Listening Tour Concept (page 2 of 3)
The key questions that this process will seek
to explore include:
• Is there an opportunity to create a larger
field of interest in this work?
• What are the salient characteristics of successful
projects that collaboratively embrace arts, culture, public
space, and community development as tools for economic change
in distressed communities?
• Are there common challenges and opportunities that
confront practitioners employing cross- field collaborative
• Are there common circumstances and leadership skills
that lead to meaningful progress in this field?
• Are there specific types of technical assistance that
could be provided to projects in this field that would facilitate
progress towards goals?
• What, if anything, can be done to accelerate the development
and implementation of these collaborative projects? Or, is
there a natural progression of time and relationship-building
necessary to a successful outcome?
The Listening Tour will use the documentary "Downside
UP" as its primary vehicle to illustrate one example of an innovative
approach combining art, culture, and community development for
economic renewal. "Downside UP" is an hour long documentary
about America's largest museum of contemporary art the Massachusetts
Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) which opened in 1998
in an abandoned factory located in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Told primarily through the eyes of the filmmaker Nancy Kelly
and her family, most who worked in the factory before it closed,
"Downside UP" renders the subtle changes in the spirit of a
region from the intimate view of the kitchen table. While "Downside
UP" is being used as a vehicle to stimulate thinking and discussion
regarding arts, culture, and economic revitalization, it is
largely a story about hope the tentative, dangerous nature
of hope in a town that was widely viewed as hopeless. Not too
unlike many cities and neighborhoods in urban America today.
Each of the selected sites will receive a Planning
Grant to participate in the "Downside UP" Listening
Tour, which will involve organizing a screening of "Downside
UP." The screening will resemble a movie-going experience.
It will take place in an enjoyable atmosphere: a room, screening
room or theater with comfortable seating, controllable lighting,
a good screen and good sound system. A facilitated discussion
with a small, invited group will be part of the screening process.
The gathering opportunity will be a springboard
to stimulate the thinking of community members and local practitioners
regarding the general topic of innovative approaches to community
renewal and more specifically the work that they are engaged
in locally. The audience for these sessions is intended to include
a cross-section of the general public and local practitioners
from different sectors (public, private, non-profit). These
practitioners will be engaged on various levels with current
or potential projects.