Over 600 Promise Zone Residents Engaged in Community Art Initiative - Block by Block 2.0
February 2018 - The Institute of Museum and Library Services, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the national Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Crocker Art Museum funding to help launch and support “Block by Block 2.0”, the Crocker’s initiative to increase arts engagement, access, and education in Sacramento’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
While Block by Block had a positive impact with under-resourced populations during its onset period from 2014 to 2016, an urgent need has since been identified by the community for art engagement programs that nurture and inspire youth.
Building on the strengths of the first phases of Block by Block, the Crocker Art Museum is committed to transcending its role as a community resource to that of a change agent. In October, the Crocker launched Block by Block 2.0. Working with previous as well as new community partners, artists, and businesses, the program will strategically identify and strengthen spaces where art, community, and sustainability intersect, focusing specifically on activities that nurture young people living in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.
As the Crocker mobilizes its community partners for Block by Block 2.0, work has already begun to strategize the formation of a Block by Block youth “street team” and identify sites for the first community art installations in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.
As part of Block by Block 2.0, an Art Impact Collective was formed, which will involve an active and highly dynamic partnership comprised of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the Roberts Family Development Center, Sol Collective, Sojourner Truth African American Museum, 916Ink and Promise Zone community representatives. The Art Impact Collective will help to put Block by Block 2.0 into action and initiate key activities including:
Art education experiences at community events
Pop-up events featuring live performances and access to the Art Ark, the Museum’s mobile arts education center
Development of a digital community arts magazine
Paid apprenticeships for youth living within the Promise Zone who will form a Block by Block Street Team
Improve the quality of life in the Promise Zone communities by increasing civic pride, cultural awareness, and access to meaningful art experiences
In addition to offering art experiences and creating pop-ups, we participate in existing community events, like the March for Dream that occurred on January 16, 2018. The estimated crowd marching to the Convention Center was about 30,000 people, coming from both North and South Sacramento communities. Block by Block has participated in the march since 2015, either marching or offering art activities and giveaways at the Convention Center, but this year our impact was even greater than in years past. While some staff marched from Sacramento City College to Downtown Sacramento, others were at the Convention Center allowing us to reach and interact with even more people. For example, our first year participating, we served over 300 people through our booth. This year, however, we served over 600 people and was able to share Block by Block’s focus in the Promise Zone. Our interaction with people during the march was also heightened by the use of a 10 ft banner with our logo and fellow staff inviting people to march with us.
During our outreach over the 2018 holiday season, we participated in some cultural events for the celebration of Kwanzaa. Though we have participated in these events in previous years, each time we reach people unfamiliar with the Crocker, or with Block by Block. This allows us to share information about the museum and upcoming events in the Promise Zone. For more information on the Crocker Art Museum, please visit https://www.crockerart.org/