Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP), designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, returns to life each day as a Philadelphia museum that’s open to the public year-round.
Completed in 1836, the imposing, neo-Gothic-styled architecture by John Haviland was intended to strike fear in all who might consider committing a crime. At the time, it was the most expensive public construction project ever built in the country. Famous inmates included Al Capone and Willie Sutton.
Decommissioned in 1971, ESP now lays in ruin, but awaits all who are fascinated by its unique radial design, towering castle walls and folklore.
Photographer, Tiffani Burchett Nieusma first visited ESP in 2016 and was awed by the unexpected beauty of the decay. Her recorded images eventually paved the way for a future gallery show during September, 2021 with a companion monograph of her work to be published on the subject.
Tiffani is currently seeking written word submissions to complement her photography for exhibition and publication. The deadline is May 31, 2021.
The above-mentioned poem and pics were motivated by a day-trip to Myakka River State Park, outside Sarasota, Florida.
Originally, my early inclination was to post this as a stand-alone, abstract reaction to all the hate that’s been circulating around the country of late, but as luck would have it–at Leah’s urging–I walked along Sarasota’s Bayfront…
and discovered the 18th Annual Art Exhibit Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion.
Almost immediately, after walking through the exhibition, I realized that showcasing birds and preying reptiles was too esoteric in getting my message across.
And I knew I had to include a sampling of the thoughtful, amazing talent from local and international students…
who have found a way to express themselves both poetically and graphically in ways that astound me, and give me hope for the future of our planet.
50 panels are spread throughout a marine park setting frequented by families, dog-walkers, tourists, and boaters, etc.,
interacting among billboard-sized art.
Indeed, a captive audience for a captivating display of enlightenment that’s too good to ignore.
A stroll along the pier with seagulls, oh so near, that roost before they scare– then quick they take to air, for what it is they fear shall always disappear, because there’s nothing there, yet soon the boards are bare.
the Thanksgiving meal that takes days to prepare,
and the ease of slipping into a digestive coma
just from the aroma–
of roasted turkey, the stuffing, the cranberry relish,
and all the assortments designed to embellish.
But the moment our family sits down to feast the hunger takes over with no time to savor the melange of food flavors, and sooner than later, there’s none left to eat.