This being the last Friday of the month, it’s time for promoting positive news via We Are the World Blogfest. I like to think of us as ambassadors highlighting little pockets of love and light for others to celebrate as well.
Our special lead co-hosts for this month are Belinda Witzenhausen, Lynn Hallbrooks, Michelle Wallace, Sylvia McGrath, and Sylvia Stein. You can participate by signing up here, and I encourage you to check out the other bloggers participating as well.
This month I want to share about Urbano, a non-profit community art project in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. The mission of Urbano is to foster participatory art for social change, community cohesion, and personal transformation. It is an entirely artist-run organization, and the artists mentor young people while working on community-based art projects, helping them not only express themselves creatively but also tackle social issues and encouraging development of their skills and interest in social activism.
I’ll head you off to this page where you can watch a short video about the organization, and then explore some of their past projects as well as look at their current one. Immigration Nation is a collection of 400+ suitcases telling individual stories and representing a collective American experience.
It’s precisely these kind of programs that excite me most and feel critically important in these times. I believe we need engagement; we need ways to unify our communities; we need to experience ourselves working collaboratively in community and finding creative ways to address social issues. The impact of art on our society and the encouragement of our young people to find their voices is certainly not to be dismissed as unimportant. I believe they are gems to be polished and held as precious indeed.
When Lyndon Johnson signed into existence the National Endowment of the Arts in 1965 it was with these words:
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I believe this to be true. And we need our vision now more than ever.