I was introduced to the prompt “What gives you oxygen?” during the launch of Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America in 2018.
Our team at IDEAS xLab has incorporated variations on the prompt into artist meetings and workshops, because it provides a great way to get to know people in a non-transactional, and more personal way.
While at the 2019 ArtPlace America Summit and RuralGen Summit, held back-to-back in Jackson, MS, I found myself surrounded by artists, practitioners, and funders, who are in some way doing creative placemaking / placekeeping / placehealing work throughout the United States.
With over 600 people attending the two conferences, I created this series as a way to meet and better understand my fellow attendees, and how we are collectively thinking about, and inspired to do the work we do.
The participants in this series responded to the prompt, “What gives you oxygen in your work?”
#WhatsYourOxygen photographs by Josh Miller.
“My love for the Uŋčí Makȟá -Grandmother Earth helps me to honor humans of unique cultures to transform their own narrative. I will continue to love and liberate the sacred.” - Mitákuye Oyásʼiŋ - Billi Jo Gravseth
“The laughs, smiles, brilliance, body-moving loveliness of the people that I have the privilege of being in community with.” - Eric Avery
“The fierce work and leadership of a new generation invested in rural landscapes and people.” - Ada Smith
“Being able to affirm commonly held values - as a tribe - and go back to the spaces where the work has to be done.” - Inga Haugen
“Discovery of new things that help develop myself and the community.” - Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews
"For the love of my people will continue to move forward to preserve traditional and cultural arts, to be able to share to the world of who we are that isn’t correctly written in history. We are still here." - Jennifer Martel
“As someone who grew up in a rural area, who has a sense there are multiple ways to be in the these spaces - I want people from rural places to know there it room for all people - there is possibility here.” - Derek Hamm
“Gently pushing boundaries and then going further.” - Dominic Facio
“Knowing that our clients and customers feel seen, and that they are making the transition from striving to thriving.” - Ashley, Caroline, Trevor and Trevor Jr.
“Intuition.” - Jamie Hand
“Sunshine, bbq ribs, and hugs.” - Theo Edmonds
“Smelling places for the first time.” - Lyz Crane
“The dream is the truth.” - Liana Ambrose-Murray quotes Zora Neale Hurston
“Being around people who are irrationally proud of their places is fun and gives my oxygen.” - Simon Stumpf
“Exposure to the deep seeded-ness of others doing this work is what gives me oxygen.” - Jeremy Brownlee