Five Ways Arts Projects Can Improve Communities

In his book, The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts and Culture, Tom Borrup identifies 5 ways that arts projects can improve communities. OurSLC Claim it! utilizes a project design that hopes to validate each of these :


Through community- based art making with youth groups and community members we are providing opportunities for increased interactions and invitations for shared conversation.


We have been honored to be a part of many already existing celebrations and will offer some of our own opportunities through our exhibits and documentation at the Unity Center and then again when the three public artworks are installed.


Our work was shaped from the start by a desire to work with youth from multiple age groups and settings and allow them to claim spaces and places from their own perspectives.


These artworks, and all of the work leading up to them call attention to the cultural richness of the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods.


As community-based arts practitioners we hope to bring people together in conversation and cultural engagement with the West Salt Lake Master Plan and fulfill the specific goals expressed by the community.


The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook can be ordered from the publisher, Fieldstone Alliance. For more information or

Get Involved: Make Your Own Claim


We all make claims every day.

We claim our allegiances- to communities, cultures, clubs and sports teams.

We claim space with signs, fences, parking spots and walls.

We claim to know things and not know things.

We claim that this is mine or that is yours.

We notice when claims are made about us that feel good and when false claims are made about our persons, families or communities.

What does it mean to claim these spaces and places? And how does it feel? If we don’t claim when we have the opportunity, can something get claimed “away” from us?

Contribute your claims and your thoughts by clicking Get Involved and then  “Make a Claim”.

Recovery Day Celebration at Gallivan


The Recovery Day Celebration at the Gallivan was a fantastic event attended by a dynamic and passionate crowd.

Like so many community events that we have attended with our photo opportunity to “make a claim,” there was a strong message shared by many of the attendees- this time the importance of health, sobriety and loving relationships as things to be claimed.

They did so in an enthusiastic, public way for the benefit of the larger community.

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What is a social practice of art making?

Claim-It_PacificIsland_278- aug 1In the words of Randy Kennedy, the social practice of art making “blur(s) the lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism, and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art.”

This distinction is an import one for this community art project. The artwork will not only be the resulting public art objects, but the entire conversation created around the theme of claiming it. The Claim-It_PacificIsland_273performance of claiming something, through your participation, becomes attached to the final objects.

It is our hope that Claim it! is genuinely participatory in its approach, meaning that we set up a variety of activities through which people from all over the city – with a geographic focus on West Salt Lake – access the theme and interpret it from their experience.

Join us for the performance, the Claim-It_PacificIsland_317 (1)conversation, and the documentation of claiming what is important to you, right now, right here, in our SLC.

Claim it at Poplar Grove Park

We are creating public art pieces for three sites in West Salt Lake. This presents us with challenges and opportunities.

Some of the challenges:

  • How can we work over time with a variety of stakeholders to create pieces that are truly from and of the community?teresa-poplar
  • What will the work look like and how many hands will craft it?
  • How will we make choices between different ideas as we go forward?

The truth is that we don’t know. At least not yet.

But we are crafting the process to get us to that point, one that is complex and broad enough to capture the variety of voices and faces we need to hear from and see. We may not see the artwork just yet, but we see all of the rich storytelling opportunities that working to see it presents.

Last night presented one of these opportunities at the University Neighborhood Partners in the Park event at Poplar Grove. Local residents – with the welcome encouragement of Teresa from UNP – accepted our invitation to Claim It!

Some of the claims made:

  • I want to claim more mercy.
  • I want to claim more advocacy for victims of domestic violence.eaquality- poplar
  • I want to claim more education for kids.
  • I want to claim opportunities for better jobs.
  • I claim my family.
  • I claim my right to live in world where people with different perspectives get to live and work together.

Join us and make your claim this Saturday, August 1st at:

Claim it! at the Library

We are so happy to have been included in the Alt Press Fest activities at the Main Library last weekend. Alternative press looks like many different things as a product, but as a process it is a way to have multiple voices delivered in a variety of media, through non-traditional routes. It is an opportunity for self-publishing and small publishing of perspectives that do not tend to be covered in broad news and traditional publishing. For us it was a perfect fit. Claim-It_Alt-Press- heard as a womanDocumenting our communities claims through conversation and photography. And it was a broad section of the community, our roughly 60 participants represented over 15 different zip codes. Some of their claims:

I claim my dolls.

I claim more Pokemon cards.Claim-It_Alt-Press_133- to learn

I claim that Alliance House is Happiness.

I claim my right to marry.

I claim my strength as a woman.

I claim my right to make bad art.Claim-It_Alt-Press_121- to make art

I want to claim more space for people on foot and people on bikes.

What will your claim be?

Claim it!: Hartland

Claim-It-Hartland_50J reaches over and takes the pen out of my hand when I ask the group of elementary students at Hartland, “What does it mean to claim something?” “It means this is now mine,” he says, and everyone laughs at his bold, and pretty accurate move.

It is one of those cool, big pens that has eight different colored inks inside and actually belongs to my daughter, so I have to “re-claim it.” But J is right, claiming is about ownership, assertions and senses of belonging and having. As a group we talk about how we can make our claims known to others and what happens when your claims are ignored. Throughout the summer and fall we will be at locations throughout the city asking for participants of all ages and neighborhoods to document their claims and respond to each other. It will be a mobile, visual conversation.

Claim-It-Hartland_12This is the list the Hartland kids come up with about things they claim:

  • To take or take back
  • Winning a prize
  • To own it
  • Territory
  • Personal space
  • Time
  • House
  • Country or countries
  • Food and the type of food you really want to eat
  • Bedrooms and living rooms
  • Video games and their stuff