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Matchmaking for Good: Crowdsourcing and Revitalization

Photo via Jason Paris

“Right now, in your community, at this very moment, there is someone who is dreaming about doing something to improve his or her lot,” Ernesto Sirolli wrote on the rebirth of local economies. “If we could learn how to help that person to transform the dream into meaningful work, we could be halfway to changing the economic fortunes of the entire community.”  For every dreamer, there is someone who can match a passionate idea with needed skills, resources, or networks. It is the nurturing of these relationships that hold the potential for real progress.

Yet, it has often been difficult for someone with an idea to cross paths with someone who has complementary resources and interests. Too often, this disconnect has resulted in palpable consequences: aspirations gone lifeless, underused and uninviting places in neighborhoods, and an impoverished sense of community. 

Matchmaking is a service often associated to websites such as E-Harmony, but by harnessing the power of crowdsourcing and social platforms in the urban sectors, these necessary resources can come into reach (and our communities can certainly benefit from finding a little bit of love). Whether connecting with someone on ioby to fund a local environmental project, Change By Us to create a link between resident and leader, or matching spaces with creative ideas on ArtHERE to crowdsource revitalization, there are an increasing number of tools that help to realize the visions we previously thought impossible by simply creating connections.

In the case of community revitalization, there are many stories about art breathing life into neighborhoods across the country, helping organizations and communities increase vibrancy often with little resources. Surfing the internet, examples of light hearted activism like guerilla gardening and yarn bombing, crowdfunded community projects, and inviting pop ups and public spaces inspire people to take action. The dreamers Sirolli speaks of are not the exception. Communities are filled with people with aspirations to improve the quality of life, but who are often uncertain of how to do it, where to do it, if they’re allowed to do it, if they can do it, or who to do it with. So often times, they just don’t do it.

ArtHERE bridges this disconnect in creative place making and community engagement by facilitating the matching of spaces and art. Using ArtHERE.org, we are empowered by a platform to put our ideas into action – whether you have a space or a creative idea. Using this idea of creating connections as a template for future collaborative action is just the beginning of the essential process of activating an underutilized, yet powerful resource: the capital of a community and its social network.

ArtHERE: Connecting Spaces And Art from WEREHAUS on Vimeo.

 

By Lauren Sinreich, Cofounder of ArtHERE

ArtHERE is a platform for crowdsourced revitalization through the matching of spaces and art. ArtHERE launched in partnership with ZERO1’s 2012 biennial, Seeking Silicon Valley, in San Jose, California and has recently expanded to New York City. For more information, go to arthere.org or email hello@arthere.org.

 

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