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Guest column: Library mural 'so much more than pieces of fired clay'

By Jocelyne Sansing

       The library staff and I are very pleased with the finished mural project!
       This was truly an all-inclusive, community-designed and created project that continues to build community through art. These unique tiles represent so much more than pieces of fired clay. They represent the development of all the volunteers who participated in the project and unleashed their individual creativity, allowing them to have a

voice in the process and a permanent stamp in their neighborhood.
       This emphasis on human development is really what 21st century public libraries are about - facilitating the resources and inclusive space for people to explore their channels of personal success and thrive collectively in unknown and unpredictable ways.
       In writing the request for quotes for the project, we were aiming for the creation of a community arts program that would offer people a chance to interact with artists, to learn new skills, to participate collaboratively and to practice their own skills. A project such as this gives people a voice to speak out and express themselves, puts them in touch with their heritage and history and helps give definition to community identity.
       I believe this has a direct impact on community pride and solidarity. It has been wonderful to hear such positive feedback from long-time residents and newcomers as well. It is clear that the arts speak to the spirit and it has been a pleasure to see that come to life through this project.
       This project has fired up our creative engines and demonstrated to residents that creative projects show us how to change the world around us, by allowing us to change our inner world. It has created beauty and order where there appears to be none.
       Making and experiencing art is an act of hope and renewal. Participating in a collective, community-driven program provides a rich and nourishing spiritual meal that is often underrated. It creates connections between people, starts conversations, changes the conversation and has generated a level of excitement that has caused people to start thinking about different sorts of expressions and activities that they would like to see in the space.
       The most obvious benefit to this project has been the reflection of the creative spirit of Old Colorado City, the history, imagination and love the community has for their library. We looked at this wall of concrete as a blank canvas and are thrilled with the quality of artistic expression it conveys. This may be a little much, but as you can probably tell - this is something I am very passionate about!

       Editor's note: Jocelyne Sansing is the manager of the Old Colorado City Library.

(Posted 5/21/15; Opinion: Guest Columns)

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