Retired teacher, working on community development with Susan Takata, Chair, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Wisconsin, Parkside, who was , once my student at California State College, Dominguez Hills, many long years ago. We are presently restructuring our website to make it freely accessible to local, regional, national, and global communities. We do this by using some form of art to invite the groups to share, and then provide the groups with information on our website, from several perspectives, on current issues that affect us all. Susan has used games, and we have both used art exhibits, both in local colleges, and communities, where invitations to the families to share students' work results in more extensive connections between local colleges and communities.
I have considered using pin hole photography as one of our activities. In my web wanderings I came across lomography, and thought that it would provide also a valid art activity to establish and foster in local communities. We focus on things that can be made fairly easily, skills that can be shared, and in the process hope to encourage community members to share with others, so that we can cover a range of skills in handmades that can strengthen community ties.
I've added video work and we've worked with welding and sculpture, the welding safely located insider Otis Art. Instructions for whatever the group chooses to come together for is provided on one of our websites, and that means it takes a while for me to set up our own creations, so that we can make them free. My pin hole work was done with an oatmeal box. We believe strongly in recycling, and in sharing, for we are in danger in our modern metropolitan areas of losing long traditions of making things by hand, and losing ourselves in creative work that helps to soften and heal some of the stresses in today's world.
And we are in danger of losing the enrichment offered by so many of our members who once participated in local chamber orchestras, public art in gardens and parks, and the solace that local communities, either geographically or on the web, bring to their members. Neighbors are in real danger in large metropolitan areas of no longer knowing who their neighbors are. People are in danger of finding themselves isolated, with no close friends or family nearby.
Humans like and need other humans. Humans can take only so much stress. Susan and I will start a number of groups in local communities, but our primary hope is that some of our contacts will take off on their own.
Susan and I are presently focused on the 2012 elections in the U.S. And the first group ready to start will probably be Cats who Crochet in Los Angeles, because it was our first request. I'm a knitter, but free form fits our needs best, and is best learned with crochet. After that, we'll add knitting, and Susan is going to add groups in her community in Wisconsin who can aid in strengthening community participation in aspects of community policing.
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