The Common Ground TOC Project (2007-2010) in rural New Mexico brought together over 150 community members for arts-based creative engagement that resulted in a community-generated festival of film, storytelling, movement, poetry, spoken word and music as well as continuing community development efforts. Commissioned by the NM Arts and Social Justice Committee in partnership with The Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Southwest Organizing Project, Littleglobe’s first rural collaboration took place in the small town of Cuba and the two eastern Diné (Navajo) villages of Ojo Encino and Torreon.
WHY COMMONGROUND TOC?
These interrelated communities have been deeply affected by ecological change, poverty, racism and homelessness. The struggle to survive has often emphasized differences between these communities, yet they share a basic desire for connection and growth. The project generated meaningful and significant works of art/performance that have catalyzed leadership teams now continuing to direct development work in the area.
During the fall of 2007, the Littleglobe team visited the area, getting to know firefighters, teachers, health care workers, artists and a wide range of other community residents in the TOC area. From January to June, 150 residents (including high school students at Cuba High School and middle school students in Ojo Encino and Torreon), ages 5-85, came together on a weekly basis for fellowship, creative exercises, and community dialogue. The diverse ensemble then created and produced a multi-media festival of music, original films, movement, spoken word, poetry that reflected the history, challenges, joys and dreams of the group. The Common Ground TOC Festival was a testament to communities coming together, across many boundaries, to create a collective vision. Residents subsequently formed the TOC Regional Community Council / I-YOU now administering art and community development projects in the area. Littleglobe continues to work with the council, supporting their impressive efforts toward transforming their community.