stories

Community

Last weekend my wife Janet and I visited many studios in the Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County. We spent Saturday in McMinnville, and Sunday in the Sheridan area. At each location, we were able to engage the artist(s) in dialogue. We learned a little of their history; we learned a little about their house or studio (some of which date to the early 1900s). We sampled the munchies they provided, from crackers and cheese to chocolate chip cookies to home-smoked ribs.

What differentiated this experience from a typical art show is that we were participating in building community. As these artists share their stories, there is connection, one human to another. Not a blinding flash or loud cymbals – just two people connecting. It is simple, quiet, effortless, even unobtrusive. Sort of like breathing. And in its effortlessness, its unobtrusiveness, it is profound, even sacred. Can something so quiet, so easy, so natural, be the glue that holds society together? I think the answer is “yes”. It is the sharing, one on one, that creates connection, that is the foundation of community. Community is neither you nor me. It is “us” – the connection. That easy, profound, natural connection.

And yes, this applies directly to the world of commerce as well. People appreciate being treated as persons of worth, rather than a means to a transaction. In commerce, just like the rest of our lives, people want to be connected, to be in community.

I’d appreciate feedback. You can post it here, or e-mail me at gary@portlandconsultinggroup.com

Gary Langenwalter