While at the Creative Communities Fellows Impact House, we were learning about design thinking. We were into day one of this part of the curriculum, and one of the fellows likened himself to that of a service provider and said that we all provide the communities we serve with different creative services. I raised my hand and said, “I am not a service provider, and I don’t work for communities, I work with them.” There was much debate about this. Several people said that this was a case of semantics, that it was just a different choice of words. For me, this is beyond semantics. The way we talk about our work gives insight into the intention and aesthetic choices we make when working with communities. There are aesthetic differences in working for or with communities.
Growing up, the public library was a place that allowed Polly Carl, Director & Editor of HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons, to find belonging and access imagination. This introduction to a commons model is something that she’s carried with her and influences all that she brings as a leader to the organization. The commons model is all about inclusivity. Carl honors and encourages this through her work at HowlRound.