Cultivating Community through Shared Experiences

Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art
January 29th, 2015

Session 1 – Military Spouses from Meadowlark Retirement Community and the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families
Session 2 – Students Developing Leadership Skills from Job Corps and KSU

When community members entered the Beach Museum I welcomed them and shared my motivation behind the program. Food is what sustains us, and there is nothing more sacred and bonding than sharing quality food and drink with another human being. The purpose of the traditional tea ceremony is appreciation of beauty and being present in the moment. I often enter this mindset while in nature, inspiring the patterns on the mugs, specifically the seasons of the Konza Prairie.

Each participant chose a mug and then found a partner using the unique, matching patterns on the mugs. Partners reflected and conversed while sharing tea. To expand the connections cultivated, partners then joined with another pair whose mugs had the same color handle. Conversation starters were provided to encourage exchange of ideas and exploration of human commonalities. The goal of this activity was for citizens to connect with people they might not otherwise interact with and thereby build the community in Manhattan.

Event photos by Tommy Theis.