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Inspiring: Power of Art News Stories

Art makes the revolution irresistible. — Toni Cade Bambara

Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles on the power of art from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

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From hip hop to ‘Top Chef’: How two NYC after-school programs teach students about healthy eating
2023-10-06, Chalkbeat
Posted: 2024-05-19 13:57:43
https://www.chalkbeat.org/newyork/2023/10/6/23901806/nyc-healthy-eating-after...

Kevin, a sixth grader at P.S. 146 in Queens who hopes to one day work as a doctor, said he’s always tried to study nutrition. But it wasn’t until he participated in the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S., or Healthy Eating and Living in Schools, after-school program last year that he found an engaging way to learn about it at school. The program, developed in partnership between Columbia University neurologist Olajide Williams and hip hop artist Doug E. Fresh, relies on music to help teach students about healthy eating. What Kevin participated in was one of two after-school healthy eating programs that are being studied as part of a partnership between the after-school provider New York Edge and Columbia University. About 300 students across 20 school sites were provided with either the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S. program, or NY Edge’s Food Explorers program, with their nutritional choices tracked over the course of 10 or more weeks. Through the partnership, researchers aim to learn if the educational interventions from these programs can help kids make healthier choices, particularly at chain restaurants. The focus on teaching students to navigate settings like chain restaurants is especially important as many kids in the programs live in “food swamps,” or areas with few healthy food options, Williams said. “We’d love to have community gardens everywhere,” he added. “But the reality is many people live in food swamps. It’s about how we get them to make better decisions within those swamps.”

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies and the power of art.


Blind Jazz Sax Teacher Inspires Students to ‘Feel’ Their Instruments, Uses His Disability as Teaching Tool
2024-02-09, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-02-19 21:22:02
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/blind-jazz-sax-teacher-inspires-students-to-f...

From a Tampa performing arts conservatory comes the story of a blind jazz saxophonist who uses his disability as a teaching tool. He encourages his students to act on instinct; to feel the music through their instruments, and not let the waking world deceive them. “Welcome to every day of my life,” says Matthew Weihmuller in his jazz improvisation class after turning the lights off. “Then we have a big laugh,” he adds. When Weihmuller started playing, he needed braille sheet music, and pieces would take months; even years to learn. As if that weren’t difficult enough, few people in the country were capable of providing braille music, so he started “brailling” his own, with the help of his mom. “They can’t look at their instrument. Now, they have to feel their instrument with their fingers and hands, right?” Weihmuller told Fox 13. “Now, we’ve got to listen to the music. We can’t read it. It forces the students to use their other senses.” During improvisational sessions, a musician has to be ready for sudden changes in time signature or key. This is nearly impossible to express through sheet music. At least in this regard, the children are learning in the best way for this unorthodox, yet traditional form of jazz music. As an educator with blindness, Weihmuller stresses turning any disadvantage into an advantage, a teaching philosophy that has led some students to tell the man that he has changed the way they look at life.

Note: Read more inspiring news articles on the power of art. For more, explore our uplifting Inspiration Center, which focuses on solutions and the best of humanity and life.


Getting On the Dance Floor Will Shred Pounds in Overweight People, Improve Blood Pressure and Mental Health
2024-01-23, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-02-02 11:24:36
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/getting-on-dance-floor-will-shred-pounds-in-o...

Boogying the night away produces meaningful improvements in one's body mass and waist circumference in people who are overweight or obese, a new study found. Dancing was also seen to improve blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, cognitive disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, and mental health—in other words, all the root causes of the non-communicable diseases that kill most people in the West. The researchers believed that dance would be a more ideal form of exercise because it is sustainable—it's a sociable, entertaining way of exercising that participants will enjoy, rather than a drudgery they have to push themselves through. “Dance is effective on fat loss in people overweight and obese and has a significant improvement on body composition and morphology,” said Zhang Yaya, a Ph.D. student at Hunan University, China. To get their results, published in the journal PLoS ONE, the team studied data from 646 participants who were overweight and obese across ten different studies. They found that dance is very effective for improving body composition and showed that more creative dance types had the most pronounced body composition improvement when compared with traditional dance. Improvements were also found in overweight children and patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How rhythm shapes our lives
2023-05-26, BBC News
Posted: 2023-09-18 14:04:23
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230526-how-rhythm-shapes-our-lives

