Barbara Bridges Vision Speech

Barbara’s remarks when accepting Northeast Minneapolis Arts District  Vision Award on Oct 2, 2023.

Thank you for honoring  ACW. My dream five years ago of creating an arts organization which was a true collective seems to be working!  ACW’s super-power AND Achilles Heel is the diversity of our membership. We are aged 18-103 and from every cultural and divergent point of view imaginable. Sometimes we disagree. It causes us to experience cognitive dissonance, which occurs when what you believe to be true is in direct conflict with what you see to be true. It happens when you realize that your truth is A truth- not THE truth.   REAL social change can be made when the participants collect data from each other, participate in authentic dialogue, come to consensus AND commit to collaborative action plans.

In the current atmosphere of cultural division, it is important to notice and celebrate how art has the potential to transcend all of these artificial boundaries. Humans made them and humans can reject them. As an example, much art (especially music and dance) is based on patterns. Research reveals that ALL cultures create patterns. Let’s hypothesize why.

Humans want to believe they have control over their own destiny. Patterns make them feel comfortable because they know what is coming next. HOW did it evolve that certain cultural patterns were more acceptable, valid or prestigious than other cultural patterns?

On October 1st, 20 leaders of ACW came together for the first annual Project Management Training session. We identified the policies, procedures and processes ACW will be using to plan for and stage our events. Having multiple trained project managers will kick ACW up into the next level of service.

Our Mission Statement:  ACW is a diverse non-profit coalition of change makers employing the arts in service of positive social change.

Part of our mission is to pay artists. If we do not pay artists, there will be no artists. ACW pays about a dozen people monthly to run the organization. We serve everyone and use art to create a nurturing and supportive community. ACW membership and educational programming reaches across culture, age, gender, experience, differently abled, neurodivergent, the marginalized and yes, the ruling elite!! No think alike silos for ACW! Our Board of Directors is over 60% BiPOC/LGBTQIA. ACW staged over 50 projects and events in the last 5 years and paid artists over $107,000 in the last two years.  See the October ACW Newsletter (which over 500 people receive FREE)  to learn about a 2024 Emma Norton Transformational Housing partnership which will pay 20 artists almost $30,000 for artworks and offer weekly art lesson especially designed for people who have experienced trauma.

In closing,  this award is not just for ME, it is also for Assistant Director, Kelly Frankenberg and ACW Board Chair, Layl McDill and most importantly, it is for all the members of ACW. I would like ACW members present to stand now to be recognized. If you want to know more about ACW, ask them for an info card.