Culture Scouts Link Art and Community
The Culture Scouts, a group of activists working at the nexus between art and community building, has emerged as a strong example of social innovation from SEiSMiC's national network in the Netherlands.
Culture Scouts support creative projects in neighborhoods around Rotterdam with the aim of improving "the quality of life, social cohesion and participation in the neighbourhood," according to the group's description.
Culture Scouts, which have been running more than a decade, now have 14 staff deployed across the city. They work to support cultural initiatives by giving advice, forging connections and identifying sources of financial support. The scouts themselves are supported by the City of Rotterdam.
As an example of their work, the Culture Scouts organise a series of events called Culture Mixers, with the most recent having been Cultuurmixer XL on June 5 in Rotterdam city centre. During that event, several cultural projects from the neighbourhoods where the scouts work presented themselves on the Flying Grass Carpet, a sort-of pop-up park comprising an enourmous artificial green resembling a Persian Rug. The rug itself is the creation of a former colleague of the Scouts who now runs an innovative design company, Studio ID Eddy.
Culture Mixers are events for socialising and entertainment and have featured spoken word performances, dances by students from the local Russian School of Arts, reggae concerts and the like. As well, the meetings are networking opportunities to connect Rotterdam’s cultural initiatives with interested residents and visitors.