Singer/author brings communities together
It all started after a Chelan city official read the book What I Found In a Thousand Towns. That official talked to others, and from that book reading grew the idea to bring singer/songwriter and author Dar Williams to three Chelan County communities for a week-long residency.
From there, a group of local organizations — including North Central Regional Library, the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts, Our Valley Our Future, Together for Youth, Sleeping Lady Foundation, Historic Downtown Chelan, the Woods Family and Western States Arts Foundation — formed a partnership to make it happen.
"The whole point of her book is the concept of Positive Proximity as a way to build community resilience and identity. What I love is that the sheer process of planning the week with her required the cooperation and collaboration of multiple organizations and agencies across three towns. Positive Proximity in the making!" — Angela Morris, NCRL Director of Public Services.
During her visit the first week of October, Williams brought together a wide cross section of people in the communities of Chelan, Leavenworth and Wenatchee to talk to each other about what they value most about their communities and where they see challenges.
"She was able to talk to students in every community about the places and people they love about their community. She spoke to civic leaders in all three communities too about how to look for solutions to problems and build bridges with those that you may not agree with, but that you likely have some of the same values and goals and to work from there." — Morris said.
Wenatchee World Publisher Rufus Woods said all of the communities are working to build and maintain a sense of identity as they work through change or growth.
"Our hope was that this visit would be a catalyst to start conversation. To that end, it was a success. It's the whole TedX concept, and Our Valley Our Future. It's connecting the dots. This is how communities thrive." — Woods said.
Morris described Williams as a delightful author and singer/songwriter who has a gift for listening and reflecting on what she has learned through her decades of experience observing the dynamics of towns across the country.
"But the best thing about her coming is that she was a catalyst to some amazing conversation, thoughtful book discussions, and a rapt concert audience!" — Morris said.