In these challenging times where rancor and divisiveness seems to rule most of our human interaction, it is sometimes not easy to see where there is human connection just for the sake of connecting and expressing. And, in cities it can sometimes feel impossible to find those touch-points of humane and spiritual nourishment.
And that is what made the Future of the City: Arts Symposium at the University of Chicago on June 7 so refreshing. I was unable to personally attend, but have enjoyed watching the excellent video production of their one-day event. You can check out the short and long versions of all of the videos of the day here. I particularly recommend the panel with Carol Colletta, Valuing Culture in the Global City. Carol knows from which she speaks - as the former President of CEO's for Cities and former executive director of Mayors Institute on City Design - she is passionate about cities and the place of creativity within them. I understand she has moved into a new role - leading the charge of ArtPlace, a new national initiative to accelerate creative placemaking across the US. This initiative is a collaboration of some top name national foundations and the NEA. My guess is we will see some exciting news soon.
If you haven't checked out what the NEA is doing for our cities, check out their new Our Town grants. There are some fascinating projects and this will give you great insight into the philosophical and practical direction of the NEA. I think it is the most exciting work focused on creativity coming out of Washington today.