The woman that was interviewed is named Glynnis and she is an artist/teacher that believes many improvements in the community can be made through the incorporation of art. She is original from Los Angeles but has lived in the Atlantic County area for the last 6 years. We had asked her what changes she has witnessed and experienced over the past year in Atlantic City and county, and she had an obvious/strong perspective of these changes through the school district. She had said that there have been many layoffs which included tenured teachers that have been a part of the teaching district for a very long time. Glynnis felt that the next semester had a negative climate within the school due to these demotions and layoffs and was not pleasant to witness. There was also a positive aspect that she found despite the issues taking place in Atlantic City, and that was that there are more opportunities for art and artists. Because of this, Glynnis had the opportunity to work with the Atlantic City Police Athletic Community and have kids of the community create paintings that were to be put in the windows of the Atlantic City Arts Garage to raise awareness in the community that the input of these children and people of color is important. During her time in Atlantic City, Glynnis has worked with a program called The Coalition for Safer Communities that do things such as neighborhood walks and worked with the police to collect guns to take them off the streets in an attempt to minimize the threat of violence. The people she had worked with was an Atlantic City councilman named Kaleem Shabaaz, and Perry Mays, who is active in the community by raising awareness of violence and developing relationships between law enforcement and the people of the community.
Glynnis has a strong passion for art and believes that art allows people to speak their voice and assert themselves for them to create a vision of who they are for others to see. She believes that this is very important for children to see and understand so that they have an avenue to express themselves. In terms of challenges that Atlantic County faces, Glynnis thinks that there is a lack of diversity in the work environment and people not being able to see the differences in environments as a whole such as social and cultural. To enhance the quality of life in Atlantic City, Glynnis believes that there should be more economic opportunities in terms of more available jobs and for the residents to have a possibility to be included in financial opportunities without needing to have an established network of people or only having these opportunities because of knowing someone “important”.
Through the completion of the interview, some fundamental and powerful concepts that can be related are power, interaction, and environment. When Glynnis talks about how she works with people that hold important positions in the community and engages in some programs that help the community, interaction is present. She intends to help her community by interacting with others and working together with programs comprised of local residents to make the area a better and safer place. Interacting with the community to help the area also ties into the concept of environment. Glynnis claims that she has put on art events and shows, and was also involved in creating some public art. This is indirectly and directly helping the environment of the city to make it more welcoming because art is a great way to attract people and liven up the area. She also said how she wants the city to be more diverse and see all types of people working together and engaging with one another. This connects to our course concept of place making, but more specifically, Glynnis seems to want to see parts of the city turn into what we call a “cosmopolitan canopy” (Anderson 2011) where all cultures understand, respect each other, and co-exist together. The next concept that is seen during the interview is the concept of power and that is present when we talk about how Glynnis feels towards the state and local political systems. These political systems have the most power when it comes to making decisions on how the state is run, and Glynnis says, “I am not too confident in the ability of the state to handle the challenges of Atlantic City, but I do have more confidence in the local system because I have more trust in them”. I believe that is a good representation of how the community views the power of the state versus the local political system.