Longmont, Colorado Celebrates a Month of Philosophy
[infobox color=”#6394bf” textcolor=”#000000″ icon=”comments”] Learn about Grey Havens Philosophy’s Longmont Thinks! Initiatives that inspired a month long celebration of philosophy within the town of Longmont, Colorado[/infobox]
Mayoral Proclamation Ceremony at Longmont City Council Meeting
Philosophical Songwriting Workshop
Outdoor Philosophy Discussion on Fake News
Art, Senses and the Mind Art Activity
Grey Havens Philosophy Staff, Volunteers and Supporters
Grey Havens Philosophy ran the Longmont Thinks! Month was in April 2019 and will be followed by Summer of the Mind which officially begins on May 23.
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PLATO: Can you describe how the Longmont Thinks! Initiative was started?
Grey Havens Philosophy: In 2018, we invited two Longmont City Council members to a philosophy discussion with Grey Havens YA, one of our discussion groups for grades 6-12. One council member in particular, Marcia Martin, was impressed by the quality of thinking from our young adults and excited to become more involved in our organization. She invited Mayor Brian Bagley to attend a meeting in January 2019. He was equally impressed. Ms. Martin suggested that we request a mayoral proclamation related to our work. Mr. Bagley and the City Manager agreed. On March 19, Mayor Bagley proclaimed the month of April as Longmont Thinks! Month. The idea was to make as many opportunities for philosophical conversation available to as many people as possible in as many public spaces as possible. We partnered with ten different businesses and agencies, including the City of Longmont, the philosophy department at Colorado University-Boulder, and the Philosophy Outreach Program of Colorado.
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PLATO: What did Longmont Thinks! Philosophy month involve?
Grey Havens Philosophy: We had a series of preview activities in March to get the community excited about the Month of Philosophy in our town, such as:
- Inter-generational philosophical songwriting workshop
- Think & drink discussions at a local tasting room
- Inter-generational discussion at the senior center
- Inter-generational philosophy art jam
PLATO: What a great spectrum of offerings for the community. What were some program offerings from the Philosophy Month in April
Grey Havens Philosophy: There were so many great philosophy programs, but here are some of the highlights:
- Outdoor Philosophy Discussion on “Fake News”: Twenty-two people of at least five generations gathered in St. Stephen’s Plaza in downtown Longmont to discuss truth and responsibility in media. The discussion ranged from evaluating news sources to the meaning of “truth” to the difference between art and propaganda and, finally, to which kinds of cultural artifacts should be preserved. Our partner in this program was the Longmont Downtown Development Authority.
- Art, Senses, and the Mind for ages 3-7: This activity asked participates to reflect and discuss the following questions: If you make art inside a box then seal the box forever so no one can see, is it still art? Can art be functional? What if we see the same colors but call them by different names? How would we know what the other person sees? We made a mess and talked about some big ideas at Art, Senses, and the Mind at Firehouse Art Center. Our favorite comment came from a four-year-old participant who said that we need public art because “it makes the world more real.”
- “How to Have a Philosophical Conversation with Your Child” Workshop: Parents went beyond the information in our poster and brochure program as we shared with them what we have learned in five years of doing philosophy with children and teens. Our partner for this program was Longmont Recreation Services.
- An Inter-generational Exploration of Meaning: Twenty philosophers from age 11 to 80+ gathered at the Longmont Senior Center to talk about how their worldviews were shaped by the fears and hopes of their childhoods, what they hope the future will look like, and how we might get there.
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PLATO: Does your organization plan on offering more philosophy programs for your community in the near future?
Grey Havens Philosophy: Yes! We are very excited about our philosophy summer program that is called: “Summer of the Mind.” Program offerings begin on May 23 and the full schedule will be released by May 18 (click here for event updates). Here is one offering we are really excited about:
- Books and Big Ideas Storytime on the Meaning of Family (ages 3-6) as part of Longmont Museum’s Discovery Days program.
PLATO would like to thank Kelly Cowling for taking the time to contribute to this blog post. Grey Havens Philosophy programs are supported in part with grant funding from the PLATO organization.