over 6 years and have honed our collective interest to include work that is site-inspired, tests limits, merges audience and performer, and investigates ideas that are beautiful to us, but may hold stigma in society. A past project of ours brought audiences to a neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia, highlighting stories of the neighborhood, murals (one by Mural Arts, one by neighbors), and abandoned buildings next to a park, that culminated in a cook-out with dancers, audience and neighbors of the community.

4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community (100 words):
We are interested in history, culture, communities, and storytelling. We believe in the importance of people being heard and want to facilitate their stories through dance and art. It is important for us to celebrate the history of our city and to explore truth rather than listen to the whispers of rumors. This project is our way of showing beauty in a place that is often overlooked and people who are often unheard and share the secrets that lie beneath the walls of the Parker Spruce Hotel. There is something to be learned and appreciated about what is hidden here.