Why do we care about rhythm? It connects us to the world. It plays a role in listening, in language, in understanding speech in noisy places, in walking, and even in our feelings toward one another. Rhythm is much more than a component of music. We experience the rhythmic changes of the seasons. Some of us have menstrual cycles. We have circadian rhythms – daily cycles of mental and physical peaks and troughs. Tides, 17-year cicadas, lunar phases, perigees, and apogees are other naturally occurring rhythms. Human-made rhythms include the built world – street grids, traffic lights, crop fields, mowed designs in baseball diamond outfields, the backsplash behind the kitchen counter, spatial patterns in geometric visual artforms. Rhythms in the brain have been called out as a basis for consciousness itself. Even in very young children, being (literally) "in sync" with another person engenders positive feelings toward them. Music in general, and rhythm in particular, does an uncommonly good job fostering a sense of community. Indeed, music being played at negotiation sessions helps to smooth the conversations and leads to breakthroughs and compromisesMusicians Without Borders is used to form relationships in troubled regions around the world, to bring hope, comfort, and healing to diverse populations. The Resonance Project and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, which are forming bonds between Israeli and Palestinian children, are other examples of using musical rhythm to overcome differences.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Revolutionary Music Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man Walk and Talk Again – It 'Unlocked the Brain'
2023-04-30, Good News Network
Posted: 2023-07-03 15:34:14
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/music-therapy-helps-paralyzed-man-walk-and-ta...

A patient who was left almost completely paralyzed from a rare disease is now walking and talking again, after a music therapist prescribed mindful listening to his favorite song every night–in this case, a tune by The Carpenters. 71 year-old Ian Palmer was struck down with Guillain-Barr© syndrome last June, forcing him to spend seven months in a hospital where he was unable to walk or speak properly. The rare condition happens when a person's own immune system attacks their body's motor nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. But when Ian was transferred to Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, a state-of-the-art care unit in Lancashire, England, clinicians used music therapy techniques to overcome 'near total paralysis of his body'. His specialist, Clare, taught him mindfulness techniques using his favorite records–and he began listening to The Carpenters each night. Ian was admittedly skeptical, but he can now walk 2 miles a day (3k) and have conversations with his family after the exercises "opened up" his brain. He's never been very musical, so when Sue Ryder first suggested music therapy he said, 'What good is that going to do?' "I'm a typical Northern man, and I thought, 'What's a girl with a guitar going to do for me–get me to the gym.'" "But it really worked. Clare sat me down and explained the process. I learned that music is very unlike other therapies, as it opens up all of the brain."

Note: Watch a profoundly touching documentary about a man who takes on the broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to heal, combat memory loss, and awaken the soul and the deepest parts of humanity. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Lullaby Project helps incarcerated mothers connect with their kids through music
2023-04-16, NPR
Posted: 2023-06-04 18:44:40
https://www.npr.org/2023/04/16/1170315860/the-lullaby-project-helps-incarcera...

When someone is pregnant and they're incarcerated, separation after they give birth is almost immediate. At a women's prison outside Columbia, S.C., a project is underway to help reconnect a few mothers with their children through the creation of lullabies. Ashley [is] incarcerated at the Graham Camille Griffin Correctional Institution, and she's taking part in the prison's pilot songwriting program, working with graduate students from the University of South Carolina School of Music. Together, the grad students and the mothers chart out lyrics, workshop the melodies and collaborate on the layers of musicality needed to get the lullabies just right for a vocalist with the university. Ashley has five children, including her most recent. She says the hardest part of this is being away from them as she counts down the days till her parole or release. And she says the good graces of the students is not lost on those serving out their sentences. "It's - yeah, they could be volunteering anywhere else, like an elementary or something," [said Ashley]. "But they took their time to come to a prison. And even though we are here for crimes and we are sitting here being punished and everything, we're still human, and we still have families that care about us. And everybody makes mistakes, and we're here paying for our mistakes. So any mother out there that has kids, and they're your world, let them know it."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Want Safer Streets? Cover Them in Art
2022-08-22, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-02-19 23:10:10
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/safer-streets-painted-intersections-crosswa...

