An Alphabet of Culture and Community

ABCAs part of the third biennial Pave symposium: Entrepreneurship, the Arts, and Creative Placemaking held April 12-13, the Phoenix chapter of Emerging Arts Leaders facilitated a workshop on connecting arts to communities in the Phoenix metro area (or “The Valley” as we sometimes call it).  For part of the workshop, the team distributed paper around the space, each with a single letter of the alphabet and asked people to write a single word on as many as possible that related to the theme of culture and community – either in support of strengthening communities through arts and culture or hindrances to doing so in the region.  This was the last session of the symposium, so attendance had dwindled to about 25 students, community artists, and other presenters and attendees.  I share with you here, without editing, the results of that exercise, an alphabet of culture and community:

A – altruism, acceptance, arguments, assumptions, ageism

B – Borderlands, beliefs, bustle, big business, bored, burdens (v. opportunity)

C – centralization, consciousness, church, city limits, catalyst, children, cooking, complications, Cannibalist Manifesto

D – deep listening, development, design, death, de-colonial aesthetics, dialect, dependence, distance

E – equity, enduring, engaging, educating, entitlement, expectation, emptiness

F – friend-building, fellowship, “fine” arts, food (2), fear (2), famish, family, fairness, freedom, filling empty seats

G – gender, growth, gardens, gentrification, God?, giving, graffiti, generosity

H – hunger, history, hope, housing, humanity, happiness, homophobia, heroes, heat (2), home, help, health

I – intergenerational ageism, international relations, independence, interdependence, impact, interaction, innovation, isolation(ism), immigration, I can’t hear well

J – justice, Judaism, joy, jam sessions, judgment [this last with a line through it]

K – knowledge, keep, kindle, kindness, kin

L – language, listening, love, love ≠violence, leaders, laughter, lifting, lifecycle events, learning, laughter

M – men, mobility, meaning, music (2), mastery, mystery, money, matching, magical, mindful

N – nice, nuance, neo-colonialism, no one comes, nodes, numb, numbers, narcissism

O – opportunity, organize, oppression, otherness, optimism, organizations, openness, open-minded.

P – perspective, people, pluralistic, pollution, population, privilege, places

Q – questions, quiet, quandary

R – reactive, religion, relationships, race, research, radio, respect, re-invent, reaction

S – space, skeptical, sustainability, storytime, sprawl, suburbia, spatial, separate, stigma, simplicity

T – transportation, time together, theory, trial, tangible, transition, traffic, turmoil, time

U – underrepresentation, underdeveloped, underserved, Umbanda, useful, union, unity, urban

V – vandalism, validation, venture

W – water – lots of it, work, wisdom (who has it?) women, willing, world-view, willingness

X – xenophobia

Y – yarn, yearn, youth

X – zoos

The group discussion that followed focused, in large part, on “sprawl,” how sprawl is a hindrance to “equity,” and how equity is a preequisite for healthy commmunities.  (For more from me on equity and the arts see “Diversity, Equality, Bus Lanes, and Arts.”)  There was also some discussion of food as both a carrier of culture across generations (intergenerationalism was a bit of a throughline as well) and a friendly, non-threatening way to introduce new cultures into communities.

In the next week or two, I’ll be publishing more outputs of the symposium.  You can watch video of the proceedings on the livestream.com newplay channel.

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
This entry was posted in Arts education, Arts entrepreneurship, arts infrastructure, Arts policy, Culture and democracy, Higher education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to An Alphabet of Culture and Community

  1. Pingback: Sticky Madness | Creative Infrastructure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s