Written by OluShola A. Cole
The dust will always feel like its perpetually settling. Two years after stumbling off a tour bus in Wisconsin, flying home to Connecticut, and settling in New Haven, I’m still dusting myself off and examining what it means to be a “New Havener.”
It should be no surprise to a seasoned resident that despite negative exposure due to violence and crime, the art in this town serves as an eye-opening reminder of the strong creative fabric of this town. In my brief time here at the Arts Council, I’ve seen the threads of neighborhoods, organizations, community groups woven together with great trust.
There is no need to wax poetic about the importance of relationships in this city. Maybe it’s the first time I’ve been based in one place for more than a month, so it’s something I don’t take for granted. From neighborhoods using the arts to keep families engaged, fed, and safe to numerous organizations trying to heal grief-stricken communities using creativity, the thread that weaves through all of these relationships is trust.
Speaking to this topic allows me to reflect on the tenderness of trust. I think about all the different people whose stories with which I’ve been entrusted. Trust is an essential tool in building relationships between artists and various arts organizations, and learning to use it can be a worthwhile investment.
Trust is one of those things that makes us pause during the daily grind and reevaluate how we arrived at that moment. At some point in our journeys we trusted, were entrusted, built and rebuilt trust, and became distrustful, and yet still managed to develop the relationships necessary to deliver us to where we are today.
OluShola A. Cole is the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s coordinator of community programs. This is her opinion.