September 26, 2017

Breathe Deeply, It’s Inspiration

Today I find myself thinking about inspiration.  I am thinking about the ways that the life of my spirit somehow infuses the paintings that stir my heart and the deep emotions that capture me when I see community come alive. Here is a story that inspires me and gives me passion about the power of community. The … read more

How Do We Know What Beauty Is?

Art is a process and it is a product.  They cannot be separated and eventually we wind up asking the question, “Does this painting, this song, this sculpture work? Is there beauty?” In community life we face the same questions.  “How do we recognize or describe the beauty of community?  How do we know when … read more

Dancing Around the Tree of Life

How do life and art come together?  How do we live out the art of community? This painting is TheTree of Life.  It is a gnarly cypress tree near the pier at the Village of St. Simons, Georgia.  It attracts children who climb in its whorled branches.  It looks like it has been there a … read more

The Messy Art of Community Building

Creating better and evermore expensive and extensive systems of social change will seldom deliver promised success.  We don’t live or thrive in tightly designed and imposed systems of social change.  Peter Block wrote, “It is out of the subjectivity and complexity of life that transformation emerges.”  Painting and community building are messy forms of art.  … read more

The Art and Magic of Community

Today starts the 15-day blogothon of C4 Atlanta, which is a website that supports artists of all kinds.  To participate we all commit to writing a blog each day and to read two other blogs. C4 asked the question, “What do you want to be remembered for?”  At 66 that is already on my mind.  … read more

Creating Community: Living Boldly Without Fear

I saw an artist, who is also a character, painting.  Like his paintings or not (it did not seem to matter to him).  He painted with joy.  He slapped the paint on his large canvas.  He danced to joyful music while he painted.  The secret, Jonas said in his video Letting Go, is to “give up results, … read more

Change that Helps and Does Not Hurt

I have been asking myself.  “Are our efforts to create better communities undermining the ability of residents to create their own communities? Can we do more good and less harm?” Most of you reading this share an interest in making the world a better place to live for all of us, particularly those who have … read more

First, Grill Some Chickens

Where Community Building Begins… Where does the passion and energy for building community come from?  How can we tap into that passion and energy? When I often ask these questions to groups that have come together to build a stronger community, the responses often go back to early family memories.  They also go back to … read more

Building Community? Look for joy!

Organizations, expertise, and access to plenty of data can be important elements to improve struggling communities.   Unfortunately, this help can also undermine community building and discourage residents.  There is a better way to start. I propose we spend more time looking for community joy.  Joy in a community or in any social system usually indicates … read more

What if everyone were sacred?

Each person is sacred and worthy of reverence and respect.  Sadly, we often live our lives unaware of how sacred each of us is and how intertwined our lives are. The “Stone Sisters,” inspired by a Zimbabwe stone sculpture by Agnes Nyanhongo in the Atlanta airport, represents African women telling their stories. These women are sacred. The sculptor … read more