Processional Arts Workshop (PAW)
Processional Arts Workshop (PAW), led by principal artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, creates site-specific performances, processions, and Carnivalesque interventions worldwide. PAW's performances involve local communities in every stage of production, integrating pageant puppetry, mobile architecture, shadow and projection, and mask and costume, to reflect on distinctively local themes, issues, and narratives. The resulting works bring together hundreds of volunteers and have appeared at New York’s Socrates Sculpture Park, the High Line, Trinidad Carnival, the PEN World Voices Festival, the EON Festival in Istanbul, the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theatre, the NY Architectural League’s Beaux Arts Ball. Since 1998 (under the name “Superior Concept Monsters”) PAW has created large-scale performances to lead New York’s renowned Halloween Parade each year for an estimated live audience of 1.5 million spectators. PAW recently had the honor of performing some of its Halloween creations at the White House for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
In addition PAW, has worked in locales worldwide to create performances in non-traditional public spaces, ranging from the streets of Kiev and NY’s South Bronx; to remote villages in the Italian Alps and rural Texas. Some of these projects have gone on to become annual neo-traditions, continuing to act as evolving platforms for local narratives. PAW’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Fulbright Scholarship to Trinidad, a CEC Artslink Grant to Ukraine, and a Roman Witt Artist Fellowship at University of Michigan. Kahn and Michahelles have lectured on Carnivalesque performance art at Columbia University, The New School, Bard College, Maine College of Art, and University of the West Indies.