Gifts make the neighborhood

“Gifts Make the Tribe”

That’s a subtitle from the chapter, “The Powerful Culture of Gifts,” in Seth Godin’s Linchpin:  Are You Indispensable?, the book I’m currently reading. 

And by gift, he means art as he defines it:

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.

An artist is an individual who creates art.  The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.

In the chapter mentioned, he explains the benefit of usury laws (stay with me; there’s a point):

If I give you some money to buy seeds, your farm flourishes, and now we both have money to give to someone else to invest.  The faster the money circulates, the better the tribe does.

One reason that art has so much power is that it represents the most precious gift we can deliver.  And delivering it to people we work with or connect with strengthens our bond with them.  It strengthens the tribal connection.

When the chefs at Lula Café brought to the neighborhood a menu of daily specials created from local, seasonal, organic food, they gave a gift to their customers, and to the neighborhood.  They changed it, and the neighborhood flourished.

When José Gonzalez sits down with a customer at El Cid, he gives a gift.  The more customers who experience this, the more effective he is at strengthening the tribal connection between customers and El Cid.

The people who planted and continue to nurture the Paseo Prairie Garden are also artists.  They strengthen the bond between people and the neighborhood.

Same with Suzanne Schulz and the volunteers who give us Summer Sessions on the Square.

There are more.  Who else?  Who along Milwaukee Avenue and in the neighborhood (or your neighborhood) has given the gift of their art?  Who has changed you or the neighborhood in a positive way?  Who has strengthened a bond through their “art?”

Spring diversions elsewhere:

The Chicago Aldermen Project:  50 Aldermen/50 Artists:  opening reception Friday, March 19, from 
7:00 – 11:00 p.m. at Johalla Projects,
1561 N. Milwaukee Ave; register to vote and see your alderman up against a wall!; show continues through March 27.


Pilsen Artists:  A Night of Provocative
Art and Music
:  Friday, March 19,
starting at 7:00 p.m. at
La Fonda del Gusto,
1408 N. Milwaukee Ave.;
all ages.

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