New Village Press News

February 22nd, 2008

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: Newsletters— Lynne Elizabeth @ 1:02 pm

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Dear Friends of New Village Press,

What a joy it is to feel our nation waking up to the stirrings of its heart. Hope renewed for a brighter, more compassionate future. A dream being shared that we can create a peaceful and democratic society.

The theme of our newest issue of New Village Online is “A Festival of Democracy,” the idea behind it being that social change is not so much a task for wise leaders as it is a task for creative citizens. Every person has not only the right to contribute to the vision of the world they want, every citizen has creative abilities to tap in describing that vision.


Contributors to this issue, Arlene Goldbard and Maryo Gard Ewell, point out how community-based arts in both modern and historic forms are brilliant vehicles through which citizens can express themselves. Arlene’s essay, “The Culture of Politics,” and Maryo’s speech, “Who Walks with You?” show potentials and models for engaging social imagination and involving more people, including children, in meaningful democratic experiences.

Our most recent titles, too, offer guidance for engaging citizenry in finding their creative power in building the communities they desire. Video clips from the double book launch celebration for Building Commons and Community and Undoing the Silence; Six Tools for Social Change Writing can now be seen in our Video/Audio section of the Commons – hear Carl Anthony and Linda Maio remembering community builder Karl Linn and listen to Louise Dunlap describe the cultural silencing we can learn to overcome.

Creative citizenry can also be seen at work in a short video by student architects from Louisiana State University assembling the first two houses in New Orleans’ lower Ninth Ward last winter.

You can now subscribe to our blog and get email notices of new postings. And don’t forget to check our Calendar. We welcome feedback and news of what’s inspiring to you.

In community,

Lynne Elizabeth Lynne

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One Response to “New Village Press News”

  1. The Arlene Goldbard and Maryo Gard Ewell essays complement each other in several ways. Thank you for making them available to us Lynne.

    I benefited from the historic context provided by Ewell’s contribution: it substantiated Goldbard’s vision; at the same time Goldbard’s essay added an urgency to this discussion.

    This area of inquiry is somewhat new to me and I have little to contribute, but I began to wonder if reversing the perspective from Goldbard’s “culture of politics” to the “politics of culture,” would lead to speculations worthy of sharing.

    For me the “politics of culture” conjured up the following:
    • art institutions removed from the public arena except as terminals/destinations of consumption –
    • this is in part due to these institution’s subservient role in the system of unequal distribution of wealth –
    • which reinforces “art” as a sphere removed from everyday life –
    • and this in turn forces the “artist” to perform as a “catalyst” – in both beneficial and destructive ways, individually and communally.

    All of these thoughts assume the narrow definition of culture as commodity, and possibly, “anti-commodity.”

    The notion of culture in its expansive mode, as the context of a peoples’ life together, presents further speculations regarding the notion of the “politics of culture.” What comes to mind? – Individualism, rivalry, “roles” as definition of persona, scarcity of physical and spiritual resources – ultimately a deeply “disturbed” society, that is one out of harmony.

    So is it valid to conceive of the “culture of politics” introduced into the “politics of culture”– like a germ introduced to a petri dish – and if so, what exactly are we accomplishing?

    In other words, the aims of the “community artist” can be therapeutic in the acute disharmonies we currently suffer, however, the chronic situation still needs to be addressed. And is there a role for the “community artist” in that situation? And if so, what would it look like?

    Comment by Bernard Marszalek — February 27, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

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