The following blog is written by Lynn Schemm, Creative Coordinator for Appleton Downtown Inc. Don't miss the kick off to Art on the Town as a multi-cultural celebration of life takes over Downtown Appleton, May 19th, 5:00pm to 8:00pm!
Culture. The single word can define us. Give us a sense of belonging.
The dictionary definition of culture reads, “a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period.” However, it is much more than the definition. This one word carries the power to engage, educate, and enrich the quality of life. This one word gives meaning to our past, present, and future. When a community taps into the power of culture and embraces the diversity it brings, that is when it will thrive.
One way the many unique aspects of various cultures can be shown is through artistic expression. Art is a universal language; it can bridge divides within a community. Art acts as a vessel to share stories, bring awareness, and celebrate all cultures. Within the last few years, cultural art has been flourishing in our community thanks to the conscious effort and realization of its impact from community organizations.
Our multicultural integrated world is using the arts as conversation starters and as building blocks to connect cultures. This can occur through something as small as a conversation regarding the cultural art wrapped around the traffic control box while stopped at a street corner in Downtown Appleton. Or it may be through attending larger events such as the May 19 Art on the Town, “Celebrate Culture”, featuring various art forms that include visual arts, dance, and music throughout downtown businesses and outdoor performance spaces. From 5-8 pm that evening, stop by Downtown Appleton to be immersed in community culture, form relationships with others through the arts, and leave feeling empowered by the inclusivity and sense of place created.
Often without realization, cultural art impacts daily life; it builds pride in our own heritage and breaks down cultural barriers. Continuing to utilize the powerful medium of art as a way to express, share, and understand cultures allows us to showcase the diversity of our community. It builds a strong sense ofself, community, and belonging – fully tapping into the power the word culture holds.