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RVP Reflection Series: Ashley’s Experience

Author: Ashley Seiler Upon entering the RVP convention I was blown away by the number of people that were in attendance. After mingling and a quick look at the art exhibit displayed, I headed to one of the many sessions. The session that resonated with me the most was Community-Driven Visioning to Reclaim Vacant Properties in Fort Wayne and Philadelphia. The two presenters that stood out most to me during this session were Rena Bradley and Alexa Boss. I enjoyed…

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RVP Reflection Series: Odera’s Takeaways

Author: Odera Igwe The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) was a national conference dedicated to creating community cohesion through new strategies to transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties into community assets. This conference was a great opportunity for me to meet people all over the US who specialize in different aspects regarding the revitalization of vacant land; law, youth engagement, community advocacy, architecture, and more. The first session I attended was Community-Driven Visioning: A design thinking approach, and was probably…

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Planting Seeds for the Future

Pittsburgh, as the nation within which it resides, has a storied past awash with inequality. Both here and in the United States at large, a great deal of this inequity stems from the fact that the means of production (mainly land) are controlled by a small number of people relative to the total population. Historically, this has been the case for just about as long as this country has existed. As our worries mount in the face of climate instability,…

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GSI…. but why?

Background Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a city defined in large part by water: from the 3 large rivers that help to outline the city's center, to the snowfall that periodically graces this area's winters, this element shapes human life in the region. Historically, the waterways running through the Pittsburgh area have been used for transportation (both of people and goods), sustenance (through farming and fishing), and recreation, among other pursuits. However, the influence of water in this region is not only…

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Brittany’s Goodbye

As my time at Grounded comes to an end I have found myself reflecting on my experience here. In May when I joined the Grounded team I was excited about the opportunity to be an intern, but I was also unsure- specifically of my abilities and knowledge in marketing. I know, it sounds crazy. I have spent the last four years studying and obtaining a degree in marketing, but I was not confident in my knowledge of the subject. As…

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Grounded in The Art Trap

The Art Trap: Trap + Paint is a monthly event curated by our Project Associate Kuwame Kinsel. In July, with support from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, he presented it to over 120 patrons at the seasonal Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl. The goal of Art Trap to bring individuals from various social, economic, and cultural backgrounds together to create a safe space powered by art, culture, and entertainment. While out in the field, Kuwame noticed a trend of communities lacking self-care or…

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Kathy’s Farewell

In my ten weeks at Grounded Strategies, I have learned several important things and gone through many valuable experiences. Even my perception of what a job entails has changed. Interning at a non-profit has shown me how passionate a group of people can be in the office. This not only influenced the office atmosphere but also increased my motivation. My time at Grounded has made me a lot less afraid of what’s to come after college and incredibly excited to…

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Permaculture Design: Ecological Solutions to Planetary Problems

For the purposes of sorting out the issues our world currently faces and quelling the fires which threaten to consume us there is one system of ethics that seems particularly well suited. This system, developed from the synthesis of indigenous wisdom about Earth systems and modern best practices in the management of human populations is called Permaculture. Coined by Bill Mollison, the term permaculture is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture (or culture). However, it is an approach…

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The Connection Between Art and the Environment

When thinking about art and environmental issues such as climate change, the two subjects don’t seem to have much overlap. A deeper dive into art and its capabilities, however, prove that idea false and quite the opposite. With work like that of Agnes Denes, John Sabraw, David Maisel, and countless other artists, there are clear connections between art and the environmental concerns that we hold. These artists’ work forces the audience to confront the different ways in which humans have…

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Interim ED Statement

Dear Pittsburgh, Over the past four weeks, I have had the opportunity to intently and carefully reflect on the very recent and significantly consequential leadership transition here at Grounded Strategies.  To say the least, this introspective endeavor has included a deep consideration of the role I have been tasked to play as the appointed Interim Executive Director of the organization. From this context of observation and mindfulness, I would like to directly address our partnering communities, funders, friends, and supporters…

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Juneteeth: A Celebration of Freedom

On June 19th, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Texas to announce the freedom of slaves. This announcement took place two and a half years after slaves were legally freed. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863 but the news did not make it to Texas for over two years. The reason for this is unclear- some say the messenger was killed on his way to Texas, others say slave owners intentionally withheld the information…

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