Felicia Young is a social action artist, theatrical pageant director, and the Founder/Executive Director of Earth Celebrations, a non-profit organization engaging communities to effect ecological and social change through the arts. Felicia has developed a successful methodology utilizing the arts and the theatrical pageant art form along with civic engagement and activism. She has initiated broad-base citywide coalitions and collaborative partnerships bringing together organizations, academic and cultural institutions, municipalities, government officials, schools, community centers, neighborhood associations, artists and local residents to work together on common goals, mobilize action, develop solutions and impact change.
Seeking an art-form that could engage diverse communities as well as address and impact on issues for positive change, Felicia was inspired by theatrical pageants (processions with site-specific performances) enacted in her mother’s native land of India, civic pageants popular in early 20th century America, and political pageants of the French Revolution. Theatrical pageants as a public art-form, utilize the inspirational power of the arts including sculpture, painting, music, dance, theater, poetry, and ceremony, to inspire and engage people to work together creatively towards a common goal.
Her social action art projects for over 25 years include a 15 year grass-roots effort and annual theatrical pageant which led to the preservation of hundreds of community gardens in New York City, an annual ecological art project and pageant to engage community in the restoration efforts of the Hudson River. Her latest project launched in January 2014 applies these creative strategies to a global context, mobilizing the community in the city of Madurai, South India through a social action art project and international and local collaborative effort to restore the Vaigai River that is in a severe crisis due to pollution, waste dumping, and the drying effects of climate change.
She has also developed an ecological and social practice art course/project for Princeton University, “Art, Ecology, and Community: A Lake Carnegie Pageant” to highlight and positively impact Lake Carnegie and the watershed.