Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Learning to Listen: The Transformative Power of Collaboration and Nashville’s Learning Lab Artist Training Program

Posted by Ms. Van Gill Maravalli, Aug 16, 2018 0 comments

At the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, we like to think of ourselves as a type of strange municipal glue. Meaning, we create points of connection between things that previously existed independent of one another in order to make something new. This also means we spend a lot of time explaining that artists have a unique skillset that can be an asset in any field, not just the arts. When we start these conversations with non-arts organizations we hope to collaborate with, our message is often met with confused faces. Could an artist do more than beautify a physical space? How could an artist work within the juvenile court system or at a public health facility? We ask these questions because we believe public art can be a community investment tool for neighborhood transformation, creative workforce development, and equitable practices throughout our city.

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Have Your Heard the Buzz About Creative Conversations?

Posted by Cristyn Johnson, Aug 07, 2018 0 comments

Creative Conversations were launched in 2004 in response to feedback for a need for dialogue from the Emerging Leaders Network. Since then, they have been used as a catalyst in communities across the nation to unify groups of people engaged in arts and culture by sparking dialogue, spurring advocacy efforts, and creating networking opportunities for participants. Most Creative Conversations take place in October as part of National Arts and Humanities Month; however, now they are popping up more frequently at other times of the year. Interested in learning more about these community engagement events, or hosting one in your area? Read on for information and inspiration to help get you started!

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Passion Works

Posted by Patty Mitchell, Jul 12, 2018 0 comments

This story is about what happens when the talents and interests of people with developmental differences are followed. In 1998 I was invited to set up an experimental art studio within a sheltered workshop in Athens, Ohio. A sheltered workshop is a day program for people with developmental disabilities that offers assembly line-like work options (capping pens, stuffing envelopes, bagging items). The work is repetitive with a clear expectation of the end product. In the back of the old factory was a 15’ x 25’ room where I was invited to set up a studio space through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. When people were done with their work quotas they could come back to the art studio and explore. The enthusiasm and excitement that unfolded ignited something in me and I found my passion. This group was magical. They had talent, imagination, fearlessness, cooperation—everything needed to feed the creative process within a collaborative community making experience.

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Together We Rise: Convention Reflections

Posted by FloraJane DiRienzo , Jul 02, 2018 0 comments

Whether you’re an arts advocate, creator, or funder, attending the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, held June 14-17 in Denver, felt like a rallying call for change, and each of the keynote speakers led us with hope and honesty. Each session bravely tackled the serious issues of equity and the power of art to nourish inclusivity, embrace humanity, and grapple with the complex issues facing us today. Like so many cities, Denver has recognized that the systems of power grant privilege and access unequally in our community. The more we acknowledge this, the more we understand the pervasiveness of inequity that impacts funding, programming, arts policy, employment, and nearly every aspect of our work—bringing us closer to the opportunity to emerge into a new space.


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Reflections on Over 20 Years of Americans for the Arts Conventions

Posted by Mr. Gary P. Steuer, Jun 11, 2018 0 comments

In 1993 I became the Director of New York Programs of the Arts & Business Council Inc., and as head of a national partner arts service organization of Americans for the Arts, I began what has become a very long association with the organization and its Annual Convention, literally attending the first Convention under the Americans for the Arts name—and nearly every one since. I have watched the organization, and its signature convening, grow and evolve over time—responding to the field’s changes and the external environment we all operate in. Now in my role as president of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in Denver, Colorado, I have become one of the hosts and funders of the 2018 Annual Convention in Denver. We are so excited to be hosting this conference, and know that the content will be informative and inspirational, and that the City and its cultural assets will enchant. 

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Welcoming Travelers to a Community Through the Arts

Posted by Betsey Sanpere, May 29, 2018 0 comments

As the gateway to a city, airports are the first and last place that air travelers experience; they are a doorway for passengers and visitors alike. An airport has a broad range of functions, but its visual impact can run the gamut from a blank canvas to a celebration of sights and sounds. As the canvas on which impressions of a destination can be formed, airports have an opportunity to tell their story through permanent and temporary installations as well as through performing arts. When an airport chooses to introduce travelers to the arts and cultural assets of a region and beyond, wonderful things can happen. Each artistic effort says to travelers that not only do the arts matter, but also that the aesthetics of an airport are important.

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