See other Writings
INTRODUCTION: Toolbox for Communities
Why Blue Rocks?, by Aviva Rahmani
Founder's Statement, by T. Allan Comp of AMD&ART
Interview with Sara Mall Johani, the founder of Soul Salmon, by greenmuseum.org
The Convergence of Art & Science, by Caitlin Strokosch Glass
Creative and Green: Art, Ecology, and Community, by Sarah E. Graddy
An Ecosystems Centered Plan for Organizing McLaren Park Earth Day, by Amber Hasselbring
- CASE STUDIES featuring selected projects of interest.
- RESOURCES additional links and organizations.
- STEPPING STONES (from the Working Methods Toolbox) has useful tips for planning collaborative community-based projects.
- Plus a Wiki Section for Communities for adding your comments and suggestions.
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HAND IN HAND:
The relationship between landscape and art, as defined through artistic interpretation or collaborative environmental art, is an emerging and significant aspect of community collaboration. Environmental art which can explore and strengthen the relationship between people, art and landscape, is emerging as an effective community-strengthening tool. Art creates a framework for interpreting this connection, using the cultural or environmental history of a particular piece of land as the catalyst. By building broad public support for a project and the landscape on which it sits, art can also play an important role in promoting the benefits of community living.
Even further, as participants develop deeper connections with fellow residents who are kindred spirits, they consistently achieve results far beyond their original intentions. They also realize skills and attributes they never knew they possessed. And often they go on to other significant efforts, becoming civic leaders in the process.
Art can represent a holistic way of bringing community into projects through collaborative visioning, funding, siting and maintaining the installations. It calls for artists and communities to work together to implement a creative idea. Art offers itself as cultural memory to help remind people of their place in the community. Anyone, of any age or educational background, can express through art why he or she cares about a special place. This applies to people in communities both nationally and internationally. In Israel, for example, artists have collaborated with scientists and citizen activists on environmental art projects since the 1970s.
In its most positive light, however, art is transformative, teaching new ways of looking at land, at the places we love and how to protect them. Whatever works for you, please think about how you might best use art to enhance your own causes and draw people to support them.
(Specific information on how to undertake projects such as those described here, is outlined in detail in the STEPPING STONES section.)
Alix W. Hopkins was founding executive director of Portland Trails in Maine. She is also co-president of the Pownal Land Trust and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, and author of the upcoming book, "Groundswell"/ Saving Places, Finding Community, which celebrates the role of land conservation in preserving community character, building individual character and connecting people. Published in 2005 by the Trust For Public Land.
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