Archive for December, 2009

Today you get 3 semi-related snippets of thought:

First, I’ve attached my Culture Making book review for those who are interested.

Next, I’m reading a book called Crazy Love, and it alerted me to the following video, which I thought worth posting here.

(If the audio isn’t good on this one, try watching it here.)

And finally, a thought on horizons. In Culture Making, Crouch makes the argument that the cultural artifacts we create set the horizons of what is possible. For instance, the interstate highway system made some things possible that weren’t before (traveling across country in days), but it has made other things nearly impossible (traveling by horseback, or at least horse & buggy).

I found it interesting that in the first week of working here at Blacktop Creative, I felt more creative. Just being in this environment seemed to broaden the very narrow horizons of my creativity, inspiring me to write  witty emails and arrange the coasters on the lunch room table in unique shapes & piles. Little things, for sure, but for a task-completion guru like myself, significant.

For me, this experience supported Crouch’s proposition. It’s not just what we believe or do that changes the world. It’s also what we create. The culture that has been intentionally developed here at Blacktop broadens the horizons of what is possible creatively. In previous work environments, I felt no such inspiration, and even working at home in our gorgeous loft didn’t bring that about to the same degree. But being in a place where humble, creative collaboration is the norm did.

So in case you haven’t picked up on this yet, we think creativity matters. 🙂


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Art & Culture

So Traci and I have been reading through Andy Crouche’s “Culture Making” and have been intrigued and enlightened in many ways.

I think one of the things that has caught my attention as we continue developing our skills as artists and relationships within our artistic neighborhood, is that I have been SO guilty of thinking of Culture with a capitol C as if there was really only one culture. Of course we always think there are several other cultures outside of our country, and perhaps we would dare to venture out and say that there are sub cultures here within our country, but most people would stop short of stating that their are LOTS of cultures all around us in our daily lives. But if we think about it, it really is true.

The KC Crossroads Arts District
The KC Crossroads Arts District

Currently, we live in the Crossroads Arts District near downtown Kansas City, but previously we lived out in the burbs south of town. If you would have asked me several years ago if there were different cultures all around me, I would have probably said “maybe, but not really sure… no.” But I can tell you from experience, that moving to the Crossroads, its clearly a different culture down here from the burbs of KC. Not in any bad way either, in fact after living here for over a year and getting plugged into our community, I have to say I MUCH prefer this culture to anything KC has ever had to offer. Furthermore, if you travel just a FEW blocks north past 670, you enter into a different culture altogether…the downtown culture which has a completely different vibe, hustle and bustle, and people groups than the Crossroads. Westport is only 5 minutes south of here and is also a very well known art community, but even between the two art communities, there is a distinct difference.

So What’s Your Point?!

What’s my point?  Just to say that even within one city, or section of a city, or specific communities like an art community, there are little culture’s all around us. The culture at Mildred’s Coffee House in the Crossroads is different than Broadway Cafe in Westport, which is different than Latte Land on the Plaza which is different than Scooter’s downtown. We all live in pockets of culture, not just one Culture.

As an artist, I dont need to influence the whole of culture, I only need to influence the culture that Im in, the folks who are all around me everyday, the folks who I am already developing relationships with, friendships with, and artistic partnerships with. This is the culture that I can not only relate with, but influence. If I see something in my cultural world that could use help, I dont have to wait for the government, or some pop culture idol, or humanitarian aid foundation to do something, I can make a difference and impart a positive change in my cultural worlds precisely because I am a part of it, related to it, and engaged in it.

What about your cultural worlds? Do you know what they are? Are you engaged in them or avoiding them?

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