Let Them Bake Bread!

At a loss about how to forge closer bonds between the community and your organization? Let them bake bread!

Not only do you have the example of Bread and Puppet Theater, to inspire you but there is a growing trend of communal ovens across the country.

I recently read an article about how such an oven was helping to revive a dilapidated park in Toronto.

This caused me to recall a seeing Braddock, PA Mayor John Braddock discuss a similar community oven his city set up. The oven was one of the cornerstones in the city’s plan to revitalize itself.

When I conducted a search to see where things stood now, I came across a story of a Torontonian studying nearby in Pittsburgh who was working on the Braddock oven as part of a fellowship.

If you read the article, you will see that like any project, a community oven isn’t quite as simple as it seems. The Braddock oven is being rebuilt/replaced because it isn’t as efficient as it could be. People have to be trained to use it correctly. The wood has to be seasoned and of the right type.

At the same time, the Canadian grad student, Shauna Kearns, has helped to forge community partnerships to get the rebuild accomplished.

With sustainability becoming an area of increased focus, (that was the basis of Shauna Kearns’ fellowship), participating/partnering in a community oven can be bolster organizational identity in the community.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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