The Commmunity Loom and Open Source Art

Childrens' touch

Children Making Art

My last post ended talking about Open Source Art and how it can be used to

  • Raise awarness about art and the creative process
  • Involve your followers inspiring them to discover their own creative vision
  • Include them in your creative process
  • Build Community and in so doing lead your tribe

A couple of weekends ago when I visited the Venus exhibition in Superior WI I got to see first hand real Open Source Art and heard from participants what it did for them. The Venus exhibit is a collaborative event between fiber artists and poets and one key part  of the event is a large community loom hanging from the ceiling out side the exhibit’s gallery. What I saw and heard was an amazing mash-up of art and community building which included both artists and people from the community of Superior.

Imagination at work

Imagination at work

One story is worth sharing because of its link to the concept of open source art and tribes. Not to long after the exhibit opened and the community loom was hung Erika one of the resident artists discovered a young woman and her children at work on the loom, the kids were gleefully adding to the loom what ever they could find from the basket of materials sitting at the base of the loom. Instead of worrying about what the kids would do Erika engaged them and their mom and in the process was learned that they lived down the block from the studio coop and had never had the opportunity to “do” art nor did the mom ever feel she was creative or able to expose the kids to art. Erika encouraged the kids and their mom, in the end the family spent several hours at the loom and left with an entirely different view of themselves and their world.

By engaging this family, encouraging them and empowering them to create Erika lifted the veil of mystery from the creative process. That young family has returned with friends who also contributed to the loom…in the end more people learned about art and themselves.

The power within Open Source is its’ ability to raise awareness and in the process value, through inclusion. Open Source Art builds community through involvement  in much the same way that urban planners do when engaging neighborhoods and coaching them through change. In the end everybody benefits.

The Community Loom was not the only thing I have noticed about this project. Underlying the Loom is the

foundation of collaboration that ties the entire event together. Willingness to collaborate, is the first step to community building. By bringing together two very diverse art forms the project showed the world the meaning of hope and faith and the importance of having faith when approaching the unknown. The willingness of these artists to take the risk they did opened the door and invited those lurking around the fringe to join the adventure and the conversation.

That conversation can now be about value, about diversity, and most of all about the existence in us all of the fire of passion.

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