The Launch of Claim It!

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Claim– to assert ownership, stake a claim, delineate a space, demand recognition.

“I claim my name,” a seven-year-old art student asserts. She forms a house out of purple paper triangles. “What have you made?” I ask. She replies, “This is a building, these are rivers, this is a mountain, and this. . . is a water snake.” We both smile. And with that she’s claimed the 11×17 inch paper for her own; crafted buildings, water sources, and mountains. Her creativity demands recognition, even if it’s just from me, her art teacher.

In our Claim It! class at the Sorenson Unity Center – every Monday and Wednesday – YouthCity students find ways to Claim It! through art and the exploration of place and community. Partly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts: Our Town grant, the Civic Arts Studio @ Sorenson is a multi-year community art program that engages residents of the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods in activation and conversation around the key places in West Salt Lake. Working through a variety of civic engagement activities and co-creative programs, youth groups and residents will explore what it means to claim their neighborhood, its rich history, diverse cultures and current vitality. Claim it! will render it visible through site-specific art installation designs slated for specific “opportunity zones” identified in the new West Salt Lake Master Plan.

The posts in this blog will document these civic engagement activities and programs and the day-to-day discoveries students make with claiming the world around them. We hope you will enjoy the journey as we claim OurSLC!