While Colorado Springs has many different initiatives to bring together the community and help create positive change, one of the most diverse and well-known of those is Concrete Couch. Aiming to help different groups come together and work as a team on a project, their mission statement is “to work with kids and community groups to create public art, to build community, and to create environments and experiences that humanize our world.” With tons of different projects completed across the community by diverse volunteers, they seem to do just that. Here, we speak with Steve Wood, Founder and Director of the Organization, as well as Colorado College alum.
First of all, how did you end up getting involved with Concrete Couch?
I started it with other creative, teacher-y people in 2004. We actually were doing community building work together since around 1989, and it was an outgrowth of that work.
What sort of volunteers do you normally get?
EVERYBODY! We mix veterans with senior citizens, with college students, with developmentally different people, with little ones.
Who in the community do you think is impacted by this work and how?
Everyone else included in the last list. Plus at-risk teens, families at risk of homelessness, victims of domestic violence, people with cancer…We work with a lot of people and populations.
Why is it important?
There is a real lack of connectivity in our world. We are more divided now than ever, in my 56 years. We also are facing great environmental and social challenges, and working together, sharing resources, and having fun doing it seems like a great strategy to form a framework for one’s life.
What’s the main message you hope to send to people who take interest in the organization?
For all the reasons mentioned in my previous answer. Plus, we want you involved! Everyone has a lot to offer.
In what ways can people support Concrete Couch if they’d like to get involved?
Sign up for the e-newsletter so they know what’s going on. Visit us on the Second Saturday Sustainability Skillshare (a program started by CC class of 2014 Alex Drew), and see what we
do and meet some of the folks we get to know!
Can you share more details about the Artist-in-Residency Program?
Its a flexible program, for 1-4 weeks, usually with a target project developed mutually by the artist/community builder and the Couch. It’s usually unpaid, but we provide a room and other support. Although, experienced community builders are paid, so it’s a matter of experience.
Our House for the Couch initiative is full of potential. There is not an interest on the planet that could not be put into some concrete form of construction or exploration related to this effort. Sociology, permaculture, science and engineering, teaching, construction trades, art, music, writing, etc. See the website homepage for more info on this.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Come visit sometime! Everyone is always welcome.
You can head to the organization’s website, http://www.concretecouch.org/ for more info on upcoming events and to learn more about their impact in the community.
Written by Susie Dummit.