Where do you make “high-quality connections”? And, do the arts fuel positive values?

n her final story last week, Christine Gloss talks about the generative power of art and place. She focuses on the Artist Village in northwest Detroit — a combination meeting place, café for performance art, and art gallery for neighborhood artists.
    Muralist Chazz Miller conceived the Artist Village to give local youth a positive place to belong and connect. As Christine notes, Miller “knows the power of art to transform—not just objects, but people.”
    In Miller’s words, “If you can save just one young person’s life, or just inspire them to get on the right track, then we’re doing our job.”
    Christine relates a touching story of Tony, a neighborhood youth who was saved, going from defiance to belonging, transformed through the artistic experience and his relationship with Chazz. Tony is also “paying it forward” by drawing in friends from the neighborhood.
    My colleague Jane Dutton would call the Artist Village a place for generating “high-quality connections.” These connections are built on respectful engagement, enabling others to do well, building trust, and play — all ingredients in evidence at the Artist Village.
    Of course, just as Christine’s “greeting the greeter” is a metaphor of a larger guiding principle (see Tuesday’s OurValues.org story), the Artist Village is a metaphor for the powerful role of place and human moments — and the values-based choices we make to create (or not create) high-quality connections in our lives.
    A few weeks ago here at OurValues.org, we explored the possibility of art to teach values, illustrated by the use of Robert Frost’s poetry. Christine’s story (and metaphor) of the Artist Village is proof that this possibility can become reality.

    Do you have stories of other places like the Artist Village? Can participating in programs like the Artist Village, or poetry, teach values?
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