COMMUNITY

Tikkun Olam is the central obligation in Judaism: “Heal the World”

I view my work as a teacher as the primary recurring opportunity for me to fulfill this imperative. I also see much of my work as a writer, photographer, and artist as means by which to answer this call. I am fully committed to continuing to work collaboratively in diverse communities, to effect progressive change in the world.

My parents were active in the Civil Rights movement and taught me to stand up for myself and for others. At Western Michigan University I have been involved in many forums for governance. Working mostly behind the scenes I have helped forge alliances that led to the elimination of obstacles previously faced by religious minorities and by LGBT students, faculty and staff on campus.

In 2010 I was hired by Kalamazoo Valley Community College as a consultant and co-artistic director of a new arts eco-cultural network for southwest Michigan. The charge for our work was to “To facilitate the collaborative work of artists and communities in order to rejuvenate and sustain the region’s cultural, economic and environmental vitality and increase the long-term quality of life.” Attached is the proposal I wrote with Kevin Dodd: Art+InnovationNetworkSolomon

During the years I worked on commission as a photographer, there were occasions when I found my values were not in accord with the needs of my clients. I found various solutions, none of them perfect. One was to assign myself work no one wanted to give me. This photograph is from a story I did about an eastern Kentucky family and how their community was impacted by strip mining.

 

Christmas Day, Floyd County, Kentucky, 1983, © Paul R Solomon 2013

Christmas Day, Floyd County, Kentucky, 1983, © Paul R Solomon 2013