march

MEND Season 3 - Episode 47

Taking Poetic Action with Leslie Castellano

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“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ”

William S. Burroughs

When it comes to leading lives of passion & creativity, we tend to believe in a set binary.

There are those of us - so we say - that are meant to write, paint, dance, create - make the world a bit more vivid and beautiful by our voice, our touch, our presence.

It is the work to which we are called to in this life.

Then, the same story goes - there are those who are meant to engage in matters of policy.  Civic discourse and dialogue. Who can best affect change at the structural, boardroom, nuts-and-bolts, dare I say, utterly artless side of cultural exchange.  

There are the artists.  

And then there are the policy makers.  

And ne’er shall the two entwine.  

They are made for such entirely different things in this life.
My guest today is someone who tosses this limited theory out on it’s head.

Leslie Castellano is a local performance artist, teacher, dancer & businesswoman - who also happens to be running for City Council - Ward 1, in Eureka, to be precise - this year.  

In this talk, we discuss her decision to venture out of her long-tenure as contributing artist to her local community to a person who is striving to affect policy, as well.

We talk about the intersection of Art & Politics.  

About shifting out of our individual and collective comfort zones to lobby on behalf of the type of world we want to live in - which sometimes means canvassing, making phone calls, and going door-to-door, rather than simply writing a song or creating a dance piece.  

At the heart of each of these impulses, Leslie states,  is a driving desire to care for people and build community.

Through her efforts as an activist, artist & community organizer, she longs to build a society where all people are valued.

We talk about where this impulse has taken her thus far and the places she’s venturing into just now.

I hope you’ll be inspired, as I am, by the work and presence of this wonderful woman.

She’s a reminder to me that even though we all have our designated comfort zones - we can step out of them.  

We can take on new roles, new languages & new possibilities to begin to mend the culture where we live.  

There is a place for ART.  For beauty & symbolism & delight.

And there is a place for re-writing laws and by-laws.  For upending the current structure and mapping out an entirely different system than the one we’ve known.

And there is a way to synthesize the two - so that together they - we - all of us - can THRIVE.