Hunter Franks leads simple steps of creativity to inspire big change in Akron

This story was originally published on Knight Blog here. Artist Hunter Franks uses people as his medium to break down barriers and make neighborhoods more neighborly. It’s simple, really. He invites people to come together – most recently in Akron, Ohio – and they create public, amateur art for the neighborhood to take part in and enjoy. Franks has taken his participatory art on a…

How planning for the arts be used strategically to augment current neighborhood planning efforts

These stories are brought to you by a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the NEA’s Our Town program. The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI), a nonprofit foundation focused on community revitalization, was in the midst of developing a land use master plan with local area residents for The Village at Market Creek in southeastern San Diego, when it was reasoned…

Creative Exchange Toolkits & Resources Hangout Recap & Video

Thursday afternoon (morning still, if you were out on the West Coast) was the first Creative Exchange Hangout – a live video conversation with the artists and creators featured on Creative Exchange. For this first conversation, we brought together three of the toolkit creators whose resources are available on the site – Nikki Hunt from Springboard for the Arts and the Artists' Health Fair, Hunter…

How the arts inspire change in Detroit

In April of 2014, Damian Woetzel and the Aspen Institute Arts Program convened a Strategy Group in Detroit. This convening brought together local and national experts: artists and leaders in arts, policy, community development and education. The group spent a thrilling morning at Spain Elementary School where Yo-Yo Ma, Damian Woetzel, Lil Buck, Aaron Dworkin and Cristina Pato conducted an…

Experimental performance group The Hinterlands explores the outer limits of identity

In contemporary usage, "hinterland" is defined as "an area beyond what is visible or known." And this is why Richard Newman and Liza Bielby named their experimental performance group, headquartered in a former drug house located on the outskirts of Hamtramck, "The Hinterlands." "'Hinterlands are the areas at the edge of the map just beyond civilization, but you can still see them on the map,"…

Neighborhood Postcard Project

Perceptions of marginalized communities often form from single media sources. All you see on the news is the violence, drugs, and poverty. But, there are many positive stories that exist in these communities. Stories that need to be heard. The Neighborhood Postcard Project collects personal positive neighborhood stories from residents in marginalized communities and sends them out to random…

The Joy of Toolkits

When I was a kid I loved getting a new box of Legos. There was a great rush of satisfaction in making all the little pieces come together to look like the thing that was on the box, to make Robin Hood’s hideout, the intergalactic spaceship, or the hidden pirate cove. Even more than that first rush, though, was the joy of taking apart all those carefully designed models and building a new world…

Pop Up Museum

We've all got fascinating things, but not everyone gets to show them off in a museum. Thanks to the Pop Up Museum, that's all about to change. The Pop Up Museum is a temporary exhibit created by the people who show up to participate. It works by choosing a theme and venue and then inviting people to bring an object on-topic to share. Participants write a label for their object and leave…

Annabel Manning’s work as a participatory artist gives voice to the silent, suppressed, invisible

In September 2001, Annabel Manning had been living in New York for over 15 years. After 9/11, she decided to move to Pennsylvania and work on a farm. That was 12 years ago, and she speaks haltingly about this even now. "I went to a farm and was raising chickens and sheep and a one-year-old," she says. "We had to chill for awhile." The New York Times has previously reported that at least 10,000…

Artists’ Health Fair

Navigating healthcare and health insurance resources can be complex, and creating effective programs can take a lot of time, resources and relationships. This toolkit is great for replicating a whole program, but if you are just looking for a place to start, try this Teeny Toolkit with four small things that you can do to connect your community to healthcare: Get it here. Access to healthcare…