Performance Art in the Park

By Sarah Gil

Washington Square Park: Center of Performance Art

In the heart of Greenwich Village lies Washington Square Park. A place where music fills the space between its beautiful greenery. A place where the Washington Square Arch holds forth with its extraordinary architecture.

Washington Square Arch
August 8, 2017

A place where performance artists come to showcase their projects to the people who happen to pass by. The performance art in the park ranges from simple conversation to writing your “story” on a piece of paper and hanging it up to show everyone.

Washington Square Park Fountain
August 8, 2017







The Stranger Project

Everyone has a story, a lesson, a message; some wisdom to give out to the world and to whoever cares to listen. The Stranger Project gives the average person the platform to do so. The Stranger Project is a performance project where people come up and simply write what they deem the most inspirational situation or story that they have had in life. Then the artist, Brandon Doman, hangs the pieces of paper up with clothes pins onto a makeshift laundry line for people to come and read.

Close up of some of the handwritten letters
July 26, 2017

The Stranger Project started in 2009, and since then Doman has collected nearly 25,000 anonymous handwritten journal entries. The letters are not only hung up in Washington Square Park for everyone to read, but Doman has collected them together to form a book.

What’s your story?” is a collection of 200 stories from the 25,000 in the Strangers Project. (“What’s your story?” on or Barnes &

Doman said on his official website ( that he, “has always been curious about the people with whom we share our world,” and that was simply his inspiration for starting the project. It all started when he “sat at a local coffeehouse and decided to ask a passerby a simple question: ‘What’s your story?’”

Letters hanging in Washington Square Park
July 26, 2017

However even though the project was born in New York, it travels all across the country with different festivals and events, showcasing its message. The project has gone from Las Vegas to Venice, Calif., but resides mostly in Washington Square Park.

“These stories help us explore our universal truths, desires, and experiences and illustrate the emotional power of storytelling and our shared humanity,” Doman said.

A Love Letter to the World

While strolling throughout Washington Square Park, you might stumble upon a small table draped with a blue cloth made to look like clouds, with a giant red heart on the back of a chair and an even larger piece of paper filled with love letters. If you do happen to find it, you’ve just come across “A Love Letter to the World.”

Part of the World’s Longest Love Letter
July 26, 2017

“A Love Letter to the World” is exactly what it sounds like. This newly founded project’s concept is that people passing by can come and write what they appreciate about the world and all it has given us on one giant, ongoing piece of paper.

The artist also travels all around the world with it, trying to get different perspectives from people in different places.

French singer and performance artist, Cocovan, is the creator of this project. Cocovan’s goal is to create the largest love letter in the world, to the world, by the world.

“A Love Letter to the World” originated in Paris, France, Cocovan’s hometown, and the project started in late May of this year.

Writing a Love Letter to the World
July 26, 2017

Although a new project, Cocovan has already made great progress. After only one month into the project, she had collected nearly 300 letters in 10 different languages, before making the trip over to Manhattan to continue it.

“I just want people to simply write about what they love about the world,” Cocovan said.

“It truly is amazing seeing how other people view our world, and maybe it can help others appreciate what they didn’t see was already there,” she said.

Cocovan is now trying to figure out a way where people can send in their love letters and participate in the project from great distances. Cocovan is also going to collect some of the letters and share them through social media.

Cocovan sitting with her project
July 26, 2017
Image courtesy of

A Free Conversation with a Human Being

Washington Square Park constantly has a flow of people coming and going. Whether they’re rushing for work or enjoying a cup of coffee on a bench, people tend to keep to themselves.

Brooklynite Charlie M. wants to change that.

“One Free Conversation with a Human Being,” is an independent performance project Charlie M., 19, does in his free time to try and “understand people and their struggles more.”

Charlie giving two girls a poem
August 8, 2017

The idea of the project is that anyone passing by in Washington Square Park can sit down with him and have a conversation on absolutely anything they want.

Charlie’s project isn’t very extravagant or fancy. In fact he just sits by the Washington Square Fountain holding a sign that says “One Free Conversation with a Human Being.”

“It’s a bit informal you know, but I did it that way purposefully because I wanted to create an approachable atmosphere. I really wanted people to be comfortable when talking to me, as if we were friends,” Charlie said.

Charlie’s main inspiration for starting this project is that he wanted to be a source of help to people.

“If someone is having a bad day, or going through something, I want them to know that someone does care for them and their problems,” Charlie said.

“One Free Conversation with a Human Being,” is an ongoing project in Washington Square, and according to Charlie “will continue for as long as people need someone to talk to.”

Sarah Gil is a rising junior at Paul J. Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla.