(This speech was originally delivered on November 1, 1997 at the annual conference of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.)
Darkness is a way of life
when you don't know the way.
When you find the way, darkness shatters
like an old glass bottle.
A ticket falls out
A ticket to a lifetime of love
I like singing for strangers. I like it because often, after the offering of a song, some of our strangeness has been nudged a little closer towards the familiar. And when the familiar is given some space what follows—what I have to share—maybe, has a chance of being heard with the same spirit of offering.
Another thing I like to do when I enter into unfamiliar territory, in a suit, on stage, facing a room full of other suits, in Cleveland in the Fall of 1997, is drag my friends along to keep me company. So, today, in keeping with that tradition, I'd like to introduce you to a couple of my closest friends.
My first friend, Aaron, is someone you've already been introduced to. Aaron has entered the Playhouse Theater and joined me here on stage through the words of the song I just shared. These words are his.
The ticket Aaron refers to in his song is the poetry and music and painting that came into his life during the two years he spent at a treatment community called FamiliesFirst. Now Aaron came to FamiliesFirst with a pretty rotten life under his belt. Severely abused as a youngster, he returned the favor by becoming an incredibly violent predator and self abuser by the age of nine. But by the time he was 11, after 2 years at FamiliesFirst, he had become a well adjusted young man, socially and in school and was able to say, in no uncertain terms, that art saved his life.
Aaron had the opportunity to write his poem because, in 1990 FamiliesFirst made a commitment to infuse the entire treatment community with the arts—top to bottom. They made this significant investment because they knew it helped kids like Aaron make sense of a confusing world. (a slide of a self-portrait by Aaron is presented)
This is Aaron's self-portrait. I think it is appropriate that we see him facing away, looking outward into the 21st century, maybe imagining a future that differs radically from his own unpredictable, out-of-balance past. I certainly hope so!
And you know Aaron's past is not unlike those of many of our communities who are also in search of a new kind of balance—a balance between the safe and the challenging, the material and the transcendent, tradition and modernity, opportunity and responsibility, chaos and order. A balanced future that does not repeat the sins that have been visited on the thousands of Aarons that are born into our communities every day.
My other friend is a little older. Actually he/she is your friend too, and has been for thousands of years. This of course is the Shaman—arguably the most important individual in the pre-historical community.
I don't know if many of you are aware that recent archeological excavations have unearthed a new treasure-trove of ancient writings. Among these writings are the job descriptions of various leaders in pre-historical community life. Here are the job specs for Shaman 4 (exempt).
Reporting to the various gods and spirits, this position is responsible for building and maintaining the ritual fire, healing the sick, maintaining and teaching of tribal history, rituals and celebrations, educating and preparing youth for adulthood, the preparation and delivery of all rites of passage: including birth, marriage, death and all activities related to the fertility of our fields and families and other duties as required. Candidates should have relevant and extensive experience as a dancer, poet, painter, drummer, singer, storyteller, healer, mediator, teacher,—and a working knowledge of spiritual mechanics. The successful candidate will represent the community in its practical relationship with the gods and preside over the most important activities in our community.
This shaman, of course, is our direct descendent. This is the pre-art artist.
Now why have I invited these two friends to share the stage with me?
I brought Aaron because I'd like you to keep Aaron in mind during the rest of my talk. Not because I think all of you are going to personally end up running programs for severely mentally disturbed pre-adolescents, but because Aaron's presence through his song is a good reminder of the potential power of our work and the level of responsibility with which that power needs to be handled.
I always bring the Shaman along to remind myself of our long and significant history as community builders. And as a marker to gauge how truly far we have come, or receded, over the years, in the area of cultural enlightenment.
In a larger sense Aaron's images and the Shaman's legacy speak to one of the core questions of the 21st Century. Will the transformative power of the creative process be given the air and water and soil necessary to grow the vision we will need to bring our world into balance in the third millennium? Will the arts infuse our lives, our institutions, our communities, to help us make sense of, and find meaning in the confusion of the high speed, change constant, chaotic global community we are becoming?
