They began with a song and ended with a poem. In-between, there were photographs and giant graphic renderings, movement exercises and a “human pulse” formed when 90 people stood in a circle and squeezed each other’s hands.
At a June summit in Whatcom County, Washington, titled “Our Resilient Community: A Community Conversation on Resilience and Equity,” the arts played a starring role.
Kristi Slette, executive director of the Whatcom Family and Community Network, one of two Washington sites participating in the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) project, says the arts—music, dance, sculpture, storytelling—can help audiences understand trauma, resilience and hope in a visceral way.
“When the research and the data don’t pull you in, interacting with the arts communicates with people in a way they’re open to,” she says. “It extends our reach.”