Community Arts

February 14, 2018 by admin
The arts and culture sector continues to have conversations on multiple levels about how to advance the causes of equity, inclusion, and diversity. The discussion is not new, but the momentum toward implementing clear action steps is building. A new level of understanding of the ways in which racial and social inequities are the result of complex systemic issues has given rise to a realization that the path to truly effective solutions will require deep, and deeply challenging, institutional change.Read More...
February 14, 2018 by admin
As arts funders, we know that extensive research has shown that the presence of arts and culture activities at the neighborhood level can improve health and safety and promote a sense of well-being among residents. But how do we identify what activities already exist in a community and, as important, where there are gaps so we can be proactive in advancing a community’s livability?Read More...
February 14, 2018 by admin
Social movements need the arts. Should we ask tougher questions to optimize their influence? Creative voices, widely and rightfully credited as moving “hearts and mind,” are increasingly understood as playing a core role in speaking to, supporting, or even triggering broader social change. Talented storytellers are disrupting the status quo, fostering new connections, challenging dominant narratives, sharing bold visions for equitable and joyful futures, and creating vehicles for action.Read More...
October 12, 2017 by admin
Do you think that we are living in a zeitgeist of catalytic change? I have heard the word catalytic used so frequently that I find myself accessorizing moments with this adjective as if it holds the weight of tectonic shifts. It seems to promise the kind of change that either redirects historical systems of oppression toward equity — gradually erasing calcified notions of otherness that fuel supremacist behaviors — or catapults us back into a time where Flintstones-like ideals become presidential norms. Read More...
October 11, 2017 by admin
“Is the stadium we passed going up or coming down?” asked Kristen Calhoun, ArtChangeUS founding program director. Suddenly the previously strained community meeting we were attending came alive. Kristen and I were in Detroit in July 2016 to plan ArtChangeUS REMAP: Detroit, and we had repeatedly driven by the mass of steel girders, not knowing if it represented Detroit’s past or future. Artist and activist Invincible ill Weaver had organized a series of gatherings for us to meet with grassroots cultural change makers. Read More...
October 11, 2017 by admin
From the author:This essay was in my head for a couple of years, especially after I was reunited with several childhood friends in an alumni group on Facebook. I started writing this piece off and on when, in early 2014, writer/editor Anna Clark asked if I would contribute a piece to an anthology that she was pulling together. Read More...
October 11, 2017 by admin
If there is in society a collective consciousness, then art is its imagination. Imagination is different from fantasy, which conjures up desires divorced from reality; imagination is creative problem solving that assesses what is available and re-creates it into something new, better, or self-satisfying. Detroit has been short on many things over the past fifty years — economic prosperity, functioning city services, racial justice, validation — but it is astonishingly long on imagination and creative problem solving. Read More...
March 9, 2017 by admin
As a new administration enters our nation’s White House, it is timely to reflect on the way that private philanthropy and public foundations joined forces to step into the gap when federal funding for the arts was dramatically reduced in the early 1990s. Read More...
March 9, 2017 by admin
As our country prepares for a Trump presidency, the issue of economic revitalization in rural American has much more urgency than eight months ago when I started collecting data for this work. Here is a sampling of headlines from coverage by the New York Times of the economic decline in the rust belt, or more specifically, coal country and Appalachian towns: “Trump’s Promises Will Be Hard to Keep, but Coal Country Has Faith” (Nov. 28, 2016); “A Bleak Outlook for Trump’s Promises to Coal Miners” (Nov. Read More...