United Together…Through the Arts

The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania begins today. Through Thursday, July 28, the Democratic Party will focus on a series of issues to be addressed by various party leaders, celebrities, and political figures, and ultimately will solidify Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for President.

The Convention is held over four days, and each day the DNC has chosen a theme for the party to reflect on as it approves its party platform and its candidate. The theme for each day is as follows:

Monday: United Together
Tuesday: A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families
Wednesday: Working Together
Thursday: Stronger Together

We’ll be following the Democratic Convention throughout the week, to see if / how the party platforms include the arts in their solutions to our country’s future.

With that in mind, we’ll be posting a new blog each day of the convention. For the Democratic Convention, we’ve taken their daily themes and added “…Through the Arts” to demonstrate how the arts can address each day’s topic of choice.

(You can read our posts from the Republican National Convention here, here, here, and here.)

United Together…Through the Arts

Let’s set the scene. It’s a Tuesday evening in February. A group of community members meet in the community hall of a church, or a library, or maybe it’s the Waffle House next to the interstate. The topic of discussion? Saving their community.

This community has seen people move, business close, jobs leave, homes deteriorate, and a Main Street increase only in its population of tumble weeds.

To turn their community around, people need a rallying call. They need something to be proud of, something they can brag about, something they can believe in, participate in, and embrace.

The town can’t attract a new restaurant – who will come to eat? There’s no market for new apartments – who will move there? Building a new park is out of the question – how can they afford that? What can they do?

Someone in the group pipes up — let’s get everyone out of their homes and get them to do something. Let’s let our neighbors create something for their town. To save our community, we need our community.

What did the community choose to do? We’ll let you decide what exactly they did, but suffice it to say, the arts were a part of the solution.

Whether it’s a mural, a concert, a festival, or the repurposing of old facilities, the arts have been the starting place for communities to come together and revitalize their community.

Despite our differences, when we’re faced with hardship, heartbreak, and victory, we rally around each other. In almost every scenario, we enlist the work of our artists to help us process, visualize, and explore our common emotion.

We get people of out their homes to paint a mural on the side of the old pharmacy. We take the musicians who get together every week at John’s house to put on a performance during the July 4 community picnic. We take Aunt Jean’s paintings and hang them on the sparse walls of an empty store front on Main Street.

We use the arts as a vehicle for unity, because our world and lives have a common thread running through it – the urge to create.