The mission of the Emergence Community Arts Collective is to empower the human spirit through social activities, traditional arts classes, support groups and educational seminars.
There was a time when neighbors knew each other, and supported those in need. There was a time when neighborhoods spoke out against negative things happening around them. There was a time when we could talk, play games that weren't plugged in, learn from each other or just sit and enjoy a cup of coffee on the front porch. There was a time when the elders watched the young ones grow up, and guided the to the right path. When stories of families, events, and history were told over and over until they became a part of you. There was a time that we danced and sang and enjoyed life.
Rather than reminisce on the old days, the Emergence Community Arts Collective believes we can revive them. Deep down people's hearts have not changed; its just the fear and stress have overshadowed our potential. With conscious focus we restore the basic human elements that have lost along the way. It is not intended that we deal with life alone It is through community that we will find new strength and peace.
The ECAC builds on the strengths of the community by providing informal and formal gathering space, capturing neighborhood history, engaging new and old residents in civic discourse, and reconnecting the generations of residents.
Facilitate social interaction and networking, particularly intergenerational gatherings within the community
- The center is the community's gathering space where people can get together to celebrate an achievement, honor someone's accomplishment or just enjoy each other's company. Our programs focus on reconnecting the youth with the wisdom of the elders and keeping the old stories from gradually fading away.
Offer traditional forms of arts, crafts, dance and music that will facilitate the human connection, educating people about the history and philosophy of the cultures from which they emerged
- Movement and creative activities provide a vital link to longevity, our past and each other. We rekindle the connection to the past through movement, songs, instrument making, painting, drama, poetry and other forms of creative expression. These traditional arts, passed down from generation to generation, are gifts to us that will awaken when we embrace them. They must be revived and relived in an environment that appreciates their contribution.
Provide an opportunity for all individuals to participate, regardless of race, religion, economic situation, age, or disability
- The center includes early morning classes for working people, afternoon activities for retirees, after-school activities for children and young adults, and evening and weekend activities for everyone. Recognizing that not everyone will be able to pay for activities, there are opportunities for volunteerism and community service. "Service dollars" are used towards center activities and can be earned by volunteering at the center. An organized network of volunteers can put a few hours of spare time to good use.
Move community members through pain, anger, grief and conflict into empowered community contributors
- Illness is often caused by stress, anger, tension, depression and isolation. Addressing these issues can be far cheaper and more rewarding than a visit to the emergency room. We provide a variety of support groups and services that will help community members move from inner pain to inner peace.
Facilitate resource sharing within the community
- Food from a garden, unwanted clothes and furniture, or rides to the grocery store are just a few of the things that could be of great value to another member; other intangibles can be shared as well, such as talents, stories and valuable life experiences. The newsletter, website, bulletin boards and center events will be some of the tools used to help the community be self-supportive.
Foster civic responsibility
- The media is not a replacement for neighborhood interaction. Today, many of us know more about events in Afghanistan than about decisions being made that affect our own neighborhood. At the ECAC, civic responsibility begins at home. There will be incentives for members to participate in ANC meetings, neighborhood civic association meetings, zoning hearings and other forums at which decisions affecting the community are being made. The presence of an entire neighborhood can hold "great weight" in changing the course of events.
Raise the environmental consciousness of the community
- We want people to see how small efforts can have big results. Beginning with our own little garden we will show how the earth gives us what we need if we learn to work with it. From water conservation to using solar energy to recycling, we will help people make better choices about their surroundings.
Become a model for other community organizations
- Programs and systems that work should be shared in a way that will allow others to build on our strengths. Just as we are following paths set down by others, those coming behind us can grow from our successes and learn from our mistakes.