One Thing Learned

What is one thing you have learned so far that you can apply to your future work?

ROGER J. CUMMINGS: One thing I’m learning so far is the ability to synthesize multiple project ideas into one that reflects the concepts of all (or most) . This concept is complex but necessary to save time, money and focuses the project into one workable concept. I learned this from working with large groups/teams  that need to come to some form of consensus where everybody needs to see there ideas reflected and thus feel heard.

CAROLINE KENT: Starting off in one place doesn’t mean you will end up where you predicted you would. Our team has been moving at a fast pace and I really have had to remind myself to keep a loose grip in expected outcomes because that way there is more room for interesting things to manifest. When we started a residency at Southwest High School, I had a plan for an art project, and I have a projection of an outcome that I expect–BUT –I found that what I got out of it was so much more than I realized, so I don’t want to get too tied to what I want to happen and be expectant of the unexpected.

WITT SIASOCO: I’m realizing how much I need people to bounce ideas off of and give me feedback on the planning. I am going to take this new found realization and get more people involved in creatively brainstorming with me over this year.

DIANE WILLOW: Early on in the project I participated in two different design charrette/workshops. The first was the initial charrette/workshop on Minneapolis station areas for the TSAAP that was held at the offices of Hoisington Koegler Group and facilitated by Urban Strategies. The second was a participatory workshop held at Juxtaposition Arts and facilitated by urban planner James Rojas. Through my work in other contexts, these two forms were very familiar to me: the formal inner circle of informed professionals and the extended circle that seeks broader, more inclusive community participation. What I carry with me from these two experiences is the essential role of the advocate in each of these situations and the importance of the persistent voice. This voice may be the one that repeatedly raises the unasked questions in the formal process or states what would appear to be the obvious. It may be the voice that reminds community residents that their lived knowledge is essential knowledge.

WING YOUNG HUIE: I’m learning how much this process of integrating art with city making parallels so many other fields trying to figure out how to shift a long-time practice that has not caught up with a fast-changing culture. I was recently approached by a director of a hospital wellness institute about the challenges of the hospital system in providing health care to a more diverse population that thinks about health in non-western traditional ways. One essential question was: “How can we use art to bridge understandings between the health care staff and the people they serve?” A cultural gulf is felt seemingly in all segments of culture, impacting teachers and students, doctors and patients, politicians and the people. What I’m in the process of understanding, hopefully, is how to go beyond creating an artful experience to one that has tangible impacts.

Artists Roger J. Cummings, Samuel Babatunde Ero-Phillips, and Caroline Kent facilitate Creative CityMaking activities at Southwest High School to engage students in the city planning process for the Linden Hills Small Area Plan.

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