Hunger for Community

Something is stirring. Our busy city, filled with cold and lonely commutes to work, and sanitary marketing experiences with large chain stores may seem convenient, but something critical has been slipping away and I believe that a portion of our society is craving a return to more simple times.

What am i talking about? It is a sense of community, a sense of place, of belonging, of knowing and being known. At the heart of life we want to know that someone recognizes us, knows our name, and we know theirs. Is it me? Or do you also long for that?

I can remember as a child going with my mom to the butcher shop – and Mr Blanchard always knew my mom’s needs – a lean cut roast, nicely trimmed thick pork chops, lean ground beef… and he was there to share the specials of the week. He took time, offered cooking tips, and remembered last week’s purchase when he asked how the roast turned out. As a child I thought this was how life is. Our shopping adventure would also lead to the bakery – and predictably one of 5 women knew my mom liked rye bread, and that I loved shortbread cookies. We seldom bought bakery other than the occassional loaf of bread, but we always stopped at that bakery – because my mom loved the friendly service. She knew they knew her name, and her likes.

And at the West Side Market there were produce vendors that we looked for – we could trust their produce was fresh, and if it was not they would steer us away from purchasing those items. Quality was not just a buzz word, but a way of life. The very reputation of the business rested on their service and their hunger to develop a sense of community.

And beyond the shopping experience, our neighborhood was a place where everyone knew each other’s names, and we looked out for one another. We looked out for and guarded a deep sense of community, of belonging.

As an adult I realize how much of this has dissolved into the high speed lane of the freeway, giving way to porchless houses, and neighbors who don;t know one another.

I am thankful to tell you our neighbors are on a talking basis with us, and we are returning to that sense of community – of cookie exchanges, and barbeques, and of greeting one another, calling when we don;t see they for some time… of caring, and checking in.

By now you are reading this thinking “I thought this blog was about the ventures of an Art Business? Why is she spending all this effort talking about community?” Very simply I want my business to be directly liked and driven to foster that sense of place, of belonging, of being known and knowing others, and of building community in small and large ways. We have observed how much people love festivals, and love to talk. It is my theory that our lives have become too impersonal, lived in the high speed lane, crammed with more than one person can possibly digest, and smathered with heavy doses of stress. But when people just talk, are comfortable with one another, and can escape the intensity of modern life there is a genuine-ness, a simplicity we all crave.

Do you hunger for community? How are you changing your world, and building community into your life, work, neighborhood, family?