Oct 10, 2019


conNECKtedTOO’s first NewsLetter was drawing a comparison between a Tiny Business owner/manager and an artist. “Both attempt to expand the scope of their goals and their vision”, we wrote. Today, well into the project, we are exploring further by bringing the notion of “cluster” to that of “TB”Tiny Business. Because, if TBs anchor a neighborhood, they are defined by it. When the neighborhood changes without its input, the Tiny Business suffers. A cluster of TBs will carry the texture, the flavor, the color, the sounds of the neighborhood it belongs to. Our next newsletter will start to bring you the WORDS, THOUGHTS, HOPES and PROPOSALS of Tiny Businesses.

Last summer, at the time of “conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation”, the USDAC (United States Department of Arts and Culture) exposed us to the concept of Cultural Impact. Here is the premise: the same way a TB and a neighborhood are a symbiotic pair and define a local culture, the same way an aggression on either one will impact that culture. conNECKtedTOO has now been designated as a . Which means that conNECKtedTOO is “joining thousands of people who understand that cultural democracy needs all our voices and all our creativity – all across the US, from the smallest town to the largest village.” An is a group of four or more individuals committed to enacting USDAC values in their community. The USDAC is building a nationwide network of Outposts, providing technical assistance and advice in local cultural organizing, connecting Outposts nationally to learn with and from each other, and amplifying local efforts to shift culture toward empathy, equity, and belonging.

We are first using art in all its forms as a tool to communicate, to wake up and crystallize memories, to anchor stories, sounds, smells and history. Then with other local artists we will amplify the voices and visibility of today’s most authentic and threatened species: TINY BUSINESSES. We will work together to strengthen the culture they carry, shield them from structural violence in its many shapes and imagine the long term. This is an adventure for artists, for the community, for Tiny Businesses, hopefully for youth, other businesses and Government.

We clearly see the difficulties of collaboration. The priorities of what we call Communities relate to the needs of one’s family or to events which concern one’s social group. Artists are on a journey as observers/actors/fabricators and searching for unknown representations, communications or transformations. Educators concentrate on the needs of students. Activists’ priorities are dictated by political organizing. Relationship to work and money need to be exposed. An invitation is never enough. And silence is a response that is not satisfying. However it is good to know that THE TIME IT MAY TAKE TO CREATE TOGETHER A COMMON GROUND, IS SHORTER THAN the time it takes elected OFFICIALS to understand the needs for advancing MASS TRANSIT in Charleston, or an EQUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL. Collaboration across races and generations is a worthy cause to try and stick to it. Social Justice and Community Building depend on never stopping, with one’s own tools.

Therefore our ‘ART TOOLS’ become links and unifiers, generating bonds and facilitating inclusiveness in decision processes. They CHALLENGE AND BALANCE the power of money. They must inspire what we call “Imaginings” and provide youths with ways to belong in their environment.