Shanai Matteson

Minneapolis, MN, United States

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Artist / Writer / Community Designer & Developer with Works Progress (Minneapolis)

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Shanai Matteson
Posted over 2 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
We had the same question when we started the Give & Take event I linked to above! Social networking sites and blog platforms made it possible, as artists and designers and engaged citizens, to expand our network of peers and to have really generative conversations about practice, but when it came to connecting in our own neighborhoods, and generating the same kind of energy, it was a whole lot harder. Either the on ramps are not there, or the community infrastructures are outdated. Think about it: you pass all kinds of neighbors on the street, in stores, at events -- and if you don't already have a connection, the chances that you will stop to talk with one another are slim. Especially if your perceptions prevent you from seeing beyond what you see, if you think you couldn't possibly even have anything to talk about. I think that's a lot of missed potential there, because many of your neighbors probably have fascinating ideas, skills, or energy to share! And it's likely that if you tried, you'd find something in common. It seems as though our silos are getting bigger (more global), but they are still silos. I think there is a way to take what we love about connecting online (surprises! connections! information! Ideas!) and create real world platforms for exchange that are deeply rooted in our communities, but connected to a more global creative renaissance.
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Shanai Matteson
Posted over 2 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
My art & design collective, Works Progress (http://www.worksprogress.org/) has spent the last 2 years asking our neighbors in Minneapolis & St.Paul two very simple questions: What do you know? What do you want to know? To us, these questions seemed like the basis for building relationships that could help to regenerate our cities. We designed a new community event called Give & Take around these two questions, giving neighbors an opportunity to meet one another in a safe social space, building community around personal assets and knowledge. It's been incredible! We are now working to expand the program outside of the metropolitan Twin Cities, and are interested in developing a DIY Give & Take "kit" for neighborhoods & communities. Here's a couple of links! Would love to share what we've learned with others! Give & Take: http://www.give-take.org/ Video Intro: http://vimeo.com/26980158 Also: Candy, we so admire your work, Thank You!