Blog Posts for social change

The Arts Help Us Find Comfort, Peace, and Unity

Posted by Robert Lynch, Dec 30, 2015 0 comments

2015 is almost over, and what a year of successes and changes we've had as a country. The unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than seven years; the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide; a landmark climate change agreement was approved; the U.S. embassy reopened in Cuba after 54 years; and a week ago, the Every Student Succeeds Act passed--a tremendous win for arts education. The arts won a number of other legislative victories too, such as increased federal arts funding and arts-friendly legislation regarding both IRA tax rollovers and visa law along with key successes at the state and local levels.

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New Ways to Talk About Art, Artists, and Community

Posted by Ms. Margy Waller, Dec 22, 2015 0 comments

A young dancer recently told me she would be so happy if architects of community change and innovation and planning came to her with a request to put her skills to work for her community. Nothing would make her happier as an artist.

She’s just waiting for the invite! So, why doesn't this happen more often? And why do artists find it so hard to get a seat at the community planning table?

In recent meetings about the role of arts in community building and development, including the four regional meetings of the New Community Visions Initiative this fall, participants from the arts told us that they have a hard time getting a seat at that table. They sense that people in other sectors don’t seem to take arts seriously as a community development partner.

 

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Tribute to Grace Lee Boggs

Posted by Pam Korza, Nov 30, 2015 0 comments

Last month, our country lost one of its great thinkers and activists for a just and equitable society.  We join friends and colleagues in Detroit and across the nation in mourning the loss of Grace Lee Boggs who passed away on October 5. She was and will live on as an unrelenting exemplar of what it means to live a life of humanity and activism in striving for social justice.

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Through the Power of their Creativity, Veterans Continue to Serve

Posted by Robert Lynch, Nov 11, 2015 0 comments

During a recent trip to Denver to join in presenting a national award for state arts leadership to Governor Hickenlooper, Deborah Jordy, Executive Director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, approached me. "There is someone I'd really like you to meet." Curtis Bean was his name.

A remarkable community activist, an entrepreneur and an artist, Curtis is doing transformational work through the arts. He is also a Veteran. Straight out of high school and over the course of five years and two tours in Iraq, he completed his military service as an Army sniper.

Like many others, Curtis returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He planned on being a fireman, but anger and nightmares were interfering with his life. His girlfriend, an art student, suggested he try painting when counseling wasn't enough, and that's when something clicked. Healing started to happen -- and a new doorway was opened.

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Resilient Roads and Community Visions

Posted by Clayton Lord, Nov 04, 2015 0 comments

In 1995, as you surely know, Oklahoma City was the site of a bombing. A man drove a truck up one of the streets in downtown, pulled into a parking lot, went into a church and prayed, left, drove another block and parked in front of a federal building. Then he got out and blew the truck up, killing over 140 people including a bunch of children who were in a daycare in the building.

I got to see the memorial that was built on the site of the bombing. That road is now a glassy slip of water bounded on each end by gates. Where the building was, there are now ornamental chairs—smaller for children, larger for adults—to commemorate each life lost. Across the street, a gigantic, swooning tree that survived the blast stands guard. And throughout the city, at all of the street intersections that became makeshift helipads when responders rushed to the scene, there are deep red and tan bricks laid in resonating circles that pulsate out. The tragedy and the resilience of the place have literally been embedded in the roads, and the vision and perseverance of the people has been memorialized through art.

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Partnership and Shared Power in Evaluation

Posted by Carlton Turner, Oct 30, 2015 1 comment

In this Blog Salon’s first post, Maurine Knighton opens with a quote from William Bruce Cameron, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” The second half of that quote – “not everything that counts can be counted” – speaks directly to why the work of the Evaluation Lab is so timely and essential to the advancement of cultural equity in the arts. Artists and cultural workers who are deeply embedding social justice in their work are at the margins of our sector in funding and their work is made invisible by the majority of established institutions. Additionally, the work they are doing is rarely summed up by the standard metrics that funders require –– statistics culled from box office receipts and demographic surveys. Measuring change is an admirable task that will be innovated from the ground, not the air.

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