Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

If it were easy everyone would be doin’ it, right? – Blog Post from Cheeraz

Posted on by cheeraz

Being an artist has its challenges. Being an artist who decides to take up the mantel of doing work that improves a community while all eyes are on you, you must learn to bob-and-weave, baby. Bob-and-weave. (To say the least)

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news on our speakers and their respective projects you may have read or heard the news about the Watts House Project and the redevelopments founder, artist Edgar Arceneaux, stepping down. If you hadn’t heard or read the news about Mr. Arceneaux stepping down, sorry for the spoiler and you can catch the article here for more details. For those of you wondering, yes, the show will still go on this Saturday, April 14th at 9am in the Starlight Room at the Chase Park Plaza with Managing Director, now Executive Director of the Watts House Project, Will Sheffie.

After the LA Times news broke, Will Sheffie and conference organizer Roseann Weiss have had some good and frank conversations. As planned, Mr. Sheffie will come speak to us about the Watts House Projects (WHP) and its goal of transforming the homes across the street from the Watts Towers, however, this is a unique moment because we’ll get the opportunity to listen to the wisdom he’s gathering in the midst of this perceived “shake-up” in the organization. Hey, not all signs of progress are pretty.

I know 9am is early for some people and may seem just plain cruel to most artists that anyone would schedule anything where you would have to be alert at that hour, but this just may be one of the best teachable moments of the conference.

Will Sheffie is the Executive Director of Watts House Project (WHP),  an artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment organization in Los Angeles. Sheffie brings to WHP a wealth of civic and not for profit experience. He has worked for local elected officials  and a number of municipal departments such as, the Los Angeles Housing Department and Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. Will  also has  experience in the non-profit sector as a community organizer, grant writer and currently serves on several boards for  local charities and foundations. Will enjoys working with the Watts and South Los Angeles communities having been involved in numerous projects and programs with community groups and local non-profit agencies.

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