Community Means This

By Andrea Michelbach

While attending a recent Happiness Conference, I sat in on a small-group discussion in which people were brainstorming how to reach out with the happiness message.

“But wait,” someone said. “What are we talking about when we talk about community?”

Good question. Community a buzzword of late means many things to many people. Is it your neighborhood? Your religious group or ethnic affiliation? Your city or street? Community bears clarification.

The “community” in the “community-based exhibition model”

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience operates on a “community-based exhibition model.” This means that all of the museum’s exhibitions, including the upcoming one about race, are developed in collaboration with a group of community members.

This group of community members is called the Community Advisory Committee, or CAC. CAC members are typically, but not always:

  • People who live in the Seattle area
  • People with a direct connection to an exhibition topic
  • Leaders within other community organizations

Of course, this leaves the definition of “community” pretty open. That’s intentional. For the race exhibit, the CAC members range from artists to city leaders to independent filmmakers to former Wing employees.

For me, the diversity reflected in this CAC and others at the museum is astounding (not to mention exemplary, challenging, and more). It’s also reflective of a core message of the upcoming race exhibit: Together, we can achieve a success greater than one individual could ever imagine.

Stay tuned

In the upcoming months, you’ll hear more about the CAC for the race exhibit and from its members. In the meantime, click over to the The Wing’s website to learn more about its community model.

About the Author: Andrea Michelbach is an exhibits intern at The Wing and graduate student in Museology at the University of Washington.

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