How are you using art to change the world?

Being back in the US means more than sharing crazy travel stories with friends over cigars and coffee.  This break has been set aside for reflection on the progress of this project.  What techniques of connecting with people were most effective? What questions ended up being irrelevant? How have the goals and messages changed?

When contemplating these questions and trying to summarize the “progress” made, I must admit: I don’t know how this project is going to end.

Visiting 13 places this year is functioning as the fact-finding and research for a much broader concept.  The vision is to create and implement a holistic system – digital and physical – that will connect artists and social activist groups all over the world and give them the resources to make their community-empowering projects more impactful and sustainable.   

But each day brings new curiosity-piquing material.  Each new friendship is a fountain of sparklingly astute observations.  Each new community provides insight into the elements that are vital for encouraging artists to envision and implement systemic social changes.  That’s why I can’t foresee how the end result will look.  (A book?  A website?  A residency program?  A paper airplane kit?)  And why I have to keep going.

I am okay with not knowing exactly how this project will culminate and coalesce because I completely certain of the motives that launched it.

Artists are doing remarkable and inspiring things all over the world, and the lessons they have learned along the way can help all of us in our own endeavors.  

Take one extraordinary example of an artist who is creating a sustainable system to change the world — French street artist JR.  JR has been using his creative spirit to inspire people to poster their communities with photo portraits, thereby showing the world its true face.  When discussing the results of his Inside Out project, JR points out that art changes the world by changing people.  In his TED Prize talk in 2011, he made a bold wish:

I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world inside out.

Together, we certainly can turn the world inside out, and you are probably already standing up for what you care about.  So tell us below, how are you using your art to change people’s lives and thereby changing the world?  How can we help you?


2 responses to “How are you using art to change the world?

  1. With all the latest hub-bub about Art being added to STEM (soon to be better known as STEAM – look how art makes power!), There is no better time than to, not merely recognize art, thought to reach beyond the norm of the beauty enhancement for a couch to utilize its inherent value and inexorable ties to *everything*. In my recent stint as an artist in residence at a local high school, the students would not have been able to complete the project if it weren’t for their assignments in science, math, and language arts to experience the entire process, start to finish. Art was the carrier for this as they realized that art shapes and expands their critical thinking and communication skills as it informs their decisions, in all that they do. Learn the universal language : )

  2. LOVED this Ted Talk, and ended up spending the next half hour on just smiling and being awed by all the projects and photos. And you’ve helped me begin to think about how I am using my passion for boxing to change people, and how I began by letting it transform ME. I know your project will change you, too, and all the people whose lives you touch. Thanks so much for being who you are and for sharing these kinds of resources with us!

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