There is a conversation in the community arts field about best practices. I have not really been involved in this until now, I am not sure I understood what "best practices" meant because it seems to me that every individual artists' best practice will be different, every community's best practice will not be the same, and that every new combination of people, resources, and place will foster a new kind of practice based on the circumstances. This weekend, however, I realized that there is something that happens in community work at its best. And that is the creation of joy. Maybe I was thinking about best practices too narrowly, it is not necessarily how one runs classes, workshops or events, but the feeling that grows from them.

The Youth Dreamers held their sixth annual Funfest this past Saturday. As their community artist, I was there facilitating the creation of mosaic stepping stones, but also got to participate in most of the day's festivities. It was amazing. There was face painting, tours of the youth center, games, art-making, a cookout and more. Youth from the Youth Dreamers ran the day, were in charge of facilitating the games and tours and orienting people as they arrived. Young people from the neighborhood came out, students from Stevenson University volunteered their time, Youth Dreamer staff and board members also took part. The day was incredible, fun was had, and a sense of joy pervaded. All people there respected one another and the space. It hit me as I was in the middle of a three legged race that this was what best practices is about. It is about doing our best to create circumstances of joy. And it was happening on Saturday. It was beautiful! And it is not just the community artists, the non-profit directors, the youth who were a part of it. Everyone that came to Funfest became an element in this joy. So maybe it is not just a best practice for the field of community arts or for non-profit work, maybe the creation of joy is also a best practice for our lives.