With my friends introduced and the posing of these questions as a preamble, I would like move even further afield, out of the arts temple, and into the secular world, by sharing the first of three lists I will bludgeon you with this afternoon. This is a list of eight major big-deal events and forces that will have a significant impact on our communities and ultimately our cultural and community futures. I call them global transitions.
Before I start my list I would like to note that the following are culled from multiple sources and influences that include: The Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, High Performance magazine, Fast Company magazine, Superman comic book, Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Lester Thurow's new book, The Future of Capitalism and numerous undisciplined careenings through the Internet.
1. First we have the fall of Communism
As we all know the walls came tumbling down. The global deck is getting reshuffled. We've moved from one-on-one five-card stud to 52-card pick up almost overnight. And as the rules of the game changed 1.9 Billion people who lived under communist regimes put down their playing cards and started playing monopoly. Not just as customers and producers but as competitors as well.
2. Globalization of cultural processes and products
The US and the west are rapidly losing dominance of the cultural marketplace. World literature, music, visual arts and media are emerging as readily from Bombay, Rio, or Seoul, as they are from New York, London or Paris. In 1975, only 7% of all of the cultural goods exported in the world came from what are called developing countries. (These include literature, music, visual arts, cinema, radio, television, photography and much more.) By 1991 this figure had increased to 28% of the worlds total. This is a four fold increase in just 16 years.
3. The ascendancy of man-made brain powered industries.
Lester Thurow points out that for more than 100 years the richest person in the world was connected to the oil industry. John D. Rockefeller in the late 19th century—Sultan of Brunei at the end of the 20th. Fifteen weeks ago Bill Gates became the richest man in the world. For the first time in world history someone who does not control natural resources is at the top of the material heap. In 1900, of the twelve largest industrial firms in US, 10 were natural resource based industries. Today, only one of those industries: General Electric, is still in business. Here's the Japanese ministry of international trade and industry's 1990 list of industrial priorities: micro electronics, biotechnology, designer materials, civilian aircraft industries, telecommunications, robotics, and computers. None are natural resource-based. America's fruited plains becoming less and less relevant on the global economic stage.
4. A Growing Worldwide Spiritual Revival
As the world has become less and less predictable more and more people are looking for meaning beyond the material. This has caused a dramatic increase in traditional and non-traditional religious and spiritual practice all over the world. Everything from fundamentalism to the psychic network figures in the explosion of spiritual questing. There is a guy named Watts Wacker who is a futurist at Stanford Research International. His job is to predict driving forces in the world. He says that in that part of the world that is supersaturated with physical stuff, status will hinge on what is scarce. He posits that spiritual experiences are becoming increasingly important because for the past 100 years we have imagined "stuff" as equal in meaning to the transcendent. He says that following the information age and the preeminence of the knowledge worker we will transition into something called the dream society in which we will place enormous stock in the spiritual and—surprise, surprise—the story tellers in our midst.
5. Unprecedented Demographic Upheavals
People are on the move all over the world for a lot of reasons, at unprecedented rates. From the middle 1980s to the middle '90s legal and illegal immigration, economic upheaval, military action, and starvation have caused a movement of over 120 million people from one country to another. This is the largest shift in human population in the history of the world and it is continuing.
6. The Global Economy
We now have all the technology in place to have a truly global economy. Thurow points out that before the industrial revolution the marketplace was local. In the Industrial Age locally centered economies gave way to national economic systems. Now we have entered the era of global economics. Capitol, raw materials, labor, manufacturing, marketing, all are disbursed around the world.
Here is an example : The air bag systems in our new cars depend on a little part called an accelerometer. It costs $50. It is designed and made in Boston, then sent to the Philippines for testing, then sent to Taiwan for packaging, on to Germany for installation in a BMW, and finally back the US to be sold by a dealer to someone not working for a state arts agency. So, I guess its fairly obvious that now there is no such thing as a truly German or American car.
