SARAH KAVAGE

I’m a Seattle based visual artist and cultural organizer who makes art about place. 

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ABOUT

PAINTING & DESIGN


SARAH KAVAGE

I’m a Seattle based visual artist who makes artwork about place. 

HOME
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ABOUT
PAINTING & DESIGN

PORTAL

April 2021
Gateway Park, Camden / Pensauken NJ

Assistants
Adriana Amador-Chacon
Priscilla Rios
Monica Perez Reyes

Carpentry
Robert Zverina

Community Liaisons
José Ortiz Pagan
Ricky Yanas

Special thanks to
Justin Dennis, Bill Scullion, Steve Jack and all the Phrag Fest / MLK Day of Service volunteers

Photos / Video
Robert Zverina, Teresa Jaynes, Sarah Kavage, Tamara Jimenez

PORTAL is an invitation to cross a threshold to another place, and a reminder of how close and otherworldly that landscape can be. A high arch made out of locally-harvested Phragmites reed, built using European roof thatching techniques, connects two benches and creates a passage.

Most places you go in the greater Philadelphia area, you are surrounded by a forest of interpretive signage. No sign or statue tells the history of Gateway Park. It hides in plain sight, a strip of green beside 8 lanes of traffic and across from the discount liquor store. In advance of the 2000 Republican National Convention, businesses along this “seedy” stretch of Admiral Wilson Blvd were demolished and turned into green space to beautify the convention approach for delegates. Unfortunately, because of contamination at the site, this so-called park was unusable. Eventually community outcry pushed the environmental cleanup of the site and its transformation into an actual park in 2019.

If you cross to the far side of the treeline, the Cooper River flows, hidden and quiet. The traffic noise drops away and you enter into a different world. I imagine that back in the days of the bars, gas stations, and cheap hotels that there were people that came to the other world by the riverbank...some for trouble, sure, but others seeking solitude or transformation.


The sculpture became the site for DYNAMO, a ritual / performance created by Jose Ortiz-Pagan and Mauricio Perez in partnership with art collective La Calaca Flaca and La Pureta Abierta, an immigrant and refugee support organization. The performance used the ritual action of standing on the threshold of the Portal as a way to examine the liminal space that young undocumented people exist within. The setting created an optimistic, reflective space for them to talk about their dreams for the future.
Performers: Alessandro, Joselin
Aztec Dancer: Ruben Chico
Music: Bennett Kuhn
Food: Juan Carlos Marin

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