“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” — Meg Wheatley
The Realm & Room Of Belonging (3 min read)
For those that do not know, I recently wrote a book, called Tao Of Maceo, there is more information about it below. With the release I have been on a book tour, this means that I am away from LA, and also unable to really engage in the physical operations of Nous Tous Gallery, but the programs have of course continued to run because we have initiated a Working Group, that meets every other week to organize tasks, and talk about the roles of each participant in relationship to the greater mission of the gallery. There are strategy, communications, operations, and administrative teams that are all co-led, and the project is all volunteer run. This past weekend was clean up day at the gallery, where the space was physically re-organized to better serve its function.
Meanwhile, I have begun traveling across North America to different spaces and cities, from book stores, to art galleries, to hotel lobbies, to living rooms, performing and proselytizing about the capacity for art and art spaces to be pillars of community development and health. Back in LA, we are actually doing it, gathering a bunch of would be strangers come together to participate in the art of gathering, what I call Community Practice. To shift where the art lives in a gallery space, from simply being on the walls, to something that exists between people. It is a kin to music produced by an orchestra, and the sensation resonates with an emotional part of us, and allows us to share in the feeling of togetherness. As all art, the product is not always pleasant, sometimes it is discomforting, or confusing, other times it is lovely, but it is nonetheless co-created experience that is most palpable in our breath. This is what we talk about when we try to talk about, a “vibe” or an “ambience” it is something in the atmosphere of a place, maybe trace pheromones, in conjunction with the current and temperature of the air movement. I am not sure how a scientist would make sense of it, but we know it is real.
This shared atmosphere, happens when we have physical proximity, but the features of the space are flexible. Lighting that is natural or not to harsh, relatively amount of space for each person. But beyond the basics, Community Practice doesn’t have to happen in a gallery, or a book store. This week we had TWO gatherings at the same time. I hosted one in downtown LA, as a part of a book event, and there was the scheduled community gathering at Nous Tous. We proved that anywhere can be a community center, a gallery, a shoe store. What matters is that we open ourselves and bring forth our stories, and receive the stories of others, realizing that the Truth, lies somewhere in between us all, and is perhaps out of the grasp of any one of us.
I’ll continue you on my tour facilitating opportunities for people to be reminded of they capacity they have to connect, through art. …
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean” — Ryunosuke Satoro
Separation & Support
One of the challenges I have to grapple with when writing these newsletters is “How much do I share?”
It might seem like I am being very vulnerable in these messages to some, and yet others skeptically read for hidden ulterior motives. To a degree both are true. On the one hand, there is a business function to these emails, I need to tell the story of what it takes to bring people together to have open conversations, and share the challenges along the way so that people have an understanding that it is not easy and we need their support financially and otherwise. …
“What mattered, we couldn’t measure, so we made what we could measure, matter.” — Dan Wagner
Reflecting on End Of Year (3 min read)
Because Citizens Of Culture is a non-profit, we have to do certain kinds of year-end reporting to donor agencies and the government while doing this I naturally get a chance to reflect on the different between what I would consider an important performance indicator, and what we are capable of accurately measuring.
The quantitative picture is clearer than the qualitative one. …