7. The emergence of networked systems as the dominant organizational scheme
In 1992 I helped to facilitate a discussion among scholars and educational leaders sponsored by the Getty and the American Council of Learned Societies called Technology, Scholarship and the Humanities. A goodly number of those participating thought the discussion would focus on how America's academies were going to use technology to reinforce and maintain it's authority over academic discourse. They were disabused of this fantasy by the invited cyber jocks who informed them that what little control they had left would be long gone by the end of the century. This is now the case or becoming the case in most areas of human material and intellectual interaction. The flip side of this equation, of course, is the diminishing effectiveness and dominance of hierarchies as the prime tool for the management and distribution of power.
8. Given all this, for the first time in 50 years the United States and its western partners will not be writing the rules that will determine the world's economic and political future. So, America, must now learn to operate in an environment of shifting, toppling, and even flattening hierarchies—a world where information technology, multinational finance, world famine, ethnic conflict and ozone depletion are but a few of the interconnecting threads in the emerging global fabric.
Okay, so indications are that we are stand poised on the edge a world in the middle of multiple social and economic transitions. So what else is new? Well I'll tell you, whether we like it or not, this is unprecedented in the history of the world. The velocity and depth of these shifts are having, and will continue to have, an ever increasing impact on our lives. Not just because materials and mechanics of the economic, political and social realms are being turned upside down. No not just that. There are some more basic shifts taking place in the way we perceive the world we live in that are probably having an even greater effect on our daily lives.
These are what I will call, perceptual transitions.
1. The first relates to what we know and don't know.
Think about it. Now, for the first time, science text books are saying, "Scientists now think," or "based on the most current research we feel that..." When I went to school, knowledge came in a box. The label said eat and ye shall know. We were led to believe that all the basic stuff had been figured out. History was linear, math was finite, and the Newtonian physics promised a controlled and predictable future. And now, surprise! Everything is being reconsidered.
2. The second perceptual transition is our understanding of how things work. Not only is everything being reconsidered and redefined—we are now being told that the central unifying, constant, organizing principle of the universe is something called chaos. And chaos doesn't mean random craziness any more. Oh no! It means apparent random craziness that is actually organized and interconnected in some very complex ways that, unfortunately, are not all that predictable.
3. The third perceptual transition is that although the pace of change is increasing exponentially—we don't know it. We know things are going fast, but in order to cope we are getting used to getting used to things at a much faster rate. That means for some people, the good old days are the 1980's. And as the rate and volume of change increases our capacity to process and retain information is overtaxed—as a result we are more inclined to focus on the immediate and lose our long range perspective. In other words, we are losing our memories and our sense of history.
4. The fourth perceptual transition relates to our beliefs
There is a real revolution going on rooted in our struggle over changing values. Very little of what was considered the cultural norm during the first half of the 20th Century has not been altered in one way or another. As we begin the last decade of the century, the debate intensifies over such core issues as the loss of the nuclear family, the changing roles of men and women, the definition of right and wrong, our relationship to the earth, the distribution of wealth, freedom of expression, the importance of cultural identity and much more.
Some see the changes in values and beliefs that have taken place as a disintegration of the basic tenants of the American cultural fabric. To others, we are finally grappling with the gap between our stated ideals and the entrenched self-interest of the established power structure. In some sectors this questioning of values has precipitated a rekindling of the American spirit of creativity and innovation. In others the response has been defensive and reactionary.
Regardless of your point of view, these rapid changes in what we know, how things work, and what we believe, can be hard to take. We are moving from an era when we thought we were just moments away from nailing down all of the loose ends of the last few big questions, to new era that seems to have more questions than it does answers. I call this the end of the age of Certainty.
So right about now some of you are probably thinking, this is interesting stuff, but what has it got to do with the matter at hand? We're arts folks. This guy doesn't think all this global picture, paradigm-shifting, multinational organism talk is truly relevant to our single cell little selves sitting here in Cleveland does he? This is all abstract distant stuff. He's not crazy enough to think that we are players in the giant, enormous scheme of things here does he?
