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BorderLore, February 2016 
Creative City 
In imaginative places, culture is practiced and interpreted in different ways -- but there always is a shared sense of belonging on common ground.

Wherever we live, we aspire to be citizens of a creative city -- experiencing, sustaining and shaping our community into a distinctive, diversified and livable place.  

In December, Tucson earned a formal designation that saluted the pueblo's inventiveness as well as its rich history of food traditions. This distinction gave Tucson a spot in a 116-city global Creative City network in 54 countries -- and made Tucson the first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy in the United States. Certainly Tucson's diverse food cultures are crucial to what gives this city its range. And it's a worthy World City of Gastronomy -- with such vigorous local significance placed on heritage seeds, ethnic foodways, native plants, food justice programs and community folklore.

Creative cities also balance life's other everyday aspects: the environmental and the artful, the technological and the social, the built and the political. Creative cities are holistic processes informed democratically by all. As Jane Jacobs reminds us, "Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody....." (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities)

We seek fluency in the language of a creative city through its many senses. BorderLore spins its storytelling with some essential stimulators this month: 

Taste: Chef Janos Wilder puts food culture in a chef's perspective, and discusses the UNESCO Creative Cities designation as it connects with issues including food security and community empowerment, here

Hearing:
Does the poetry of sound matter? New Mexico folklorist Dr. Enrique Lamadrid speaks to the "bilingual  virtuosity" of author Rudolfo Anaya here, in this BorderLore guest post.

Sight:
Jim Griffith takes us on a tour of African American grave markers found in the Old Quarters of former sawmill town McNeary, Arizona (part of a BorderLore series), here.
   

Sight, Part 2:
We see one African American cowboy through cultural eyes, in this photo exploration of a cattle ranch called Keeylocko, here.


Smell:
Local perfumer and artisan Lesli Wood Peterson of La Curie discusses how fragrance conveys (and is influenced by) culture and community. Meet this local Nez and her scent-making craft, here.   

Touch:
Two takes: the power of touch in community music-making by TMY master violinist Fadi Iskandar is here. A video of Wat Buddhametta founding Abbot Ajahn Sarayut Arnanta in an evening chant, inspired by the beautiful Buddhist practice of Ańjali (clasped hands), is here.
 
  • Save the Date: March 25. Death Discourse Dinner, Contemporary & Non-Traditional Perspectives on End of Life. This is the first of three 2016 Continuum conversations. Learn more here.

  • The February roundup of additional news and resources is here.


End Notes... 
 
As we continue to debate the definition of creativity...there is no doubt that it's up to everyone, even our inanimate spaces, to be imaginative engines of our city. What is your creative act today? The question remains, as does the purpose of creativity, and how it benefits the well-being of all citizens.


"...Each of these towns grew as a whole, under its own laws of wholeness...and we can feel this wholeness, not only at the largest scale, but in every detail: in the restaurants, in the sidewalks, in the houses, shops, markets, roads, parks, gardens and walls..."
Christopher Alexander, A New Theory of Urban Design, Oxford University Press, 1987,  


"But unless we are creators we are not fully alive... Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living...."
 
© 2016, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the e-news magazine of Southwest Folklife Alliance. The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people's viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona. 
Managing Editor:   Monica Surfaro-Spigelman 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We welcome your feedback, commentary and any suggestions or ideas. Write to us at:  swfolklife@gmail.com

Previous issues of BorderLore Newsletter are archived  here and here.