In 1996 a group of young adults from all
over the USA and Europe met to envision and organize the
International Youth Conference "Conversation, Consciousness
and Community." In Aug 1997, 250 youth ages 17-30
from around the world gathered for a week at the university
of MI in Ann Arbor. Several of us from the initiative group
stayed in contact after '97, sculpting our vision for how
we want to work together to make a difference in the world.
January of 2000 Art Everywhere was founded as a legal
container for our first main project: Soul Ecology-Building
Capacities for Sustainable Living, initiated as a three-year
experiment in rural settings in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Soul Ecology was an opportunity to create community through
an intensive one-to-three-week holistic integration of
art, and self-development. For each of the first two years
we had 12 participants, and in 2002 participation increased
to 18. Several Soul Ecology participants have volunteered
their time and skills to the development of Art Everywhere.
2003 we applied Soul Ecology to the urban setting of
West Oakland. For a week, 12 suburban high-school students
life at the Oakland Noodle Factory, working in gardens
with People’s Grocery and developing a performance
project inspired by the urban reality. This project was
done in collaboration
with Summerfield Waldorf School and People’s Grocery.
From Sept, 2001 through June 2003, Art Jams – Expressing
Creativity in Community, have been a safe, supportive,
and fun environment for people to come together in community
and play in a variety of art forms. We hosted them
on a monthly
basis and participation ranged from 10 to 35 people.
Locations included: a group home for adults with special
needs; “Artgasm!” at
Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter, OR; “Pathways
to Peace & Cultural Evolution” conference
at San Francisco State University; Beit Tikkun children’s
program; and Freestyle Union events at the Oakland
Noodle Factory. The Solidarity Art Jams in Palestine/Israel,
and Thailand have created cross-cultural dialogues
around the world, emphasizing our shared humanity and