by Tamra Portalla (University of Rhode Island)
YESTERDAY I HAD THE AMAZING OPPORTUNITY to bear witness to a community gathering together for nothing but a mutual love of art. When comparing a small town in New Hampshire to a small town in Italy you may find some of the same things: for example, both are surrounded by miles of forest and little streets that lead to a main street or main piazza. However, what is not the same is the culture of this small town in central Italy. The people of Cagli act collectively and seek art and culture within the walls of their own community. In Pembroke, New Hampshire, which is a small town in New Hampshire, the residents leave the town and travel to the bigger surrounding cities to gain exposure to the arts. In Cagli, the town celebrates the arts together by sponsoring programs and initiatives that bring the residents out of their homes and into the streets.

The collective nature of this community is what binds them together. Whether it is through morning espresso in the piazza or evening vino rosso, residents have a central place to socialize and experience all that is Cagli. There is a sense of loyalty and devotion to community and a sense of responsibility to make sure all are educated in the arts and life. The notion that it takes a village to raise a child is very much expressed as a mother walks by with a small child and everyone that passes stops to say hello to the child and mother. Its takes a village to raise a child and community to educate. Its takes a collective society to make it through the tough times. I can only hope that one day the individualistic nature of Americans can be changed and people will start thinking beyond their own selfish needs and ideals. It is in times of crisis that people band together, but I challenge people to band together in times of peace.