A few years ago, we blogged about a community program known as The Laundromat Project. The Laundromat Project is a community-based art program that takes place in local laundromats across New York City. What makes this program unique is the fact that they use a space where people of different races and backgrounds converge. The laundromat is a common ground that all types of people come to, and the downtime created in waiting for laundry creates a perfect opportunity to engage in art. Right now, the project works out of different laundromats in the city, but their long-term goal is to create an art center that adjoins a laundromat and create a more permanent dialogue with a particular space.
I found the most groundbreaking aspect of the project to be its offering of residencies for artists. In their Create Change program, artists have the chance to break out of the independent mindset of working as an individual. Most artist residencies give artists an incubation space for their own work. The Create Change program allows artists to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the community. This departs from the norm, and allows for the artists in residence to explore what is possible when art is integrated into a community setting that would otherwise not be a part.