Art as a catalyst for change

“Art as a catalyst for change”
Published May 31, 2016 | swissinfo.ch

“What’s an up-and-coming contemporary art curator from Switzerland doing in the American Midwest Rust Belt? The answer lies in a city experiencing a rebirth.

Reto Thüring had to find Cleveland on a map when he was called for an interview with the city’s art museum in 2012, and he had no real expectations of what lay ahead.

Continue reading “Art as a catalyst for change”

Listening to Our Land: a conversation about community policing

The best way to find out how people think about certain things is to talk to them, and listen. That may seem self-evident, especially when coming from a journalist, but it’s not.  One of the casualties of the technology race to social media is the ability to read someone’s presentation of themselves and believe you now know their perspective.  You don’t. Skimming a Twitter feed or Facebook page gives you nothing more than a snapshot of a moment in that person’s life.  If you want to better understand a person’s perspective, you need to connect in a different way.

I don’t want to move, it ain’t about moving.  It’s about change—trying to change it, so I won’t be a drive-by incident.

Ms. Kim Benefield in the ‘Our Land’ radio special

Cleveland has been mentioned among cities like Ferguson, Baltimore, and New York, in the national soul-searching over police-community relations.  Heated debates and efforts toward police reform have been spurred by cases like the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who had a pellet gun; the death in police custody of Tanisha Anderson who was suffering from mental illness; and the verdict of Patrolman Michael Brelo for firing the final 15 of 137 shots fired by police at a car after a high-speed chase; among others.

Continue reading “Listening to Our Land: a conversation about community policing”

Scooter: When public transit can only take you so far…

I was hungry–enthusiastic–to move to an American city with a fully-functioning public transit system, and Cleveland seemed to have potential.  In moving here, we sought to rent a place near easy bus or train connections, and I immediately signed up for a monthly transit pass.  Even an awkwardly uncomfortable encounter on my very first day riding the bus home with a fellow needing to deliver a racially-charged, drunken rant, did not discourage me.  I commuted with the bus, more or less, uninterrupted for 10 months, but it wore me down.  And it is with some regret that I say I have adopted a new primary commuting mode for the non-snowy months: a scooter.

Continue reading “Scooter: When public transit can only take you so far…”