What is Belong Together?
Belong Together is a public art project that celebrates all of the unique people who call Saint Paul’s East Side home. The project, made possible by the City of Saint Paul’s Percent for Art program, creates opportunities for community members to share their passions, talents, curiosities, and stories with one another and with a public audience.
Belong Together will bring a series of permanent art installations in and outside Arlington Hills Community Center as well as a series of community events and hands-on activities.
What are the goals?
Belong Together was created to answer one specific question voiced by East Side residents: how can such a diverse community find common ground?
Listening to the stories, opinions, and suggestions from countless community members, one thing was clear — there was a desire expressed by those of all identities for a sense of belonging at Arlington Hills Community Center. The project is a catalyst for the community and an impetus for the imagination. Belong Together utilizes art and creativity as a means of finding common ground to foster life, to spark connections between strangers, and to inspire civic engagement.
Help shape this project.
Tell us what you think about the public art projects and programs outlined below. Are you interested in getting involved? Are there other people or organizations that you think might be interested? What other ideas does it spark for you?
Leave a comment for us online or visit the community center and leave a comment on a postcard at the Belong Together kiosk in the lobby.
We want to hear from you!
Who are the artists organizing this project?
Works Progress Studio is a public art and design studio led by Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson. The group creates public art projects, produces short films, and desigsn civic engagement programs in collaboration with other artists, community organizers, and people like you.
The studio’s goal is to inspire, inform, and connect communities by amplifying the creative visions and voices of the people who live, work, and play in those communites.
Permanent Art Installations
We Belong Together
A sense of belonging requires an understanding of our relationship to others and to place. This large-scale display, above the entrance, is a declaration that we all belong at Arlington Hills Communtiy Center and an invitation to explore this theme. Individual letters of the sign will be illuminated, providing a welcoming beacon day or night. The sign will be approximately 5 feet tall by 50 feet long, stretching across the entire entrance walkway. It will be fabricated out of metal and glass and will contain built-in lighting.
Room to Grow
This modular furniture provides an iconic gathering place for creative activities and for the cultivation of community. It is a living wall of potted plants, a kiosk featuring profiles of community and resident partners, and a table that is both a planter and work surface. These pieces can be popped up indoors or outdoors for workshops and events. When not being used for a pop-up program, this furniture becomes an attractive gathering place.
Pop-up Story Pod
This unique piece of furniture is a viewing station for videos and other digital media artwork created by community residents, including young people in the Createch Studio in the basement. These videos will highlight stories from within the East Side community of belonging, care, and regeneration. A monitor, sound system, and seating form a modular system to showcase new media. Located on the main level of Arlington Hills Community Center, it can be brought out for special events.
Art for Arlington
To animate spaces throughout the building with color and life, visual and media artwork from local artists will be curated and commissioned to reflect the themes of Belong Together. These commissions may include paintings and photographs, sound installations, media works exhibited on building screens, or participatory artworks that yield new media or community-generated art. Works Progress Studio will help to curate these works, involving AHCC staff and community residents in the final selection.
Community Events & Programs
Eastside Care Corps
This new ‘residents in residence’ program will engage a cohort of diverse community residents in a year-long, paid position caring for the art installations in the building and co-creating public engagement workshops with the AHCC Artist Organizer and AHCC staff.
___ & ___ Belong Together
A public event series that provides an ongoing opportunity for residents to gather, tell stories, and connect. Each event features two community presenters sharing something they care about, using objects, images, or artistic performance. After these presentations, the audience engages around the question of how these two ideas, activities, or people belong together.
Annual Plant Propagation Party & Living Art Festival
An annual celebration and community ritual to propagate plants from within the building, yielding a living public art piece that is shared with community residents and businesses along Payne and Arcade Avenues. Community members help to design and create iconic planters that carry the messages of the project outward and could be placed on a shared map. engagement workshops with AHCC staff and community residents.
Media Making Project
This media project focuses on the creation and exhibition of videos that bring the themes of Belong Together to life, highlighting stories of belonging, care, and regeneration. In its pilot year, this project will focus on youth and seniors, encouraging them to create an intergenerational project that results in videos to be exhibited at AHCC.