This week I’ve had the concept of community pummel me from all sides.  Ok, it didn’t really pummel me, but you know what I mean.  The new blog featured at Chuck Westbrook‘s blog experiment site is all about building your own community online.  Alyson Stanfield‘s newsletter this week was about your community as an artist.  And last but not least I had the November CHL meeting last night and that’s all about my real world community.

What struck me as I was leaving the meeting last night is how recently many of the people I had talked to had moved to the Lancaster area, but how involved they were in making it a better community.  There are people who have lived in Lancaster all their lives and whose families have always lived there who aren’t as involved as some of these “newcomers” are.  It just made me think about what makes a community important to each of us.  Some people don’t want to be bothered with strengthening the ties in the local area.  But then shouldn’t they not complain if all their local business (that they don’t frequent) go under and their choices are all the same as everywhere else?  What makes each community special?

I still haven’t worked though all my ideas of community that I’ve been thinking about, and I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this.  I just wanted to get some of these thoughts out there and maybe hear some of your thoughts and ideas about community.

So what does community mean to you?  Is it about all your online connections?  Is it about your neighbors and local businesses?  Is it about the people you connect with through your art?  Or is it all of these things and more?

4 thoughts on “Community

  1. First, it was great to meet you in person last night. I wish I would have made it a point to have a more in-depth conversation with you, so hopefully we both make it to another meetup again soon.

    On community, my favorite thinking comes from Wendell Berry, and particularly his point that community means bumping into people you don’t like, don’t know, or want to avoid. Michael Sandel, a political philosophy, runs with this theme, too. If we get to choose our own identity, our neighbors, and who it is we interact with, we can’t call that community. Community means being “encumbered”–that is, you can’t just reinvent yourself by taking on a new screen name or uploading a new avatar. People have to know who you are. There is that element of accountability.

    There’s so much great thinking out there about community, and I’m glad you find it fascinating, too. We can never be in community with corporations, only with other people. And I think that means being in true community makes us more human.


  2. It’s so funny you wrote this post, because I was just thinking about that whole issue today as my husband and I were out and about.

    For me, community is a comprehensive concept–I kind of feel that wherever I have a presence, online or otherwise, there is my community so I work to build my participation in it–and it has to be a mutually beneficial relationship… It’s where I live, around where I live, what I do and what I’ll be doing years from now, it’s the connections being forged and maintained through that wonderful “series of tubes.” –It’s all connected for me.

    For example, I was tossing around the idea of running for an office of some kind (a few years down the road) in the neighborhood where we live. From that, the thought immediately crossed my mind, “Hey! That would be a cool way to get my business out there too (considering I might want a possible storefront at some point).” –I want to drive people to my business, help to make sure that community is viable and can support my business, make sure that I and other business colleagues have the support we need from each other, and the list goes on.

    It’s an interesting web to weave (something could probably be laid out quite nicely via a mindmap…).

    Great post.


  3. Yeah, it’s funny that I’ve been thinking so much about this lately. I’m a pretty solitary person who enjoys her alone time, but I’ve begun to realize that we need to define ourselves not just by what we do when we’re alone, but how we interact with the larger world.

    And Daniel, I’ll be at the CHL Holiday party, FYI.


  4. I’ve been thinking about community a lot this month – I am so amazed at the wonderful sense of community I’ve felt during AEDM. Since my background is in finance, not art, I don’t have much of a physical community of artists around me where I live. It is nice to have one online, at least.


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