Crosswalks don’t work. According to various studies, only between five and fifteen percent of drivers slow down at pedestrian crossings. The vast majority of drivers simply don’t pay attention to them. America’s deadly streetscape is the subject of The Street Project, a new PBS documentary about citizen-led efforts to make streets safer. When filmmaker Jennifer Boyd started making it, she assumed distracted driving must be behind the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths. But as she soon learned, digital screens are less of a culprit than most people realize. “Less than one percent of pedestrian deaths involved portable electronic devices,” she found. Instead, she discovered that two of the biggest factors are speeding and bigger cars. If speeding and visibility are the problem and crosswalks can’t stop it, color might. The Asphalt Art Initiative, a program funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, provides grants to create art to modify dangerous streets. One of these projects is in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where artists and residents transformed a high-traffic commercial thoroughfare with a block-long asphalt mural, while students marked safe walking paths in the area with stencils and wheat paste. Overall, according to the Initiative, “the data showed a 50 percent drop in crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists and a 37 percent drop in crashes leading to injuries. Intersections with asphalt art saw a 17 percent reduction in total accidents.”

Note: Don't miss the great pictures and video of public art available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


“You Are Watching the Power of Music Changing Brain Chemistry”
2022-05-27, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-01-16 12:42:28
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/dementia-music-healing-brain-neurology/

Music, it turns out, is medicine for the mind. [A 2021 study] set out to see what happens in the brain when a person with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease listens to their favorite playlist for an hour every day. The 14 participants had brain scans and took neuropsychological tests that involved memory exercises. At the end of the trial the participants showed a small but statistically significant improvement in memory — something that is extremely unusual. New connections had formed between different regions of the brain ... that actually changed brain plasticity and also improved function in relaying information. Thaut says the research shows that while music is in no way a cure for Alzheimers, it can provide a "cognitive boost." That’s why a person with memory impairment may not recall their daughter’s name but may remember all the lyrics to her favorite lullaby. “It’s pulling from emotions, it’s pulling from feelings, it’s pulling from interpersonal associations, it’s pulling from a date or time or period of one’s life — historical things,” [Concetta] Tomaino says. Music serves as a clue, coaxing the brain to fill in the blanks. “It is painful to watch your beloved slip away inch by inch,” [Carol Rosenstein] says. “And if it weren’t for the music, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. As a caregiver and first responder, I can tell you, I would have never survived the journey.”

Note: Watch a deeply moving video of Henry, a 94-year old man with dementia, experience music for the first time in years.


Why Our Movements Need to Start Singing Again
2022-12-04, Common Dreams
Posted: 2022-12-12 01:03:08
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/12/04/why-our-movements-need-start-si...

Social movements are stronger when they sing. That's a lesson that has been amply demonstrated throughout history, and it's one that I have learned personally in working to develop trainings for activists over the past decade and a half. In Momentum, a training program that I co-founded and that many other trainers and organizers have built over the last seven years, song culture is not something we included at the start. And yet, it has since become so indispensable that the trainers I know would never imagine doing without it again. We developed a session within Momentum devoted to reviving song culture. We named it "Why did we stop singing?" This module teaches how to bring more music to our movements by breaking down common barriers like self-consciousness, discomfort with vulnerability, and lack of a shared repertoire. Once Momentum began incorporating it into its curriculum, "Why did we stop singing?" quickly became one of the most popular parts of the training. Over several years, many of the organization's trainers and leaders worked to develop the module and, as they did, some important lessons emerged. Chief among them: Music is a powerful tool that we have too often neglected in our organizing–and members of our movements are hungry to bring it back. The training was designed to promote a more sustainable culture of direct action, as well as to put traditions of mass protest in dialogue with longer-term models of structure-based organizing.

Note: The above was written by Paul Engler, a co-founder of Momentum Training, which instructs hundreds of activists each year in the principles of effective protest. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Can Listening to the Beatles Improve Your Memory? New Research Says Music Just Might Stir the Brain
2022-07-18, Northeastern University
Posted: 2022-08-15 21:19:08
https://news.northeastern.edu/2022/07/18/music-impact-memory-brain-pathways/

When Paul McCartney wrote “Get Back,” he never would have predicted how useful or relevant the song would become for music therapists. In new research, Psyche Loui, an associate professor of music ... found that for older adults who listened to some of their favorite music, including The Beatles, connectivity in the brain increased. Specifically, Loui—and her multi-disciplinary team ... discovered that music bridged the gap between the brain’s auditory system and reward system, the area that governs motivation. “There’s something about music that is this functional connectivity between the auditory and reward system, and that’s why music is so special and able to tap into these seemingly very general cognitive functions that are suddenly very engaged in folks with dementia who are hearing music,” said Loui. The original idea for this research came out of Loui’s own experiences playing music in nursing homes. She recalled how people who couldn’t finish a sentence or thought would suddenly harmonize and sing along to a song she was playing. “[Music] seems to engage the brain in this way that’s different than everything else,” Loui said. What the researchers found was striking: Music was essentially creating an auditory channel directly to the medial prefrontal cortex, the brain’s reward center. Music that was both familiar and well-liked tended to activate the auditory and reward areas more. The music that participants selected themselves provided an even stronger connection.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Alzheimer's Disease: Music Brings Patients 'Back to Life'
2012-04-11, ABC News
Posted: 2022-03-14 17:27:13
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/AlzheimersCommunity/alzheimers-disease-music-br...

