In 2019 the community saw an upswell in our neighbors stepping up to take on creative solutions to meet an uproar in needs left behind by the COVID-19 pandemic. Community Builders sought to highlight these stories of community building to bring some light to our community at this dark time, showcasing our community’s strength and how resiliency can be found through community service.
We called this project Stories of Resiliency.
The showcase was met with resounding support and gratitude, and we wanted to give it another shot, but this time to showcase community arts.
Community Builders reached out to six amazing Monterey County-based inspirational arts organizations. We learn across these stories the importance of the arts in the community, and of the everydayness of creative expression and how it affects our daily lives; that you don’t need to be an “artist” to create art or to be creative. Hijos del Sol and Artist Ink both examine why we ought to be giving creative voice to our youth, that freedom to explore themselves, their communities and the stories often left untold. We discuss the importance of diversity in our community and the way local arts organizations are working to build a more inclusive Monterey County. We also uncover the work of the unsung heroes that make all this work happen: the staff and volunteers who make the mission of these organizations possible; the community leaders who saw a need they were personally affected by and invested back into their community, to close these gaps and create opportunities for the next generation.
We hope these stories bring a little inspiration to you and that you consider giving back to these organizations, whether by volunteering, donating, or by simply taking the time to enjoy the amazing works they produce–the murals, art pieces, shows and events they produce across Monterey County.
It is as First Night Executive Director Ellen Martin tells us, “It's hard to image a place that has no art program, right?”
“The arts can teach us so much in the ways that the arts engage us in such a beautiful way to participate and to collaborate…the arts show us who we are. In this world today, all of us are included no matter who we are and that we are celebrating each other and our cultural divisions.”
“It’s magical,” Dr. Hasegawa smiles. “All of those people coming together…just having that many people work on something for fifteen weeks and then delivering a concert is pretty special…I just love this community of people.”