The following excerpts are from an article originally published by TwinCities.com on 10/27/15
The arts have a long history of bringing people together across boundaries — increasing understandings across disparate and historically unequal groups, and supporting the agency of underrepresented communities to create, maintain and share their own stories.
Artists and arts organizations are an important resource in our path to building stronger connections. Opportunities for more even-footed conversation among groups lead to insight and a shared sense of community, and in turn lay the groundwork for exploration about how to maintain vital cultural and community traditions while inviting much-needed neighborhood investment.
One great example of the power of the arts in St. Paul, MN, occurred several years ago during construction of the Green Line. Springboard for the Arts engaged more than 600 artists to create 150 small projects in their own neighborhoods in response to the major disruption. These projects effectively created a new media narrative about the neighborhoods, sparking more than 50 million positive media impressions of neighborhoods based on the authentic assets that comprise those communities. This new narrative provided people both inside and outside the community a fresh perspective on the value of the businesses and people who reside there.
But it isn’t only artists and arts organizations that are stewards of strength and connection in communities. You can be, too. Take the time to go to community meetings and learn more about what’s happening. Tend to a neighborhood; participate in projects like community murals or sidewalk painting. You’ll be surprised how these small, creative acts can change the perception of neighborhood value and safety both inside and outside the community.
Integrating the arts more fully into our lives enriches each of us, and because engaging in the arts brings individuals together, it fosters community. Art and artists aren’t only in museums or concert halls — they are all around us. Every one of us has the ability to create and to imagine a way to make our neighborhood healthier or stronger.
For a pdf version of this newsletter, follow this link: photos-for-healing-newsletter-115-nov-16