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Essays

These are articles, essays and blog posts written by members of the NAS team and alumni of our programs.

Why we do it

And why you should too. When you’ve been around for as long as we have,…

4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Continuing Education Program

Should I go to graduate school? Is there an online program I can do while…

An Invitation To Community: Being Yourself

In our last post of this series on community, Jordan Reeves shares his moving reflections…

Join the Party!

Ready to dance? Taneisha Duggan shares her reflections on the power of community and invites…

The Fable of One Turtle and Four Humans: A Story of Community

How did the turtle cross the road? The answer according to Greg Milo: thanks to…

Growing Together

Laura Gisler shares a beautiful meditation on what community means to her through these drawings…

The World Is Your Classroom (Or Gym)

Naomi Even-Aberle introduces us to her community: her gym. She shares how impactful it can…

Part of Something Bigger

Jaclyn Roessel reflects on the first time she felt like a part of a community, when she was 12 years old and had her Kinaaldá ceremony, in which she became a woman and felt the kinship of not only her nuclear family, but a larger tapestry of community members.

A Real Community Will Stretch You

What are the qualities of a rubber band? Flexibility: the ability to bend without breaking.…

Finding Magic In Community

  Sometimes joining a new community can open up new, magical worlds that you never…

I know you won’t judge me

Dearest Sanctuaries,  I deeply appreciate the love, compassion, and care with which you treat me.…

You’re the best

Dear Arts Wisconsin, I’m writing this letter to let you know that I love you.…

I am still feeling the same glow

  A patron, artist, writer and poet shares: Dear Carrack Gallery, I’d like to thank…

Love, Hate & Design Research

There are some very successful design researchers who routinely ask customers to write love notes or break up notes to their brands. This creative and fun approach can (often unwittingly) get powerful insight into the perceptions of customers.

Winter is Coming: What the Culture Sector Needs to Worry About Now

I. Predicting the Unpredictable The former NEA Chair Rocco Landesman says he doesn’t see anything…

Community of place

The root of this definition for me is community of place, because it is in…

Liberty

In Todd, NC in the month of June, community means preparing for the annual “Liberty…

The duty of community

This comes from one of the greatest men of the 20th century, a personal role…

Community is natural. But we’re losing it.

We talk about community a lot. The word gets thrown around so much that it…

A practice of commitment

I’ve been noticing a trend that many of my friends and colleagues will, after having…

Community within

It signifies change that helps individuals to visually express feelings and emotions, which are difficult…

Actively making a place better

The Reformed Protestant congregation hung 49 rainbow flags along the railing of the church in…

Another word

Our community was one of interest and history and the rural/urban exchange informed nearly all…

Community: A Song

Torres Hodges, a musician and Creative Community Fellow describes what community means to him in an original song.

On Community

. When my grandmother’s twinkly eyes and warm, welcoming disposition disappeared along with her memories due…

Complexities that make us whole

Community, as a singular plurality, encompasses the people who, and places that I endear and…

What’s in your box?

Many arts organizations and artists have started these community supported art programs to showcase and support…

Teamwork makes the dream work

Some more open than others. Some with multiple communities inside of one another. Some where…

Principles & Place

In all the work they do, Alternate ROOTS embraces these five principles of working in…

Rural communities and the artists strengthening them

Be sure to travel to the many resources mentioned in the post and comments. Are…

You Need a Community, Not a Network

An HBR article on the importance of strong leadership in guiding community building and the amazing things that can happen when a network transforms into a community.

Community Development in the age of social media

Community building does too, according to this article on The Guardian. From mobilizing communities to…

Near, Far, Wherever You Are

Locality? Your Youtube Cat Video Appreciation community might have something to say about that. Distance…

Choosing the path

The question of whether the arts can truly contribute to community building is still widely…

Arts as Ends, Means, and Everything In Between

In this article, Lyz Crane, Deputy Director of ArtPlace America, dives into the field of arts-based community development – from the practitioner and researcher point of view.

Why The Arts?

Creative Community Fellows alumna, Jess Solomon and artist and director of Art at Work, Marty Pottenger, reflect on the increase of artists who work within communities, and on the unique role that art can play in strengthening and supporting communities.

An Invitation

In “A Model of Identity and Community“, David Pollard shares consultant Aaron Williamson’s definition of…

Communities, Complexities, and Commonalities

They also point out the complex nature of communities: “When a funder or evaluator looks…

Welcome.

We went together. For moral support. We knew nothing about suits. A gorges? What’s that.…

The Importance of Play

Embracing failure is something I’ve worked very hard on in my life. When I first…

The Weight of Failure

During 20 years of employment in organizations and companies, I rarely experienced failure to a…

Failure is an Option?

When conducting recent audience research with colleagues last year, we were stricken to hear from…

Who is Allowed to Fail?

When presented with this question of failure, I ask myself a lot of times who gets to fail and who doesn’t get to fail.

Scarcity, Abundance and Finding Your Own Way to Fail

“Let’s run an experiment and see what happens.” I say these words at least twice…

In a Risk-Averse Society, Failure is Our Way Forward

Classically trained artists and performers are typically possessed of levels of discipline, rigor and tenacity…

Lessons from Failure

Evaluation is not something that should merely be done by oneself, given that your reputation…

Worstward Ho! Is That How You Spell F-A-I-L-U-R-E?

The above quote from Beckett’s penultimate novella has become a popular battle cry of enlightened…

Being a Team Leader

It can be a difficult time of navigating emotions, goals, and setbacks. Now, picture how…

C’mon Celebrate!

Although not all failures are productive, in fact, we’d reason to say that none of…

On Failure and Fun

In this video, Beth Kanter, discusses the prominent resistance to using failure in the nonprofit sector…