Well yes I do. Big time! You gotta remember. About 20 years ago a bunch of us CETA arts refugees started making art with prisoners and homeless folks and kids in community centers and went around talking about how people in the arts community ought to maybe think about finding new ways to connect to the rest of community life. And before that many others like Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino in California, And Bob Fitzgerald and Living Stage in Washington DC were doing similar stuff. And before that was Jack Jackson in LA and Bob Gard in Wisconsin and before them there were the WPA folks. And you need to remember that for the most part, most people thought this art and community thing was either irrelevant or insane, or both. And now you can't pick up a brochure or funding guidelines from a major arts funder in this country without the words "art" and "community" appearing together at least ten times. Now that hasn't been all good. And that's another conversation for another time. But I think we have a great tradition of crazy talk in this field that has planted some interesting seeds so I'll ask you to bear with me a little longer while I get a little crazier.
Now I'm going to ask you to exercise your imaginations. I am going to ask you to suspend your protective coat of cynicism to fantasize that we are convened here today in the year 2005 to conduct the world largest peer-panel meeting.
SLIDE: WELCOME 2005
We have before us eleven preliminary proposals, a cross section of our changing arts community. Our job is to decide whether to provide planning money for the further development of these proposals. Since this is a big group we are going to conduct this panel kind of like the Roman Forum. So after I briefly describe each proposal I will call for your yeas and neas.
Proposal #1. Artist Saves Small Town: The first proposal comes from a small rural farm town of 5,000 whose citizens generally feel that the high point in their history had been reached some 35-40 years ago. A town that has taken out its resentments about its diminished stature on itself—engaging periodically in endless rounds of bitter name-calling and finger pointing in veiled and cryptic references in public, and wholesale scapegoating behind closed doors and outright violence among some of the younger members of the community. The local church is proposing to hire a visual artist to come to town for six months to work with all of the towns people to rebuild the community's once positive self image and reconcile the warring factions.
Proposal #2. Art Saves Suburbs: This proposal is from a suburban area outside a major city. A community that was once booming when urban flight was just beginning. But now people are moving out, the schools are going down hill and the economy is in decline. The local arts council is asking for funds to open an old school to provide some cheap office space and basic office equipment for the remaining arts organizations. They would also like to use county employees to provide technical assistance and use other local government resources to respond to the ongoing needs of these organizations. They see this as a community economic development initiative. They anticipate the it will have a significant impact on the declining economy and image of the community.
Proposal #3. Artist Heals School/Community: The third proposal comes from the city. A team of community workers, sociologists, foundation executives and school officials have been working to address the problems associated with the rapid racial diversification of the city's schools. There has been an increase in racial incidents at schools and in the community, neighborhoods and schools becoming more and more segregated and fear and stereotype are dominating the political debate. The partnership of researchers and education leaders submitting this proposal have been unable to translate valuable findings of years of research to alter the complex web of attitudes, behaviors, policies, stereotypes and fear dominate this issue. They are asking for funding to hire an artist to become a part of their team of experts to help them come up with a new way to engage the community with their research findings and recommendations.
Proposal #4. Arts Ed Goes Global: This is a proposal to subsidize travel for a group of artists, arts educators, and arts administrators to attend an arts and education symposium in Scotland. The Symposium will be attended by artists and the principal education leaders from the EC countries. The symposium has no published agenda and will be organized by the participants on site to address one question: How will the arts and education help develop the capable, caring people needed to sustain our communities?
Proposal #5. Artists Invade Bureaucracy: This is a proposal from an arts organization that wants to convince government agencies and corporations to hire artists as consultants and researchers. Their aim is to place artists in positions where they can directly influence the decision-making processes of these organizations by giving artists an opportunity interact artistically with their bureaucracies. Proposed pilot projects include working with the Department of Transportation to investigate traffic accident patterns in two cities, and the development of a proposal for a cleanup of a toxic waste dump with local and Federal environmental agencies.
Proposal #6. Artist as Art: This is a residency proposal by an artist who defines most of his life's activities as art. He does not see his efforts in the realms of politics, education, and social change as separate from his creative endeavors. He says, in fact, that these actions are his art. This artist would like to create an environmentally based political movement as a community sculpture and produce a performance where he spends a weekend in a gallery with a coyote.
