The Joy Truck Project

At A Glance


Merrilee Schoen


Bangor, Maine

Primary Issue Area:

  • Living Economies

Active since:


Tax Status:

  • The Joy Truck is parked in the middle of a grassy field in front of a row of houses along a railroad in a town called Derby. It is summer and the clouds are large and puffy and the dandelions are in bloom.
  • The joy truck is parked in a dirt parking lot with a pop up tent along the side, cushions on the floor next to th ramp. Young children stand at the chalkboard alongside the struck and sit undr the tent making art and playing games.
  • A grandmother sits inside the truck while a teen visitor and her young sister examine the Nature Library Guessing Game.
  • Liza White, graduate student in the Bioengineering department at University of Maine teaches young children about light refraction. They stand under the pop-up tent to the side of the Joy Truck outstretched arms holding small rainbow squares up to the sky.
  • The Joy Truck is parked in a parking lot at the Milo Flea and Farmers Market. It is a smoky day from Canada's wild fires and one of th Joy Truck team members stands holding an armful of clothes while a young artist draws at the corner table surrounded by donated clothes, toys and shoes.

Our Purpose

The Joy Truck is a traveling community resource center weaving through regions of Piscataquis County. This project brings multi-disciplinary and community-defined arts activities, harm reduction supplies, clothes, books and storytelling to neighborhoods while raising opportunities for inspired leadership and teaching. The Joy Truck Project suggests alternative frameworks for resource distribution and the arts in rural parts of Piscataquis County that exist outside of institutional entities with the goal of supplementing and complementing gaps within existing distribution systems. This project continues to exist because of the belief that social change can be joyous. Now, entering our fourth season, we continue to maintain this as a core value as we experiment in the shape this project can take in a communal way- testing to see what is possible within and around the existing systems and structures of the Maine Central Highlands while meeting explicit needs.