Madison Community Discourse | News and Updates | Community art nonprofit

We are so excited to officially start the year studying happiness in the city of Madison.  We are taking this on as a real study, ensuring that the people in our town truly are engaging with each other, connecting with each other, and building a stronger sense of belonging.

Our goal is to interview two hundred people over the course of the year.  In the two weeks that we have officially been working on the project, we have already interviewed 26 people and have started to release the interviews.  We will be releasing two a week over the course of the year.  All ages, races, genders, backgrounds will be our focus, reflecting what Madison really is and who the people in it are like.

Click on the pictures below to see our portraits of happiness that we have shared this month.

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We are asking each and every person the same question and the results have been incredible.  People are so wise, so fascinating.  They each have their own perspectives and stories to share.  This is a vulnerable moment:  sharing your world with the public, and we are so honored when people participate.  

We are even more amazed and frankly, happy, when people are engaging in other people’s responses.  It gives a glimpse into someone else’s world, allows us to step into their shoes for a moment, and if we are lucky, we can see through their eyes.  The project, the goal, is already starting to work.  We are already starting to connect people through our website and through various social media.

There are two scheduled events for the coming month and we hope that you can attend.  

Our ‘making’ workshop will be an interactive art experience called Frame of Mind.  Here we examine positive thinking and its affects on our emotional state.  We present related research that we have collected on positive thinking, play a game that engages this topic, and create art that will help retrain your mind to think positively.

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This free event will be held at the Pinney Library on October 15, from 10am-12pm.  It is designed for teens and adults, but children are welcome to interact as well.  There is the children’s play area in the library close by as well.  

The second event is our discussion group called “Happy Hour.”  Here we collectively discuss different components of happiness and what it means to us individually and as a community.  In this first Happy Hour, we will share our ideas about happiness and its definition. What does it mean and how does it shape our lives? Are we SUPPOSED to be happy all the time?

This is a group where people can connect with new people, share their ideas and thoughts, and these larger social issues on the topic of happiness. We believe that through this social discussion group, we can explore new perspectives and understand our community, and our world, better.

The first Happy Hour will be hosted at Old Sugar Distillery on October 26, from 6-8pm.  

All of the events and workshops that we are creating is building towards our exhibition that will be held in October 2017.  This will be unlike any other exhibition that we have hosted.  There are many details to work out, but it is all very exciting.  And hard to keep it secret.  Details to come as the months roll on.

We at MCD are committed to forming community partnerships of all kinds.  We have many worked out already, but if you have any suggestions or would like to be a part of the project, please email us at madisoncommunitydiscourse [at] gmail.com.

Please see more on our Frame of Mind workshop here.  

Please see more on our Happy Hour workshop here.  

We are on the forefront of an amazing year, the start of something that will change our city.    With this ripple of happiness, we will share in something great together, something that will make us happier, more connected.

Thank you so much for your support of the project.  We could not do it without you.

Rachel | Community Stories | Madison Community Discourse

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“For me I guess a happy moment was the birth of my daughter. Part of that is the amazing experience that you just can’t know what it’s gonna be like.  You envision in the months that come…and there’s anxiety, there’s fear, and there’s excitement as well. There are all these different emotions that happen at that time, but when it actually happens nothing can prepare you for that moment.  Your child is coming out of you and someone hands you your baby that is yours. You created this person, and this life force is coming from you.  I think it’s God and you are shepherding this person into the world.  It’s this amazing experience.

The ripple effect of that happiness continues throughout your life.  You watch this child grow and change and you can see who they are.  You receive this love back from them that’s pure and this unconditional adoration. That happiness that comes from that only grows.

Not that there aren’t challenges.  It was a difficult birth. I almost died, my daughter almost died, but what’s amazing is the continuation of life in itself even with all the struggles there is a lot of beauty in that and a lot of joy in that.

I think that’s where happiness and joy start to split off some. I recently read that happiness is getting something that you want, whereas joy is getting what you need or what was meant for you. And I think having a child is a very apt example of that because no matter what comes with that – the challenges or struggles that unfold, there’s still this sense as a parent that there is this infinite joy that comes from them.  Whatever comes after that doesn’t change that. You go on and live your life and they live theirs separate from you, but I think there’s this innate joy that comes from your connection to them.  There’s that truth in that.”

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We are interviewing 200 people all over Madison to create a ‘portrait’ of happiness.  If you are interested in being interviewed, please email madisoncommunitydiscourse [at] gmail.com.

To see the full portrait, please visit our home page.