Proposal #7. Art Saves Industry: This is a proposal from an arts school and one of the worlds largest auto manufacturers. The car folks have a factory full of robot workers who are breaking down all the time. They are interested in joining with the arts school to train some of their engineers in visual arts and music. They think this will help their engineers better understand and anticipate the robots needs and shortcomings.
Proposal #8. Museum as Art/Artist as Museum: This is a proposal for general operating support from a brand new 200,000 square foot museum located in a large city. The museum describes its focus as presenting artwork and events that are cool, fun and, definitely neat. The museum's director is also its chief curator, designer, architect, and principal resident artist. The lineup of inaugural exhibitions include: a glass artist in residence, numerous monumental sculptures, a exhibition of dinosaur skeletons from Russia, a resident circus, a waterfall, a windmill , and a museum within the museum that features the worlds largest pair of jockey shorts and a presentation on the history of the corn dog.
Proposal #9. Warden as Impresario: This proposal comes from a Warden at the state's maximum security prison. The 10,000 inmates and staff members she supervises constitute the State's 11th largest community. The Warden is proposing a concert and lecture series at the prison for inmates and staff that would include The Kronos String Quartet, BB King, Carlos Fuentes, Gil Scott Herron, Jonathan Borofsky and an inmate production of Waiting for Godot developed in partnership with the Royal Swedish Theater.
Proposal #10. It seems that over the years the CIA has put a lot of effort into teaching some military folks in Central and South America some interesting ways to get people to tell their stories. This is a joint request from a local college and a theater company. They want support for a collaboration with the State Department to a create a theater-based institute that would help some of these truth squad guys eliminate their nasty habits.
Proposal #11. Artist Rousts Crackheads! Our final proposal comes from a desperate inner-city community. A small group of citizens living in a three-block area have been trying to rid their community of a crack house. Prior to the submission of this proposal these community members engaged law enforcement, the city's zoning officials, and their representative at city hall, all to no avail. They would like to hire an artist to help them develop a community mural project to drive these dope peddlers out of their community.
Now you may think that fantasizing like this is a waste of time. But I think is it useful to stretch your minds a little by entertaining the impossible. I also think it is important because I believe in short order mixed-up scenarios like these will not seem so crazy.
Given this, I think I have a responsibility to you to describe how I imagine the changes I have described and these fantastic proposals are connected. And how I think the arts world is going to ride these changes into the strange and fabulous future represented in these fantasies.
Let me start by saying, straight out, that in light of the social, political, economic, ethical, and spiritual changes and upheaval that are afoot in the world I believe the future health of our communities depends upon our ability to learn, to innovate, to solve problems, and most importantly to educate our kids so they become the adaptive, and flexible change agents we will need to make sense of the 21st Century. I also believe our ability to do this depends upon the tenacity, morality and the vitality with which we make use of our creative capacities. And, to reprise that famous poster of Uncle Sam pointing out at the nation's citizenry—This means you! Not just to provide a theme song, or a poster or an after school educational enhancement, but as the public arts leaders you need to be center stage at the community's table. How, you might say. I'm not going to be able to draw a map but here are five things to consider on the way.
1. First—the mundane, Politics.
We have to be cognizant of the conscious and unconscious roles we have been cast in on the American political stage. And we also need to be aware that if there ever was a place where chaos was at work in the world it is certainly the interplay of seemingly disconnected events that appear to end up determining American cultural policies.
We all know that for some in Washington, the deflation of the evil empire has left a void that is eliciting some incredibly imaginative, compensating behavior. And we know that the role of Boris Badinov has been replaced by hordes of extras cast as cultural perverts and subversives roaming the streets at night. Its unfortunate, but I think this kind of political projection is going to continue, for a variety of reasons.
But you know there have been times when we have cast ourselves as the deer in the headlights in our version of this movie and I don't think we can continue in this way. How do we change our political state of affairs?
