Jessica Wilt

Jessica Wilt

In January 2012 I started the New Year with an ARTSblog entitled So Many Resources, So Little Time. I wrote, “With endless emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds, I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed.” For the most part, that statement was true – except for one thing. I wasn’t using Twitter!

Of course after mentioning Twitter in the resources ARTSblog someone would reach out to me in an email requesting my Twitter handle. Uh oh. Once upon a time I had set up an account, but when I tried to remember what the original handle was and how to login? Forget about it. I had been caught red-handed!

Just what I needed, one more thing to add to what already felt like an overflowing plate. I couldn’t respond back with, “sorry, I don’t do Twitter” after mentioning it in my blog so I decided it was time to officially throw myself into the #Twitterverse. Hence, @JessicaLWilt was born.

Over the past year I’ve been teaching myself how to navigate and speak the language that is Twitter while building a truly authentic and genuine community. I don’t have thousands of followers – yet – but I do regularly interact and connect with a diverse group of people. Never could I have imagined how vast the information, people, ideas and life-changing events I’ve experienced through Twitter would enhance my personal and professional circles. Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity Will Change the Model

Posted by Bill Roper On November - 8 - 2011

Bill Roper

On behalf of the Orton Family Foundation, I was recently visiting communities in Montana and Colorado, assessing whether they would make good Heart & Soul Community Planning demonstration projects. Part of my message during this tour was that community building and planning is broken in the United States.

Approaches to engaging the public over the last 30 years have become top-down, tired, and seemingly irrelevant. Who wants to come to a meeting to provide input on a plan developed behind closed doors and when it’s pretty clear a decision has already been made? Who ever catches the notices in the newspaper or on the bulletin boards that all look the same, are always in the same places and use technical or hot button words like updates, zoning, transportation trip levels, etc.?

In a country that expects another hundred million people by 2050, we’ve got to wake up and shake up the usual way of doing business.

To move from the left brain to the right brain, to excite people and entice them or inspire them to participate, to open up the government model and build on the assets found in our human, social, and natural landscapes. Art and the creativity it embodies and unleashes can play a critical role in this regard. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to the Future (Part One)

Posted by Erik Takeshita On November - 7 - 2011

Erik Takeshita

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We have a responsibility to those who will come after us.  

These simple yet powerful concepts have been echoing in my head the past few days in New Mexico where I participated in a roundtable discussion held at the Institute of American Indian Arts sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, First People’s Fund, and Arts and Democracy Project. The people I met and the stories I heard reinforced the power of the arts – and more importantly culture – in transforming our communities.

Six case studies were presented at the roundtable: KUYI Hopi radio (Hopi Nation), Jikaat Kwaan Heritage Center (Alaska), Penn Center (South Carolina), Tamejavi Festival (Central Valley, California), STAY Project (Appalachia) and Cornerstone Theater (Los Angeles).

Despite the differences in geographic location, populations or medium, these exemplars all shared common elements: they were place-based, holistic approaches that engaged both youth and elders, and, perhaps most importantly, put culture at the center.

Place-based: When in New Mexico, it is obvious that place matters. This is, of course, true everywhere. Place informs who we are, how we act, our thinking, our relationships. Place is more that just a setting, but rather is an active participant that informs what can and should be done. Read the rest of this entry »

Changing the World, One Ballroom at a Time

Posted by hoong yee lee krakauer On June - 28 - 2011

Hoong Yee, about to engage her superpowers in flip charting

It is a good thing to know what you are good at.

According to my wise thirteen-year-old son, I am good at lunch, sewing on buttons, and getting better at playing Action Potato on my phone. Oh, and hugs, lots of them.

My dear friend Barbara Schaffer Bacon who is the Co-Director of Animating Democracy at Americans for the Art thought I would be good as a discussion leader for a conference session at the Americans for the Arts 2011 Annual Convention earlier this month in San Diego.

I was thrilled to be joined by Josie Talamantez, Assistant Chief of Grant Programs for the California Arts Council, and Sioux Trujillo, Associate Director of Community + Public Arts DETROIT.

Actually, I was really very good at writing stuff on flip charts. I am a force to be reckoned with when I have a marker in my hand. Read the rest of this entry »