A "Stock Exchange" to Track Community Vitality

"The Somerville Stock Exchange" is my year-long community art project, which just reached its six-month mark. I thought that Shareable readers might be interested in it, since I'd written a piece about another community art project I'd worked on in Somerville MA.

Since March 31, I've been gathering information on what local residents have been doing for Somerville's community life, environment, and creative life. I've been gathering news items that affect these areas as well.

All of this has been done online, as well as at tables at various community events. The material gathered is on the project's website, and will be in a printed book at the end of the project's year run.

"Stocks" in a Community Stock Exchange

People who add information to the project’s forum earn "stocks." They can also earn "stocks" by donating to one of the project's three nonprofit partners: the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Somerville Arts Council, and Somerville Climate Action.

The material that people add to the project’s forum then feeds into the project's metaphoric "stock values," which measure changes in Somerville's community, environment, and creative life. As people tell about positive things they've done, stock values go up. As I hear of negative news stories, stocks go down.

As of October 1, Environment stocks are in the lead at $7.75. Creative stocks are second at $6.85, and Community stocks are last at $4.97.

The project's online forum shows all of the things local residents have shared about what they're doing to make Somerville a better place. Every three months, all of this information is also gathered in Quarterly Reports, which are available as free PDFs from the project's website. The latest Quarterly Report is 62-pages long, and was released on October 1.

After the project is finished, this information will also go into a printed book.

Talking about community at a street fair. (Photo by Jacy Edelman)

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