To begin with, we could stop talking in codes that scare folks away.
We also need to be clear that we will always be politically vulnerable until there is a critical mass of people in this country who know the arts as a life-connected personal experience—not some other worldly event in some far away land.
Finally, we need to get straight that if we can't find the courage and strategies to support individual artists we are shooting ourselves in both feet.
The second thing we need to recognize is the enormous opportunity, and maybe obligation, that the change-constant world we are living in offers the creative community. To live in a world where change is the only constant, we must teach and prepare people to take responsibility for and respond constructively to situations and outcomes that cannot be predicted—situations that are not foreseen. Not every once in a while, but most of the time. Whether we like it or not, life is going to be less and less symphonic and more and more like jazz.
This, of course, is the language and technology of the creative process. Artists already know this song. The arts have been teaching people to think on their feet, to improvise on a changing theme in a structured way, to make things without knowing the outcome, or desired end. and to engage in leaderless collaboration for thousands of years.
Adaptation, flexibility and creativity—freedom balanced by form—integrating the head, hand and heart through discipline and imagination—these are the components of the technology of the creative processes that will be valuable and needed in the non-hierarchical/change-constant 21st Century.
If this sounds both scary and exciting to you I'm with you. And if you think the prospect of riding this roller coaster is disconcerting to you, think what it will feel like to an eight- or eleven-year-old child. But I've got news for you—whether we like it or not many of our children already live in this world.
So number 3 is making arts based education available to every child, every Aaron, in our communities who is going to have to make his way on the superhighway of the next millennium. This is a matter of critical national importance.
4. A Different Cultural Future
We need to open our eyes to the fact that the forces I have described here today will very likely shape a cultural future that is very different. Lets face it, in many ways we are a marginalized community. I think for some artists and arts organizations this state of affairs is about to change. I think in very short order some members of the perpetually marginalized arts community are going to find themselves invited to the big dance.
By this I mean that in the face of the depth and velocity of the enormous changes that are taking place in the global environment the commercial, scientific, academic, government, and social infrastructures of this and other countries will recognize the functional utility of creative process experts in the change constant environment I described earlier in my talk. Yes, as crazy as it may seem I'm saying that artists will be asked to apply creative process technology to the problems, needs, and desires of the power elite.
Now if you think I'm insane, please know that this idea did not originate with me. It has been a central part of policy and legislative deliberations at the Dutch Parliament, the European Community Council of Europe, the United Nations, and in hundreds of industries all around the world. Even the folks who make Malto-Meal have a resident artist working on the shop floor.
Fifth and finally, I think all of these transitions are going to bring elemental changes in the way we do business as artists, as arts organizations. I believe the continued flattening of hierarchies through the evolution of electronic networks is going to dramatically alter the patterns of cultural power in this country and the world. We have seen this at work in the worlds of clothing design and music for years. For all of the horsepower that has been vested in the design and music centers in Los Angeles and New York, global youth and third world aesthetics dominate these industries. More and more the most interesting and creative ideas are being developed away from the centers of economic and political power.
As the networking and connecting continues to spread, it is more likely that innovations by artists, or in the areas of arts education or public arts policy will come from off center. In small towns where the intransigence and gridlock of politics and self interest do not dominate all policy. In mid-sized cities where artists have re-located to raise their families and make art in economies that make sense. In virtual collaborative networks that allow artists from across the world to forge creative partnerships that were unimaginable even five years ago.
Now, I have a confession to make. These fantasies I shared with you earlier in my talk are all true. Here is the truth about these fantasies.
1. Artist Saves Town: In Guadelupe, California, in 1989 a muralist and community activist Judy Baca came to town. She engaged young people to interview the rest of the town about its history. Through the project she was able to cross the cultural and economic barriers that divided the town. Judy's extraordinary artistry and diplomacy over these six months engaged the disparate feuding elements of the community in an honest and open airing of grievances and multiple readings of history. Her work culminated in a three-day community-wide celebration of the community's heritage and the creation of the town's first historical society.
