We create art that is based on the lives of our neighbors. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach to this, but we do follow a general process. First, we interview a subject "neighbor", possibly multiple times, and try to get an accurate sense of what their life is like. We then sit down as a team and discuss the ideas and themes that stand out to us from those interviews. Each artist in the collective spends time developing their own ideas regarding what their contribution will be, and we discuss what media will best portray that neighbor and their life. Then we spend time (weeks, and possibly months) creating art, often with the subject neighbor's input based on the ideas that have come out of this process of getting to know them better. What you see/read/hear on this site is the product of that process of getting to know one of our neighbors.
There is a short story podcast about a man who used his poetry that he stapled to telephone poles in his neighborhood to eventually lead a community organization in which people who had lived next to each other for years but never really knew one another now are close friends. Neighbors that were now walking down the street and waving, saying hello, and stopping to catch up. It was a real neighborhood because of one man’s art.
In a country that sometimes feels entirely overwhelming with ad campaigns, tragedies, and political hail storms, it’s difficult to remember that we’re all human, we’re all trying to be okay. Maybe something more than okay, maybe we’re all trying to reach out, but how do we do that in a world that is digital, so cold? Something about Facebook feels sterile, text messages aren’t personal, and birthday cards just don’t show up in the mail anymore. When you’d once see your neighbor while walking to check your mailbox, now you see each other through mirrors.
This project came together out of a desire to know more about one another. To knock on the door of the people surrounding us and make tangible connections again. Neighborhood Arts Collective was created out of need, something we felt was necessary and important in a nation torn apart by differences and fear. What’s missing? Empathy.
As we started to talk about how we’d create this living network we wanted to make it authentic and honest. By genuinely caring about the ones around us, by wanting to find common threads in each neighborhood, town, and city, we began to weave together stories with different mediums. Sort of the opposite of a caricature, we went in-depth in the heart and soul of our neighbors and created art from their lives. Each of us brings a different talent to the table, some of us compose music, some of us write, some of us capture moments in time, and some of us paint or build. We’re all friends, neighbors, and family. We hope you see this as a window into your own community, that at the end of the day, we’re so much more alike than we are different.