In a year's time much has happened in our world and community. There have been employment gains and job loss, the graduation rates rose or fell and income levels have shifted. In many ways, these are the statistics we use to measure the well-being and health of a community. As a whole, humans seem to like to measure progress with numbers.
But what about the number of creative ideas that gave birth to new jobs or the inspiration from a story heard, seen or read that kept a student in school? It is very difficult, if not impossible to accurately measure the impact of creativity on a community. Although many have tried over years to attach a number to it, my guess is that for every art project that we have "measurable statistics" there are thousands of immeasurable benefits that go unnoticed. And that is no small thing. Art feeds our imagination and opens our minds. Our greatest problems are solved through innovation. Art is not the icing on the cake for a community, it is the cake.
"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will." - George Bernard Shaw.
This past year makework grantees filled our community with art and creativity, some of their efforts are measurable but the impact of the inspiration created by their work is not. As a one of the makework grantees, I felt lucky to be among such a inspiring group of artists. And although I can't measure the impact their work, I know I am better for it and so is our community.