no. 17: Art, Culture, Community

“Cultural projects are not simply a luxury but play a fundamental role in reviving the fortunes and boosting the prospects of poor, minority and other disadvantaged communities. The links between the economic health of a community and the quality of its social bonds are becoming increasingly clear. Robert Putnam and other sociologists have supplied convincing evidence that strong social connections are necessary ingredients of economic success.”

Tom Borrup

When thinking about Wheaties’ Art project, I get excited thinking about all the positive effects it can produce for Wheat Ridge and our community members. Tom Borrup, in an article on “5 WAYS ARTS PROJECTS CAN IMPROVE STRUGGLING COMMUNITIES”, gives examples of how other communities use each of the 5 ways to improve their communities.

Now, I’m not saying Wheat Ridge is struggling, needs improvement, poor, or disadvantaged, but I think it can’t hurt to keep up on our healthy “behaviors” to keep Wheat Ridge thriving!

Let’s try to think of ways we already, or could, fulfill each area in our community!

  1. PROMOTE INTERACTION IN PUBLIC SPACE. This could be things like marketplaces and public spaces. I’m thinking of our farmer’s markets and the greenbelt. Can you think of more?

  2. INCREASE CIVIC PARTICIPATION THROUGH CELEBRATIONS. I’m thinking of the Carnation Festival here. What else could we do? Maybe a history tour? I heard recently that we have a mid-century tour of homes; how cool is that! What else can you think of?

  3. ENGAGE YOUTH IN THE COMMUNITY. Here we could engage our schools, libraries, and our amazing recreation center more in our current city activities. What about starting an Artists for Humanity- Wheat Ridge chapter?

  4. PROMOTE THE POWER AND PRESERVATION OF PLACE. Our mural project here!!! Involving the community in community projects gives ownership to the community members. This is why our project is so exciting to me! Other activities such as bridge and park clean up events can do the trick too!

  5. BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN THE CIVIC AGENDA. We have so many great opportunities to get involved in our city. You can get elected or appointed to boards and commissions and even run for city council! If you want to volunteer more behind the scenes, there are plenty of opportunities ranging from the cultural commission to Localworks to the Kiwanis Club. Here’s a link to find more:

I hope this post sparked you to become involved, or continue to be involved, in our great community. Happy and Healthy Homes to you all!

Author: Stacey Teegardin, 2018 Wheatie

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