Updated: Jul 11

In our Southwest Michigan community, there is a Van Buren county community. Within the county exists our South Haven community and within South Haven many smaller "communities" that I had the pleasure of visiting through Block Parties.

These blocks were made at a community place where many come together for well-being fellowship and fun...Senior Services of Van Buren County.

In a room within the Senior Center, the artists who made them gather weekly to form their own small community. They come together to connect, create, share, and be inspired. This is the beauty of communities, both large and small, and it is the beauty of our community project...creating together and connecting!

Create and Connect is a community art initiative lead by artist Sarah Rydecki in collaboration with the South Haven Center for the Arts, the South Haven Memorial Library, and the Mitten Children's Museum. Dozens of other organizations and community members contributed to this project, and we are so grateful to each of you. The project is made possible through funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts. The project was made possible through funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts.




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There are times when it is hard to know where to begin. A blank piece of paper or in this case, a plain wooden block can seem daunting. Here are two examples of the ways people gave themselves simple starts. Anna began with a photocopy. Dorothy selected a sticker. Then the rest came easier. The ideas began to flow and merge with the art-making materials.

Throughout the project, people took creative leaps and ended up expressing beauty and meaning.

Create and Connect is a community art initiative lead by artist Sarah Rydecki in collaboration with the South Haven Center for the Arts, the South Haven Memorial Library, and the Mitten Children's Museum. Dozens of other organizations and community members contributed to

this project, and we are so grateful to each of you. The project is made possible through funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts. The project was made possible through funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts.



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This one was created at the very first Block Party. I was invited to be part of a Youth Development Company staff retreat day. Prior to art-making, a book I read talked about planting seeds of peace... this is what we hoped to do in our Create and Connect program. This is what YDC staff do every day with young people. Giant trees grow from tiny seeds.


 

Create and Connect is a community art initiative lead by artist Sarah Rydecki in collaboration

with the South Haven Center for the Arts, the South Haven Memorial Library, and the Mitten

Children's Museum. Dozens of other organizations and community members contributed to

this project, and we are so grateful to each of you. The project is made possible through

funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, ArtsMidwest and the National

Endowment for the Arts.The project was made possible through funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts.








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