At the ArtPlace 2019 Annual Summit, hundreds of grantees, funders, staff, and friends met for three days in Jackson, Mississippi, as one community. We explored themes of healing through music, spoken word, food, visual and performing arts, and—most compelling—listening. We heard members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians describe the history of their land, which we were all gathering on.
We listened to Jackson's mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba emphasize the importance of community-owned cooperatives to a city's stability and prosperous future. We heard Lori Pourier of First Peoples Fund describe the alliances and struggles shared by indigenous people and the Black community, and Carlton Turner of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production illustrate a powerful dimension of creative placemaking when he said, "If food is life, then land is liberation."
We shared meals, laughter, and tears; we traded stories, phone numbers, and epiphanies; we enjoyed warm Mississippi evenings in the soft green grass. We found that our coming together was an act of healing in itself.
Concurrently, we celebrated the release of two new ArtPlace resources: our latest field scan, "Cultivating Creativity: Exploring Arts & Culture in Community Food Systems Transformation," and the brief "Working with Artists to Deepen Impact." The field scan, produced in partnership with DAISA Enterprises, explores how arts and cultural practices can be better leveraged to create equitable and place-based agriculture and food systems change across the country, in rural, tribal, and urban settings. The brief, produced with our partners at PolicyLink, is the first in a series that will document lessons and stories from our Community Development Investments program. The new website www.communitydevelopment.art will host it and future briefs, along with other stories and resources about arts, culture, and community development.
Whether you joined us for this memorable event in Jackson or online, or are just tuning in now, we invite you to take a look back on the ArtPlace 2019 Annual Summit through these images, our instagram stories, and videos. Please feel welcome to use them in your own social media as you like by using the #ArtPlaceSummit hashtag and crediting ArtPlace America and Lydia Brewer Photography.
Also, keep an eye out for interviews, short films, and other content from our media partners Forecast, Grist, and Shelterforce and on the ArtPlace blog and social media in the coming weeks and months.
We hope you will take their healing messages with you into the important work you do in your community.