Artists Plus (or Why I Love Venn Diagrams)
Are you looking to build up your neighborhood? You can do this by combining artists and community development organizations. Find a street that marks a classic case of shifting demographics and gentrification and host a dinner for 500 people in the middle of this street. Connect artists with the community to dress it up with screen-printed fabrics that reflect the neighborhood and the people who live there.
On September 9th, 2016, South Kensington Community Partners, with event partners Spiral Q, and Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, brought the neighborhood together on North American Street for the inaugural “American Street Feast: A Celebration of our Neighborhood.” Neighbors and business owners, young and old, longstanding and recently arrived, along with neighborhood supporters, shared in conversation and a family-style meal that displayed the culinary traditions and the creative talents of those who live and work in South/Old Kensington.
At the Bartol Foundation, we believe in the value of the arts, especially in the value of artists. We know that artmaking in all its forms uplift us, help us understand ourselves and others, and give us comfort when we need it most. We also know that the arts and artists add value to other things we care about. Effective education. Healthy youth development. Strong neighborhoods. As part of our professional development programs for teaching artists, we work hard to connect artists and the arts to other work in our city.
Our workshop series, Artists Plus, brings together potential arts partners to investigate where their goals overlap and where they bring unique strengths and skills to building strong neighborhoods. At our session, “Artists Plus CDCs,” each small group created their own Venn Diagram (remember fourth grade math class?) and artist Rodney Camarce (@rodneycamarce) created this visual documentation of their discussions.
Where would your work fit on this diagram? Do you translate among disparate communities or experiences? Celebrate a community’s history and culture? Run a business? Develop artist studios? Teach?
Watch for our session in January 2017 that will bring together artists with community-based organizations that are not cultural organizations. We will invite the artists and organizations to build their own Venn diagram as we continue to advocate for Artists Plus.
Photo credits: Jaren Gruenwald