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Groups partner to pursue arts-based community development
PHOTO: William Payne
UMD’s School of Fine Arts and a Minneapolis arts group have joined forces with the Bush Foundation to launch the Creative Community Leadership Institute, it was announced Wednesday.
The group was formed to connect a variety of Twin Ports community leaders who use arts-based strategies to advance positive change. It includes a “cohort” of 25 persons who will work together to integrate the arts throughout the community.
“We value you and your passion for arts-based community development,” said William Payne, dean of UMD’s School of Fine Arts. The goal is to create a network of leaders from a cross section of the community who are trained to embrace the power of the creative process, he said.
“This institute is not about making art – it’s about making community. It is about the integration of the creative process as a way of finding innovative and lasting solutions to the challenges this community will face in the 21st century,” Payne said.
A predecessor Creative Community Leadership Institute was founded during 2002 by Intermedia Arts of Minneapolis, a partner in the Duluth project. It is one of a handful of programs nationwide that develops and connects community leaders who are advancing change through arts-based strategies. It has developed a three-month program of hands-on workshops and on-site experiences to train cohort members.
“There’s truly something special happening here – a deep understanding that art and culture are a valuable resource in creating vibrant communities,” said Theresa Sweetland, executive/artistic director of the Minneapolis group. “We can’t wait to learn more about the activities, projects and initiatives happening here.”
The work must be community-defined and community-driven, she said.
Although arts-based community development won’t replace taconite mines or other large industries, it will create a “quality of place,” which is very important to younger people, said cohort member John Heino, who also serves as a commissioner on the Duluth Economic Development Authority.
Beyond community development, Payne is hopeful the effort will identify ways local artists can make a living by using their skills so they can afford to remain in the region.
During the coming year, he and the group hope to raise $100,000 to ensure the effort has sufficient financial resources to continue.
“The resources are out there to make it happen,” he said.
The cohort members are Julie Cheng, tax site program coordinator, Community Action Duluth; Carl Crawford, intercultural center coordinator, Lake Superior College; Tony Cuneo, executive director, Zeppa Foundation/Zeitgeist Arts; Sarah Curtiss, coordinator, Mending the Sacred Hoop, Cloquet; Anne Dugan, curator, Duluth Art Institute; Laura Gapske, legal advocate, Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, Superior; Jamie Harvie, executive director, International Student Friendship Ministries (ISF), Duluth; John Heino, photographer/musician, Duluth; Emily Larson, Duluth city councilor and non profit consultant; Victor Makes Room For Them, cultural consultant, American Indian Community Housing Organization, Duluth; Kathy McTavish, cellist/composer/new media artist, Duluth; Erika Mock, artist-owner, Textiles for Body and Soul and director of Phantom Galleries Superior; Muskadee Montano, coordinator, University of Minnesota Duluth Social Work, Duluth; Ginga Newton, TrueNorth AmeriCorps with Spirit Valley Youth Center and Taproom bartender with Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth; Tina Olson, co-director, Mending the Sacred Hoop, Duluth; Sheila Packa, writing instructor, Lake Superior College; Crystal Pelkey, producing director, Duluth Playhouse - Underground Theater; Jim Perlman, editor and publisher, Holy Cow! Press, Duluth; Rebecca Lynn Petersen, executive director, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra; Jeredt Runions, artist/musician, Superior; Jodi Slick, CEO, Ecolibrium3, Duluth; Karen Sunderman, producer, WDSE-TV; Jessica Tillman, administrative information specialist, Duluth City Hall - Office of Mayor Ness; Leigh Wright, lieutenant, Duluth Police Department; Tony Zappa, managerial assistant, Lake Superior Art Glass, Duluth.
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