Authentic Relationships Lay the Foundation for Meaningful Engagement

Sun Park Phoenix

While digital environments aren’t always the most accessible medium for all, it is also true that online tools, for many, are a very powerful and effective way of learning new things and connecting with new people. There is such a palpable magic in human to human connections and the energy exchange that comes with conversations, shared passions and safely vulnerable spaces. As one of our arts educators stated, “there is no substitute for human connection”.

When these exchanges come from a place of authenticity, it helps us build trust and a true sense of community. 

“Building those relationships with the community. I think it’s also really important that the young people trust you, especially if we’re talking about BIPOC communities and then even more if they have other marginal identities. And that takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time, years, years for them to come around and trust you. So continuing to do that and focusing on the connection.” – Artist Educator

Our research participants shared their belief in the need for authentic relationships that help nurture and grow while learning and unlearning together in the process. This directly impacts the quality of the engagement that’s being had on all levels (funder to community, individual to individual, educator to learner). 

“It’s about the connection for me. It’s about as a community coming together to own our freedom, own our arts, and be able to express ourselves and be able to be human”- Arts Administrator 

The goal is to turn away from transaction-based interactions and invite in more relationship-based interactions.  This can be embodied with the intention to grow and build strong communities. Consistent follow-ups, and more mind-ful strategies of marketing and engagement to help folks stay connected, held, and able to thrive and be involved in their communities.