Dismantle the Silos

Sun Park Phoenix

One of the hardest side-effects of the pandemic was the isolation that many experienced while primarily working and engaging remotely. For those that thrived by sharing space and ideas with their community, being ushered into isolation was a challenging segue. 

Across the community arts sector, stakeholders within the ecosystem were being siloed – self-contained in their own individual pillars, left without the meaningful and necessary engagement from colleagues and peers. When this arose during research discussion, our participants identified the need for there to be collaborations among and between stakeholders. What we need is a dismantling of the siloes to create a true sense of unity.

“What I’m seeing the need for is some sort of unifying agents to pull it all together, coordinate all the activity, so that we’re not all disparate and the energy isn’t diffused.” – Arts Funder

One way this unifying and dismantling process can be catalyzed, is through a hierarchy disruption. For example, reframing “funders” as “facilitators” (focusing more on the desire to impact change and less on the power-imbalance of being the granting/funding body). This interrupts the colonial-trickle down that leaves vulnerable or disenfranchised communities at the whim of large and at times disconnected funding organizations. 

According to discussions had during the research, one thing that funders often run into is “dispassionate objectivity” where funders have to be removed, to a degree, in order to make appropriate funding decisions. While this may have its benefits in keeping things efficient and logical, this way of thinking also lends itself to furthering the isolation divide between funders and participants.

The goal is to create cross-sectoral partnerships that include and expand within Community Arts, Technology, Health Care, Social Services, City Building and more.  Another goal is to be able to create spaces for collaboration between arts learners, funders, administrators and educators in order to build and then nurture interpersonal connections within the sector and many communities.