Henry Dryer sits slumped over the tray attached to his wheelchair. He doesn't speak, and rarely moves, until a nursing home worker puts his headphones on. Then Dryer's feet start to shuffle, his folded arms rock back and forth, and he sings out loud in perfect sync with his favorite songs. "I feel a band of love, dreams," said Dryer, 92, who has dementia. "It gives me the feeling of love, romance!" Henry is one of seven patients profiled in the documentary "Alive Inside," a heartwarming look at the power of music to help those in nursing homes. "There are a million and a half people in nursing homes in this country," director Michael Rossato-Bennett told ABC News. "When I saw what happened to Henry, whenever you see a human being awaken like that, it touches something deep inside you." Rossato-Bennett said he took on the documentary project to promote Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization that brings iPods with personalized music to dementia patients in nursing home care. "When I end up in a nursing home, I'll want to have my music with me," said Dan Cohen, executive director of Music & Memory. "There aren't many things in nursing homes that are personally meaningful activities. Here's the one easy thing that has a significant impact." Cohen said the personalized playlists, chosen by loved ones, make patients light up. "They're more alert, more attentive, more cooperative, more engaged," he said. "Even if they can't recognize loved ones and they've stopped speaking, they hear music and they come alive."

Note: Don’t miss this profoundly touching and inspiring documentary available here. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


This radio station plays songs made by trees as they grow
2021-08-03, Fast Company
Posted: 2021-08-22 22:02:58
https://www.fastcompany.com/90661294/this-radio-station-plays-songs-made-by-t...

Outside of a library in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an over-80-year-old copper beech tree is making music. As the tree photosynthesizes and absorbs and evaporates water, a solar-powered sensor attached to a leaf measures the micro voltage of all that invisible activity. Sound designer and musician Skooby Laposky assigned a key and note range to those changes in this electric activity, turning the tree’s everyday biological processes into an ethereal song. That music is available on Hidden Life Radio, an art project by Laposky. Hidden Life Radio also features the musical sounds of two other Cambridge trees: a honey locust and a red oak. After he read the book The Hidden Life of Trees ... Laposky thought to tune into the music trees could be making. The name Hidden Life Radio was inspired by that book, written by German forester Peter Wohlleben, which details the social networks and “sentient” capabilities of trees. “Most people probably love trees and [still] don’t consider them all the time,” Laposky says, noting a condition called “plant blindness,” in which people fail to notice the flora in their own environment. “In cities, the trees are there, but unless they’re providing shade or you’re picking apples from them, I feel like people don’t necessarily consider trees and their importance.” Tree canopies are crucial to cities, providing shade that can lower summer temperatures significantly, reducing air pollution, sequestering carbon, and providing a mental health benefit.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Making guitars saved a man from opioid addiction. Now others are getting the same help
2020-10-02, CNN News
Posted: 2020-11-09 19:05:18
https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/18/us/cfc-making-instruments-to-fight-opioid-addi...

Earl Moore remembers the day his father walked out. Moore discovered the power of opioids to take that pain away while attending college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Moore's addiction lasted more than 15 years - before he finally found the help he needed. It was a nightmare odyssey that led him to steal his grandmother's cancer pain medication and his police officer brother's ATM card to pay for pills. Not until Moore says he found a 12-step program and a mentor who showed him the art of building stringed instruments - did he find the self-love and confidence that turned his life around for good. Moore was trying to get clean yet again in 2012 when he heard a master luthier - an expert stringed-instrument maker - was coming to his hometown of Hindman, a tiny hamlet nestled in the lush mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Moore had been doing carpentry, building cabinets and had a love for guitars. Moore found himself in Naselroad's wood shop nearly every day learning how to craft guitars from Appalachian native hardwoods in a town where the mountain dulcimer was first made in the late 1800s. "Music has always been a part of this community ever since pioneer days," said Naselroad. What started out as a one-year apprenticeship became a six-year journey that brought Moore back to life. Since he began, Moore has made more than 70 instruments. He's sold many of them and kept others. Moore's success inspired the creation of the "Culture of Recovery" arts program at The Appalachian Artisan Center.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Do Art Lovers Live Longer?
2019-12-23, Psychology Today
Posted: 2020-02-04 01:58:58
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201912/do-art-lovers...

