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Category Arts & Culture

From artistic collaborations to creative problem solving, the arts have the power to lift us up and transform our future. These stories celebrate art, creativity, and culture in all its forms.

Image: Anton Thomas drawing on his map of North America

Beyond Borders, What Connects Us? This Hand-Drawn Map of North America Shows Us

Maps are just maps… right? Just pictures of the world that show oceans and land; countries and states. That’s what you’d think, but as it turns out, maps can show us a whole lot more than that. What if a map didn’t just show us borders and countries, but things that made our homes, our states, the places we love so unique and special?
Read MoreBeyond Borders, What Connects Us? This Hand-Drawn Map of North America Shows Us
Image: A rice paddy mural in Inakadate, depicting Buddhist diety Acala surrounded by clouds and lightning

How Rice Paddy Murals Saved this Japanese Village

Each year the town of Inakadate, Japan is flooded with tourists who come to see something incredibly special: their annual murals. What’s so special about these murals? They aren’t sketched or painted on a wall, they are planted in epic proportions in the town’s rice paddies. And these massive starchy masterpieces aren’t just breathtaking... over the past three decades they have revived a once struggling town!
Read MoreHow Rice Paddy Murals Saved this Japanese Village
Image: A valedictorian at commencement, facing the crowd of graduates the way this non-speaking valedictorian did in her speech.

Non-Speaking Valedictorian Gives College Commencement Speech

College commencement ceremonies highlight the transition from being a student to going out into the real world. The moving speech at Rollins College – a private college in Winter Park, Florida – on May 8, 2022, admonished the graduates to use their own voices and serve others. It was especially poignant because the valedictorian is a non-speaking autistic woman who never said a word.
Read MoreNon-Speaking Valedictorian Gives College Commencement Speech
5 min read
Image: A man walking down a side walk in front of an orange mural with blue writing that says "Good", using street wisdom practices.

Turn off Autopilot: See the World with Fresh Eyes Using Street Wisdom

How often are we on autopilot when we are on our routine commutes? When was the last time you really noticed your surroundings as you walked through downtown? Did you really notice the sounds of the birds when you walked into your backyard to tend the garden? We spend so much time getting from one place to another to “do things” that we hardly ever look at the spaces between those tasks and see their richness. Here's how we can change that with Street Wisdom.
Read MoreTurn off Autopilot: See the World with Fresh Eyes Using Street Wisdom
41 min listen
Image: Marion Abrams

Why Shared Struggle is Awesome: Secrets of the Spartan Races with Marion Abrams (Episode #92)

Marion Abrams sees people turn enormous struggle into personal leaps forward, in almost every aspect of her work with the famous Spartan Races. Turns out, we don’t even have to be going for “super athlete” status to be transformed. In this interview she completely upends what we may think about the Spartan movement and her insights point to how any of us can find the awesomeness in friends, family, co-workers and even strangers by finding a role in a Spartan event.
Read MoreWhy Shared Struggle is Awesome: Secrets of the Spartan Races with Marion Abrams (Episode #92)
Image: A woman hanging from a slackline while slacklining

What is Slacklining? These Fearless Women Defy Gravity and Stereotypes

Have you heard of slacklining? This daredevil sport has historically been very male dominated, but things are starting to change. Walking almost on air, four fearless women have become pioneers of  the open space, finding mental calm while harnessing their physical strength. By being open and vulnerable high in the air, they display brave feats that we all might just be able to learn from.
Read MoreWhat is Slacklining? These Fearless Women Defy Gravity and Stereotypes
53 min listen
Image: Sarah Leathers

Finding Your Best Self By Solving a Problem for Others with Sarah Leathers (Episode #87)

When Sarah Leathers saw that high school students were lacking community and sick individuals in her area needed healthy meals, she realized she could solve one problem with another. Now, her nonprofit Healing Meals has delivered more than 90,000 meals to those in need of nutritious food, all while connecting kids who need it most.
Read MoreFinding Your Best Self By Solving a Problem for Others with Sarah Leathers (Episode #87)
Image: A cat laying on a blanket, looking at the camera. The same type of cat who guards artwork at this Russian museum

These Cats Take Care of This Iconic Museum’s Art!

Does your cat think it rules the house? Does it expect to be treated like royalty? Don't worry, you aren’t alone. These crafty cats in Russia secured a gig from Empress Elizabeth herself, who welcomed a handful of cats to work in the museum keeping it free of mice and rats. These "guardians of the gallery" are "paid" in room and board, and have been protecting the museum for the last 250 years.
Read MoreThese Cats Take Care of This Iconic Museum’s Art!

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