People of Good Will 2014-2016

Heritage Hall (formerly Guelph British Methodist Episcopal Church) has stood at 83 Essex Street, Guelph Ontario, since 1880. The church was built by former fugitive slaves who arrived in the area via the Underground Railroad. Today the Guelph Black Heritage Society preserves the historical significance of this important building by creating a cultural, historical and social centre within Guelph and Wellington County.

People of Good Will provides a new public venue in Downtown Guelph for culturally diverse peoples to share their voices, creative visions and experiences. Inspired by the Underground Railroad as a living history, Heritage Hall is a metaphor of cultural self-determination that can be shared with immigrant and culturally diverse peoples living in Guelph. Also, People of Good Will brings to light the historical involvement of Aboriginal peoples and others who assisted in the emancipation of former American slaves.

Taking place over the course of one year, a series of collaborative events between local and international artists, arts programmers, community organizations, and the collective Postcommodity will be featured at Heritage Hall. This series of visual art, performances, readings and music will be specially designed and created just for this space. In exploring the Underground Railroad as a living history of cultural self-determination, these events will showcase the experiences and perspectives of diverse local communities. Through this project, Postcommodity seeks to examine contemporary contexts of intercultural relationships, power and determinism.

People of Good Will is a collaboration between the Guelph Black Heritage Society, the arts organization Musagetes, and the art collective Postcommodity.