Creative Voices Roundtable #1 Notes

There is no discipline that nurtures and sparks the cognitive ability to imagine, and unleashes creativity and innovation, more than arts and culture. There is no approach that breaks barriers, connects across cultural differences, and engages our shared values more than arts and culture. There is no investment that connects us to each other, moves us to action, and strengthens our ability to make collective choices more than arts and culture.

–  Eric Friednwald-Fisherman

DATE: Tuesday, January 30 , 2018
TIME: 10:00 am -12:00 pm
LOCATION: Violet Crown

PARTICIPANTS: Bevin Carnes, Jordan Eddy, Andrea Hanley, Chrissie Orr, Katrina Mendoza, Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Sandy Zane, Sabrina Pratt, and CrSF –  Cyndi Conn, Lauren Henriksen, Yuki Murata

Intention of Roundtable:

The goal of the meeting was to bring together members of the Santa Fe creative community that are actively engaged in the arts.  By discussing their individual and collaborative creative practices we wanted to brainstorm how best to leverage the arts in community problem solving and dialogue.


What We Learned:

Through the conversation some challenges were identified that are worth noting.  

  • How to engage students and younger generations in both community dialogue and creative work? Ideas were brought forward for including a sense of play in events. 
  • How can storytelling be a part of community building?
    • Mi’Jan mentioned “Unusual Pairings” and looking at alternative formats for an interview “practice”
    • “Confronting the Mess”
  • Listening as a practice (prompt & query)
    • Asking “What do you want from the outcome?” is important
    • Being mindful of the reciprocity of narrative/listening
  • How should we facilitate and moderate conversations? Ex: Homewise did a focus group on “What did people want in a live/work space?” which was very successful and led to tangible outcomes. Guided by “step up or step back” if you want to even out the introvert/extrovert dynamic.

Additionally, some best practices and resources we shared:

  • Culture Track study by La Placa Cohen points to trend for arts and museums to incorporate “play, humor and fun” in the “experiences” they are offering.
  • Community “orchestration” as ways to build collaboration and bridge divides – examples such as Angela Ellsworth’s MOW Museum of Walking.
  • Good to look at “best practices” from other cities, communities and organizations. Ex: Phoenix planted an acre of sunflowers and did pie socials. Ex: Feast on the Streets (Matt Moore)
  • MoCNA partners with SFI to pair Native artists with Complexity Scientists in conversation.

About Our Participants:

Andrea Hanley, Membership and Program Manager IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts,  discussed the topic of the Disruptive Futures Dialogue on Indigenous Rights (scheduled leading up to Indian Market August 2018) looking at legislation and UN Declarations on Indigenous Rights and Native Art, etc.

Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz is a visiting Scholar at Columbia University, inaugural leadership member with The Banff Centre’s New Fundamentals in the Creative Ecology as well as the Aspen Institute Franklin Project, and the lead designer and facilitator at the Steinem Initiative at Smith College. Mi’Jan is currently working on collaborations with Tewa Women United and incarcerated youth to create a social justice forum. She is working with Concordia and University of Hawaii in their oral history departments.

Katrina Mendoza is a filmmaker, business owner, activist, and self described “community builder” who started Downstream Maven Media.  She is particularly interested in diversity and training youth in media to be responsible and respectful with technology.

Jordan Eddy represents both Form & Concept gallery and Strangers Collective.  He advocates for the blurring of lines between fine art and craft, as well as creating artistic “interventions” and shows that are activist and not afraid to take a stand.

Chrissie Orr calls herself a “beautiful troublemaker” in lieu of “artist”.  Although she was a classically trained artist her work now has become more social justice focussed and is using the creative process to find and stand on common ground.  She is influenced by language and a sense of place.

Sandy Zane, founder of the online Zane Bennett Gallery and Form & Concept gallery, where she aims to create a safe place for artists to express ideas.  GALLERY = Think Tank STUDIO = Laboratory EXHIBITIONS = White Papers.  She mentioned “AH HA” where ”AH” is an awakening and “HA” is a change in perspective.  Additionally she is also working in the area of Creative Entrepreneurship with other local Santa Fe organizations.

Bevin Carnes – Filmmaker and novelist. Recently moved from Los Angeles, CA.

These notes pull out a few critical questions and ideas from each participant.

