"Maxwell Street Market" woodcut by Hull House resident William Jacobs, 1897-1973
Art bridges differences, unites cultures. In 1889, Jane Addams created Chicago's Hull House settlement and became one of Chicago's most famous social workers. The establishment was created to help the massive influx of immigrants settle into American life, through job training programs, foster care, educational classes and emotional support groups. However apart from promoting peaceful adaptation, she believed art could provide a pathway towards self expression, team building and imagination. Art classes in sculpture, painting, drawing, weaving, ceramics and book binding created a "common culture" that united the expansive diversity of immigrants relying on the Hull House.
Young artists painted the walls of the center, a strong contrast to the surrounding rubble.
Years later and across the world, art is playing a similar role in reconstructing the lives of children in Jacmel, Haiti after the devastating earthquake. The Art Creation Foundation for Children works to empower children suffering from extreme poverty through art and education. In creating young adults entering the world with life skills, they also preserve their Haitian culture through the creation of traditional art forms and styles. Art creates commonality, especially in the midst of Haiti's intense destruction, it gives a shared purpose over which artists can collaborate.
A section of Prague's Lennon Wall, for a brief few minutes anyways.
Prague's famous Lennon Wall exemplifies the constant change and construction of ideas artists produce in conjunction with one another. The wall is open to anyone as a place to build on the images and thoughts of others, be they best friends or strangers. The wall acts as a communication device, yet without the use of words or speech. Layers of ideas, inspiration, motivation and thought overlap one another, creating a massive, ever-evolving piece of artwork, to which the entire city can claim creation. Art promotes respectful assembly.