By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC
On a recent weekend in October, my St. Louis neighborhood was the setting for the Historic Shaw Art Fair. A myriad of Shaw residents volunteers to make the fair a success.
Artists positioned their booths along the green space that runs along the middle of Flora Place, a beautiful tree-lined boulevard in one of the oldest intact neighborhoods of St. Louis. The huge houses on either side of the two-block art fair are as much works of art as the selections in the booths.
The weather was chilly, damp and cloudy, but when I arrived for my morning shift around 8:45, the street was already bustling with people setting up tables, carrying chairs, shuttling artists to their booths, and listening to the live music playing in the background. My job was to sell tickets for the food booths; my co-worker had been only a name on Nextdoor Shaw, the neighborhood social media site. After we put the finishing touches on the booth, we settled down to chat; the name quickly claimed a face, personality, and voice.
Community can be found in many places and forms. The Shaw neighborhood is exactly that, a neighborhood, a community of diverse individuals who work hard at crossing race, economic and social lines.
The bustle of early morning activity that soon settled into a familiar routine of helping make the fair a success convinced me that we were focused on a project bigger than our individual selves.
Communities take many forms: families, neighborhoods, religious communities, social organizations. Whatever their center and heart, they all make us more than we are as isolated selves.
Ponder this: who are the people who make up my primary community? What is our center? What continues to hold us together? What do I contribute to the greater good?