Cyndi Conn:

Speaking of the upcoming 2018-19 Creative Santa Fe Disruptive Futures Dialogues series, she asked

‘How do we access disruptive thinking from our audiences in a new, creative format that is warm and welcoming?’

“How do we incorporate play, sense of place, humor, or collaboration and become the most connective tissue? Ultimately with the goal of making Santa Fe a global destination for problem solving, because of everything that our city has to offer.”

“The outcome needs to be that people feel heard, and feel like they made an impact”

“Giving someone the feeling that they are getting a once in a lifetime experience makes them want to invest their time and finances towards something. Something money can’t buy.”

“Local dialogues can help to rebuild trust at a community level.”

“Trust builds at the speed of collaboration” -Thomas Friedman, Thank You for Being Late


Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz:

Mi’Jan reviews her project ‘Unusual Pairings’, which aims to shake up the conversations between community members who would would not normally interact, in an effort to ‘bring out all of the things that touch us on a very deep level through interaction. ‘

“Ask about the mess. People who do not want to be transparent, may not be doing what they are saying.”  

“One of my highest qualities as an interviewer is to listen, to ask the question that will elicit the story that will support people listening and taking in the story.”

“In the process of working with collaborators, I ask myself ‘What do you want people to do after ‘XYZ’ time?’

“People are valuing intimacy because they’re not experiencing it as a consequence of dialogue. Intimacy, connectedness, trust, vulnerability– those four human values are being elevated, and that’s where the value of money is going.”

Andrea Hanley:

Andrea started the conversation with the idea of bringing a sense of play to conversations to engage people.

She proposes looking towards other creative cities, such as Phoenix and Detroit, and use their successful programming as an example to base creative dialogue programming on.

“How do you engage community in a different way that really connects people?”

Andrea stresses that in the creative placemaking process, there needs to a consciousness to keep those cultures that are already here involved, and remember where the community sits historically.

“A change doesn’t have to be a tangible thing, it can be a shift in community, a shift in perspective, and that can be a triumph.”

Jordan Eddy:

“How can we shake up the format to get to the bottom of a question?”

“Perhaps the biggest effect of these conversations can be the ripple effect that spreads outside of it.”

“We need to create a psychology switch to empower young people to value art and invest in it, and understand the impact of that.”

Yuki Murata:

“The idea of obliquity, and not solving a problem by going at it directly, is important to take note of.”

Bevin Carnes:

“We can bring people who are unlike one another together in a space where they don’t know how unlike one another they are until they are interacting. “

“We need to change our perspectives from ‘I and it’ to ‘I and thou’.“

“Art is emotion through a medium.”

“We can use our unique heritage and narratives and culture in Santa Fe to create stories that people can connect with globally, creating a new sense of community, connecting people with similar narratives who may not share the same location.”

Katrina Mendoza:

Katrina sees underground collectives, who offer more accessible open art spaces (like Ghost and Zephyr) as authentic, warm places where the community can open up. “We can cater to those who are often left out by offering spaces and opportunities for the community to offer input, and at the same time direct the narrative in very meaningful ways through good facilitators, etc.”

“One of the biggest challenges of event planning is spreading the world and gaining support. The power of even just sharing another organization’s event on your Facebook page is an incredible tool for cross promotion, ultimately creating new systems for support.”

“How do we collectively raise the value of the creative economy?”

“We need to teach people to value creative input. We need to focus on starting collaborations, bringing people together, and raising the value of the creative economy.”

Chrissie Orr:

Chrissie brings to light an in depth look on the word ‘Disruptive’, and the point that the act of speaking out, and being ‘talked at’ in panels, can be difficult for many people. Incorporating the act of play needs to be intentional, to create common ground for all kinds of people who communicate in different ways.

“I love the idea of disrupting what dialogue is.”

“How do we bring voices to the voices?”

Chrissie mentions a book that outlines the traditions of having dialogues around food that are important to keep in mind, and to look at the work of Estevan Rael-Gálvez.  

Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues on Community and Globalization

“Our stories shouldn’t have money value, and shouldn’t be sold, they should be passed on”

Lauren Henriksen:

“How do we combat the problem of the internet providing access to art forms and devaluing it at the same time, and how do we combat the problem of art still being seen as a privilege and an area where many do not feel welcome?”

“How do we create trust spaces where we can talk about loaded subjects such as the Entrada? How do we talk about these things as artists, and how do we use our mediums as forms of dialogue?”