Common Ground

Creating Connections with Lily Yeh

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On March 21st, 30 local artists, community builders, and placemakers gathered for Creating Connections, a workshop at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with Philadelphia-based artist, activist, and placemaker Lily Yeh. Yeh was visiting Minneapolis for our Next Generation of Parks Event Series. Together, participants experienced Yeh’s art-making process, which involves providing a democratic and healing space for traumatized communities by nurturing creativity and deepening relationships.

Yeh jump-started the workshop with a Chinese song called “Lu-Lu,” which included dancing, clapping, and mimed bull horns. The song was difficult to sing for non-native speakers, but the laughter and silliness brought out imagination and warmth amongst the mostly strangers.

Yeh then divided participants into four groups and asked each member to write three words that “best describe who you are.” Inspired by the three words, together they individually contributed to the making of a collective visual aspiration and poem. Yeh closed the workshop by asking the groups to offer their murals and poems in an interactive performance.

When asked how Yeh is able to bring healing work with art to traumatized communities, she shared, “We don’t go to the grief, we go to joy. How do we create joy? To run, to play, to sing with them, like we did today… That is how we heal and deepen communities.”

Creating Connections workshop was a collaboration between the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

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