2. Artist Saves Suburbs: Last year Arts Incubator in Arlington, Virginia, became the first arts program to win an Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Ford Foundation. Since its inception in 1990, the number of arts groups located in Arlington County has increased by 150%, and audiences have increased from 100,000 in 1990 to 300,000 people in 1995, nearly twice the county's population. As a result, the county's arts community has grown to become a $5 million per year industry.
3. Arts Ed goes global: The British American Arts Association, the Scottish Consultative Council on Education and a European Community Educational Consortium are convening the top folks from seven European countries and the US to talk about the creation of arts-based curricula that emphasizes both academic skills and capacities and values.
4. Artists invade Bureaucracy: In the 1960s and '70s during the previous Labour government an arts group called Organization and Imagination placed artists as workers in a wide range of high level policy, planning and design efforts in such areas as health, redevelopment, transportation and education.
5. Artist as Art: These proposals were a few of the hundreds of "actions" or "social sculptures" created by German artist Joseph Beuys in the '60s and '70s.
6. Arts Saves Industry: In Munich Germany, in the giant Volkswagen plant there where they make a car called the Golf there is a robot-run assembly line where no human hands touch the evolving cars. Early on in the operation the plant engineers realized that computers alone were not anticipating the kinds of breakdowns they were encountering. They provided a year of intensive special visual arts, music and dance training to a new kind of plant engineer. This engineer's job is to listen and watch the chaos of complex movements and sounds of robot teams. Their training has given these engineers the capacity to hear and see subtle changes in the robot dance and robot songs and accurately anticipate and prevent breakdowns.
7. Museum as Art/Artist as Museum: Its all true at the City Museum in St. Louis which just opened. I recommend it highly.
8. Warden as Impresario
These are just a sampling of the kinds of programming that has taken place over the past 15 years under the auspices of California's Arts-in-Corrections Program, with help from the California Arts Council. This program, which I had the pleasure of heading for eight years, regularly provides tens of thousands of inmates with the highest quality arts programs delivered by some of the state's finest artists. The result has been safer prisons and reduced recidivism.
9. Artist Rousts Crackheads. Artist Normando Ismay collaborated with young people in his community in Atlanta, Georgia, to paint signs and decorate the area around a crack house to draw attention to the activities taking place inside. With all the attention, customers shied away and the crack dealers moved out.
10. Artists Help Eliminate Nasty Habits: In the Early 1990s congress did, in fact decide that our torture training program was a bad thing. So they asked the State Department to enlist John Jay College, who in turn, enlisted John Bergman's Geese Theater Company to do a number on a group of invited captains and colonels. Amazingly enough John's work did begin to produce some born-again reformers. That was not expected, so they canceled it.
11. Artist Heals Schools
In the Twin Cities the St. Paul Foundation invested heavily on a longitudinal study of the diversification of the city's schools. It was anticipated that these findings would have a significant impact on the awareness of the problems, and produce behavior and attitude changes in the schools and community. When none of this occurred the foundation turned to COMPAS, a local community arts provider, who in turn, turned to an accomplished writer of fiction. They asked this writer to turn the hundreds of pages of charts, graphs, and case studies into a work of fiction that told the story of the diversification of the community's schools in all its complexity, so that its readers could hear and see and feel and remember the lessons learned through the research. This book is being touted as a new and effective tool for diversity training and awareness.
This last story brings us full circle into the realm of the words written by Aaron. To close the circle I would like to repeat this short song. And as I do I would ask you to hear the words as they relate not just to Aaron's new found vision , but to your work back home and the importance of our making that ticket a part of the lives of all of the people of the communities we serve.
Darkness is a way of life
when you don't know the way.
When you find the way, darkness shatters
like an old glass bottle.
A ticket falls out
A ticket to a lifetime of love
William Cleveland is the director of the Center for the Study of Art and Community, based in Minneapolis, MN, and is the author of "Art in Other Places: Artists at Work in America's Community and Social Institutions," Praeger, 1992.
above copied from: http://www.communityarts.net/readingroom/archivefiles/1999/12/chaos_art_and_t.php