by Walter Cabal
A large part of the tapestry of this project with Casa Blanca began its weavings in the Community Action Group meetings that the neighborhood holds. We (the artists) used to greet residents with a wave and a “hello”. After attending a few more meetings we started to greet each other with handshakes. After that, artists and neighborhood residents called each other by name. Now I see Drew greet Bob Garcia, with a joke. I talk with Morris about his war stories. I'm close enough to Peggy Haro’s heart to write a song about it.
It’s these interactions and this weaving that I think each artist wants to sew deep into their art. During the Día de las Artes celebration I’ll be sharing the two songs I wrote for Casa Blanca. I’ll be surrounded by poets, theater performers, visual artists, muralists and other songwriters, who’ve really spent time knitting their songs with the fabric that holds Casa Blanca together: Community. Really that’s the fabric that’s holding everyone together – the artists, the residents, and the city officials. We’re learning that in community there can be found that spirit which has really moved us toward each other, and we hope that Casa Blanca sees how much they’ve taught us – especially me.
What’s really wiped the fog from my lenses is seeing the neighborhood, the neighborhood’s leaders, city dignitaries, and our arts collaborative try to match each other’s footsteps. I see the communities surrounding this Casa Blanca project as the different moving bodies learning a kind of timeless dance that we’re looking for in the world at large. It has something to do with bridging gaps, and with looking to understand rather than looking to be understood. I see the tapestry grow as more and more people and their dreams are being woven together. What the Lord has joined together, let no man put asunder.