Where We Live: Local Art Activates Change

Social justice through music, murals and facebook

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"Dancing with the Saints"
Photo:Julie Dickerson
Steven Holmes
Photo:Chion Wolf
Where We Live: Activating Art for Change
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Where We Live: Activating Art for Change

Recently a vandal broke into St. Paul and St. James Episcopal church in New Haven.  The ransacked the chapel, broken windows and tore a bible. 

So, how did the church community respond?  With a message of forgiveness through music.  Several days later the most valuable stolen items  were returned to the front step.  It’s just one of many examples of local artists promoting social justice, tolerance and change through their work. 

We’ll hear about Music Haven’s program that brings free lessons and instruments to New Haven’s empowerment zone neighborhoods. 

And we talk to a young artist who recently painted a mural of Dancing Saints on the wall of a church in downtown New Haven as part of project to paint murals in homeless shelters and community centers around the country.  

And as public art enters the internet age, we’ll look at ways that social media is empowering artists to spread the word and coordinate large-scale projects that engage the international community.



Music and culture

Thank you for this wonderful show about local arts and culture! I really appreciated this topic, but I have to voice the one complaint I had against this program. As a Hartford-based classical string player and educator, I especially appreciated the story about Music Haven and the great work they are doing with New Haven kids. However, in the story, the journalist characterized classical music concerts as usually taking place in "stuffy concert halls" where the performers where ball gowns and three-piece suits, implying that classical performances are an antiquated format that alienate audiences. I understand the reason this imagery was included to contrast what the Haven Quartet is doing, but I think it's a stereotype that is not entirely fair or accurate. In my experience, most classical performing groups are really trying to reach out and make classical music performances more accessible. It is easier to see a quartet perform in a local church, library or cultural center than in a "stuffy concert hall". Many dedicated performers are doing creative programming, teaming up with educational and cultural programs, and trying to break into new and different venues, in an effort to be heard by people who might otherwise not reach out to go to a classical concert. At a time when major performing organizations are declaring bankruptcy, those of us in the field are trying to help it evolve so that classical music can continue to be an intrinsic part of the culture. Journalists should understand these efforts well, as you struggle with shifting formats and changing demands from your consumers. Again, thank you for highlighting the wonderful program in New Haven, but it would be great if you would also recognize that Music Haven is not operating in a vacuum, but might be a part of a larger movement.