People who engage in arts-related cultural activities such as going to museums or musical concerts may have a lower risk of dying prematurely, according to a new study by researchers from University College London (UCL). The UCL researchers found a substantial reduction in early mortality among older adults who engaged in cultural activities. After a variety of confounding factors (e.g., socioeconomics, occupational status) were taken into account, those who participated in cultural activities "every few months or more" had a 31 percent lower risk of premature death. This "arts engagement and mortality" analysis spanned 14 years and involved nearly 7,000 older adults. Study participants self-reported the frequency of their arts engagement and cultural activities such as going to museums, art galleries, concerts, and the theater. Daisy Fancourt and Andrew Steptoe co-authored this paper. Part of the link between longevity and arts engagement is attributable to the socioeconomic advantages of those who have the leisure time and financial resources to engage in cultural activities regularly. That said, Fancourt and Steptoe report that arts engagement may have a protective association with longevity that transcends socioeconomics or occupational status. According to the authors, "This association might be partly explained by differences in cognition, mental health, and physical activity among those who do and do not engage in the arts, but remains even when the model is adjusted for these factors."

Note: See the BMJ study on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness Through Music
2019-01-29, New York Times
Posted: 2019-08-12 22:13:48
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/29/well/mind/fighting-the-stigma-of-mental-il...

When Ronald Braunstein conducts an orchestra, theres no sign of his bipolar disorder. Hes confident and happy. Music isnt his only medicine, but its healing power is potent. Scientific research has shown that music helps fight depression, lower blood pressure and reduce pain. The National Institutes of Health has a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts called Sound Health: Music and the Mind, to expand on the links between music and mental health. It explores how listening to, performing or creating music involves brain circuitry that can be harnessed to improve health and well-being. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said: Were bringing neuroscientists together with musicians to speak each others language. Mental health conditions are among those areas wed like to see studied. Mr. Braunstein, 63, has experienced the benefits of music for his own mental health and set out to bring them to others. Mr. Braunstein reached out to [Caroline Whiddon] about creating an orchestra that welcomed musicians with mental illnesses and family members and friends who support them. Mr. Braunstein called his new venture the Me2/Orchestra, because when he told other musicians about his mental health diagnosis, theyd often respond, Me too. In 2014, a second orchestra, Me2/Boston, was created. At each performance, a few musicians briefly talk about their mental illnesses and take questions from the audience.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Library of Congress Lets You Stream Hundreds of Free Films
2015-10-23, New York Times
Posted: 2019-05-06 16:10:30
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/movies/library-of-congress-national-screen...

The Library of Congress has unveiled its new National Screening Room, a free collection of digitized historical films, commercials, newsreels and other clips. According to the library, most of the movies are in the public domain and are available for downloading; others are only available to stream. The National Screening Room is something of a time capsule: The videos cover the period from 1890 through 1999, capturing a broad range of American life. Notable films include home movies by the songwriters George and Ira Gershwin; issues of the All-American News, a newsreel intended for black audiences in the mid-20th century; and a selection of instructional films about mental health from the 1950s. New Yorkers might get a kick out of a short silent film shot in 1905 that shows a new subway chugging along from 14th Street to 42nd Street, months after the underground line had opened. And before the Stonewall riots shook Manhattan, protesters in Philadelphia were filmed during Reminder Day Picket, one of the earliest Gay Pride demonstrations. The project is meant to enrich education, scholarship and lifelong learning, said Mike Mashon, a curator who leads the librarys moving image section. The library says it has the largest archive of moving images in the world, amounting to more than 1.6 million materials. Nearly 300 videos are online, and new content will be added to the website on a monthly basis.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Inventor Makes Music Memory Box So Dementia Patients Can Reconnect With Their Loved Ones
2019-04-11, Good News Network
Posted: 2019-04-22 02:15:29
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dementia-patients-reconnect-with-family-thank...

