Peace Houses to Build Community 2020

Peace Houses to Build Community with Deborah Sharpe, Ph.D & Jennifer C. Clay, Ph.D.
Community art-making contributes to autonomy and reinforces a sense of place or belonging. Images and designs are often restorative reminders of cultures and places other than where individuals or communities are currently located. Bauer’s research into the oral traditions of California Indians shows how they retained knowledge and identity through stories that were place-centered rather than event-centered. Cordova’s philosophy of bounded space explains individual and community awareness and one’s close relationship with the land where one lives. Cordova views the interaction of land and people as sacred, participatory, and intentional.

The choice of images created within a community may express an ideal, an identity, or validate cultural traditions. It can also serve as the mediator or welcoming host to other communities that are unfamiliar with a culture and its social issues and norms. Thus art becomes what Suzanne Langer describes as the import to deeper understanding between one culture and another. While Gray’s intention for the Babushka Project was to highlight and protest the larger community’s right to dictate what culture is, and Joseph’s article amplifies the importance of public art in creating empowerment within oppressed communities, the action of art-making and meaning-making can also serve as the visual conversation between individuals and groups. Such a conversation becomes culture-building, flowing into other areas of kinship.

As this workshop attempts to portray how art-making and meaning-making form the foundation of individual and group community-building, we acknowledge the current desperate need for diverse cultures and diverse personalities to unify and build a future that reduces bias, stigma, and marginalization of those who are perceived as different. The action of art-making becomes similar to Efland’s assertion that art works to open a “reflective intelligence” which may lead to consideration of alternative ways of knowing in the world. Using Pat Allen’s Open Studio Project (OSP) model to create intention and practice respectful witness, this workshop will focus on the impact of art as a transformative experience for the individual and the community and utilizes a similar philosophy of creating a sense of place by asking participants to create small houses as “Peace Houses.”

Participants will then create mini-communities, exploring issues of honoring perspectives, connecting, promoting a sense of self-agency, inspiring communication beyond language, and facilitating change through shared experience. The process becomes a way to cognitively bind the action of creating a space for peace with an intention to have that space exist within an imagined community of wellness. Such a community experience creates a space for taking risks and exploring solutions.

Worker Track
Saturday, March 28, 2020
2:15 – 6PM
3 CEs
Room 205
Presentation #98

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