The Music Memory Box was created as a means of using photographs, objects, and music to help people with dementia to remember their past. The box is programmed to play certain songs that are associated with the various possessions and photos. When one of the objects is placed in the center of the box, a sensor triggers boxs speakers so that it plays the song that corresponds with the object. 28-year-old designer Chloe Meineck says that her great-grandmothers experience with dementia served as the inspiration for the box. Whenever Meineck when to visit the senior at her nursing home, the woman always failed to recognize her. Upon hearing certain songs, however, Meinecks great-grandmother would suddenly begin to recall heartfelt stories from her past. 74-year-old Monica Garrity [said] she and her husband Steve, who has dementia, began using the box in 2017 as a means of helping him to remember events from their marriage and theyve been regularly using the box ever since. We have been able to connect again, it is wonderful, says Monica. He doesnt usually communicate with me but when the music plays, he hums along and even holds out his hand to grab mine. It takes us back to when we got married. In addition to receiving dozens of awards for her design, Meineck recently held a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the manufacturing of the first batch of Music Memory Boxes. Within two weeks, she was able to raise the necessary funds.

Note: Don't miss a video of the Music Memory Box in action at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How This Fashion Brand Is Bringing Women From Israel And Palestine Together
2018-08-31, Forbes
Posted: 2018-09-11 04:15:12
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemartin/2018/08/31/how-fashion-is-bringin...

When retired American couple, Dr. Whitman Jones and his wife Paula created The Center for Emerging Futures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing some of the most difficult situations that humans face, they didnt realize they would also be launching an innovative fashion brand soon thereafter. After visiting Israel and seeing the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians firsthand, Jones began looking for ways to facilitate peaceful connections that could transcend the conflict. Given the skill sets of women in the region, Jones had the idea to bring Israeli seamstresses and designers together with Palestinian embroiderers to create a high-end fashion collection that could create jobs and highlight talents from both sides of the conflict. The result, Two Neighbors ... is dedicated to bringing todays opposing cultures in Israel and Palestine together by providing jobs for women and a pathway to collaboration and peace in a very broken society. Many of the women producing the goods, both Palestinian and Israeli, are often undereducated, so the Two Neighbors team equips the women with the tools and training needed to make the business run efficiently. The ultimate goal is for the US partners to exit the company. At the end of the day, Two Neighbors is about creating peace at the ground level through individuals. Their mission is creating beautiful products through a shared humanity and their most significant achievement is the partnership created among team members in Israel and Palestine.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Painting allows blind artist to see a world of color
2016-08-12, CNN News
Posted: 2017-12-04 03:12:51
http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/12/health/turning-points-blind-artist-john-brambli...

John Bramblitt believes he could draw before he could walk. Art was also his way of coping with spending much of his childhood in the hospital. After experiencing his first seizure at age 2, Bramblitt was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. After each seizure, his vision would remain blurry for a while, but then it would clear up. What neither he nor his doctors realized was that his vision was decreasing each time. In his mid-20s, while attending college for the second time at the University of North Texas in 2001, he received the news that he would lose the rest of his vision. There was nothing doctors could do to stop it. He was completely blind by the time fall semester began. When he was alone, he felt like he was losing his mind. That's when he remembered the joy he used to gain from creating art. He began by trying to draw simple shapes, but would feel his pencil run off the paper. Bramblitt realized he needed to create a structure to follow. Fabric paint, which would create raised lines as it dried, became his new pencil, and he used oil paints to bring the paintings to life. He used [touch] to "see" what he wanted to paint and to distinguish between oil paints, because each color had a different viscosity and texture. Encouraged by the way it made him feel, he would paint for hours every day. Over the years, Bramblitt has connected with charities and started a series of workshops for artists with and without sight, young and old. He believes art should be something everyone can connect with. After all, art changed his life.

Note: Don't miss the incredibly inspiring one-minute video of this inspiring blind artist.


Violence plunged after he brought the arts to a Tijuana neighborhood
2016-06-09, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2016-06-20 13:23:37
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2016/0609/Violence-plunged...

The bunker houses the Torolab project known as La Granja Transfronteriza, or La Granja (The Farm) for short a place brimming with the arts and more that draws community members of all ages. As Tijuana garnered a reputation as one of the most violent places in the world, Camino Verde held the inglorious title of the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. But today, Camino Verdes story is changing. And La Granja, founded in 2010, has been no small factor. On weekday afternoons, the bunker is bustling with young kids screeching out notes on their violins under the guidance of instructors. Families gather on the weekend to grow vegetables in the nascent community garden. Theres a computer lab upstairs, and parents can pursue their GED certificates. Most strikingly, however, violence in Camino Verde has plunged, falling by 85 percent since 2010. This was one of the most violent places in the world, where you werent expected to make it out, [Torolab founder] Raúl Cárdenas Osuna says. Now its common to see governments and arts schools from around the globe coming to the neighborhood to learn. When, in 2010, a group of local leaders came together to talk about what they could do to change Tijuanas violent trajectory, Crdenas took charge of pinpointing where they could make the biggest difference. What people want and what people need is to have a livable space, he says. Already, the project has received multiple prizes and global recognition.

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Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music - Literally
2014-01-25, NPR
Posted: 2016-06-20 13:21:48
http://www.npr.org/2014/01/25/265794611/artist-transforms-guns-to-make-music-...

Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool. "Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns." Reyes believes art should address social issues like gun violence, even when they're difficult and controversial. "We have to be allowed to ask questions," he says. "If you are not allowed to ask questions, you are not free." Reyes also addresses the issue of gun violence in another way, by using guns themselves. His first project began in 2007 in the Mexican city of Culiacan. As part of a campaign to curb shootings, the city collected 1,527 guns. He used them to create art. "Those 1,527 guns were melted and made into the same number of shovels," he says. "So for every gun now, there's a shovel. And with every shovel, we planted a tree." Now Reyes is working on a new project. It is one that transforms guns into something more musical. An exhibition of the work is on display at the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum. It's called "Disarm," and consists of guns that have been turned into musical instruments." To me at least," Pedigo says, "the concept is about taking weapons that are destructive in nature and chaotic and trying to make them for something else. So, instead of objects of destruction, they become objects of creation." That's exactly Reyes' point. Art, he says, is about transformation. "It's the same metal," he says, "but it is no longer a gun. It's now a flute or a guitar."

Note: Don't miss the pictures of Reyes' latest inspiring project at the link above.


Hans Rosling: the man who makes statistics sing
2013-11-07, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-02-07 10:50:39
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/10431350/Hans-Rosling-the-man-w...

The concept of a celebrity statistician might sound as though it must be - and should forever remain - an oxymoron. But watch Prof Hans Rosling ... and you may change your mind. After showcasing his unique approach at a conference organised by TED, [he] garnered a reputation as the Jedi master of data visualisation and the man in whose hands data sings. What Rosling does, in a nutshell, is animate graphs. One dot showing, for example, life expectancy in Britain, is quite unremarkable, but apply Roslings software, and, at the click of a mouse, that dot will move, showing ... how it has changed every year. Add other dots, representing other countries, from France to China, and suddenly you have a moving stream ... that puts each countrys life expectancy into perspective and shows how the figures have changed over the last 65 years. Combine all this with the professors hyperactive presentation style ... and a potentially dry subject suddenly has a [compelling] narrative. Not that Rosling would ever describe statistics as dry. No! he says. Statistics take up four pages in most daily newspapers. People dont find these boring at all, but they dont think of them as statistics. If you support Man United or Arsenal, or if your stock falling means you cant go on holiday, you are interested. Its only boring if you get data you didnt ask for, or if you dont realise its link with the real world.

Note: Rosling has some incredibly hopeful and inspiring data, including that the global population of humans is leveling off. Don't miss his incredibly inspiring TED talk titled "The Best Stats You've Ever Seen."


These paintings were created by a blind man
2015-03-23, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-11-30 14:44:30
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/these-paintings-were...

John Bramblitt of Denton, Texas, lost his vision 13 years ago due to complications with epilepsy and plunged into a deep depression, feeling disconnected from the world around him. He found a new way to express his experience of the world around him in painting however. Bramblitt learned to distinguish between different coloured paints by feeling their textures with his fingers, taught himself how to paint using raised lines and harnessed haptic visualization, enabling him to "see" his subjects through touch. While many of his portraits are taken from events in his life he experienced while sighted, he has also produced life-like paintings of people he's never actually seen, including his wife and son. Art was always a big part of his life but took on a new importance following his blindness. "Art reshaped my life," he said. Whilst continuing to create new works, Bramblitt teaches art workshops focusing on adaptive techniques for young artists with disabilities, for which he has received three Presidential Service Awards. You can buy originals and prints of John's work here.

Note: Don't miss the incredibly inspiring one-minute video of this inspiring blind artist.


Piano inspires 17-year-old to invent land-mine detector
2012-04-03, NBC News
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:47:23
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/piano-inspires-17-year-old-invent-land-mine...

17-year-old Marian Bechtel might live in Pennsylvania, where land mines are not a common occurrence, but she has still managed to invent the prototype for a brand-new minesweeper. The device, [with a] cost far lower than current technology, uses sound waves to figure out where the deadly devices are. The combination of sensitive microphones and a seismic vibrator connected to a standard metal detector was tested, successfully, on mock plastic and metal land mines. It was a finalist in the recently concluded 2012 Intel Science Talent Search. The project was inspired by family connections and a lucky flash of inspiration. "My parents are both geologists," she says. "Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines. During the summer before eighth grade, I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say, and wanted to get involved in science and possibly land mine detection. I noticed that when I played certain chords or notes on the piano, the strings on a nearby banjo would resonate," says Bechtel. "I heard this, and it was almost like the story of the apple falling on Newtons head -- I thought that maybe I could use the same principle to find landmines. So, I began doing research and talking with scientists in humanitarian de-mining and acoustics; three years later I had built a prototype."

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'A way out of the landfill': Paraguay kids play Mozart with violins made from trash
2012-12-17, NBC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-07-09 08:12:16
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/17/15965768-a-way-out-of-the-landf...

The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone. A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay's capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty. The youngsters of "The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura" performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honor at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. "We want to provide a way out of the landfill for these kids and their families. So we're doing the impossible so that they can travel outside Paraguay, to become renowned and admired," said Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher who started the orchestra. Paraguayan documentary filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla Nash ... and film producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have followed the orchestra for years, joining Chavez in his social work while making their film "Landfill Harmonic" on a shoestring budget. The documentary is far from complete. But last month, the filmmakers created a Facebook page and posted a short trailer on YouTube and Vimeo that has gone viral, quickly getting more than a million views altogether.

Note: For an inspiring 12-minute video of the amazing landfill harmonic orchestra, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


How to sing like a planet: Scientists say the Earth is humming
2008-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-04-02 08:57:58
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/morford/article/How-to-sing-like-a-planet...

The Earth is humming. Singing. Its song is ethereal and mystifying and very, very weird a rather astonishing, newly discovered phenomen[on] that's not easily analyzed, but which, if you really let it sink into your consciousness, can change the way you look at everything. Scientists now say the planet itself is generating a constant, deep thrum of noise. No mere cacophony, but actually a kind of music huge, swirling loops of sound, a song so ... low it can't be heard by human ears, [roars] churning from the very water and wind and rock themselves, countless notes of varying vibration creating all sorts of curious tonal phrases that bounce around the mountains and spin over the oceans and penetrate the tectonic plates and gurgle in the magma and careen off the clouds and smack into trees and bounce off your ribcage and spin over the surface of the planet in strange circular loops. It all makes for a very quiet, otherworldly symphony so odd and mysterious, scientists still can't figure out exactly what's causing it or why [it's] happening. Sure, sensitive instruments are getting better at picking up what's been dubbed "Earth's hum," but no one's any closer to understanding what ... it all might mean. Mystics and poets and theorists have pondered the "music of the spheres" (or musica universalis) for eons; it is the stuff of cosmic philosophy, linking sacred geometry, mathematics, cosmology, harmonics, astrology and music into one big cosmological poetry slam.

Note: Not only does the Earth hum, but the Sun sings! Listen here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the nature of reality, click here.


Learning His Body, Learning to Dance
2009-11-25, New York Times
Posted: 2009-11-28 22:18:54
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/25/arts/dance/25palsy.html

Gregg Mozgala, a 31-year-old actor with cerebral palsy, had 12 years of physical therapy while he was growing up. But in the last eight months, a determined choreographer with an unconventional rsum has done what all those therapists could not: She has dramatically changed the way Mr. Mozgala walks. In the process, she has changed his view of himself and of his possibilities. Mr. Mozgala and the choreographer, Tamar Rogoff, have been working since last winter on a dance piece called Diagnosis of a Faun. It is to have its premiere on Dec. 3 at La MaMa Annex in the East Village, but the more important work of art may be what Ms. Rogoff has done to transform Mr. Mozgalas body. I have felt things that I felt were completely closed off to me for the last 30 years, he said. The amount of sensation that comes through the work has been totally unexpected and is really quite wonderful. Ms. Rogoff has often worked outside normal dance parameters with prison inmates, for instance and knew immediately that she wanted to try to create a piece for Mr. Mozgala. I didnt know what I was going to do for him, she said, but I just knew he was inspiring to me. She introduced Mr. Mozgala to a tension-releasing shaking technique, and it was immediately revelatory. My body just really took to it, Mr. Mozgala said. I did that for about 20 or 30 minutes, and when I stood up, I was walking completely differently. My feet were flat on the ground. They knew they were onto something.


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