Going Sustainable Events Live Forward Blog About Us

Historical Programs



smART [sustainability + madison + art]

smART was a community-based art initiative designed to engage Madison residents in envisioning a sustainable, just, and healthy future for their own neighborhoods and communities. In summer 2015, we held a dedication for our first completed mural at the Darbo-Worthington Salvation Army. Neighbors also created the mural on Zion City Community Outreach Center with Dane Arts Mural Arts, DAMA. The Zion City mural is over 100ft long and was created by more than 300 Arbor Leopold neighbors, beginning with a large community conversation in April 2015.


In this program, community-generated dialogue around sustainability produced collaborative and high quality works of art painted by the residents of the neighborhood, in their neighborhood, and for their neighborhood over the next few years. These facilitated conversations provided safe spaces for Madisonians to share a diversity of creative ideas, ultimately enhancing a resilient sense of community.

Greater Madison Engaged

How can we improve local decision-making so that it promotes community well-being?  This question sparked the creation of Greater Madison Engaged. After 50 one-on-one’s with community members, Sustain Dane and over 45 partners planned and facilitated workshops on equitable community engagement in 2015-2016, featuring Nikola Pavelic, Dubuque’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Kelly Larson, Dubuque’s Human Rights Director, and Cori Burbach, Dubuque’s Sustainable Community Coordinator.


Watch the Grassroots Session from the Greater Madison Engaged workshop with panelists Will Green of Mentoring Positives, Lexi London of Bayview Foundation and Community Art, Karime Perez of Centro Hispano, and Eric Upchurch of Council of Communities.

“We are in the work. It’s a dedication that you have to have. I don’t think a lot of people understand what you need to give up in this community to be a grassroots leader and go after people and help them … It’s that important for me.” –Will Green, Mentoring Positives

Our Madison Through My Senses

Our Madison Through My Senses (OMTMS) was an experience led by Centro Hispano, Center for Resilient Cities, and Sustain Dane, with a goal to open spaces where community members from Madison’s South Side neighborhoods can gather, voice common goals, and share their stories in an effort to work together for stronger, healthier, and more united neighborhoods.


At the end of the summer 2015 program, over 130 neighbors came together, celebrated, and cooked at Food Day: Celebrating Food Through Our Senses. Participant Devon Hamilton shares, “So many of us are from so many places… Food is a universal language. And cook[ing] for people is a way to speak to them from your heart.”


Tactical Urbanism Sessions

Tactical Urbanism encompasses a variety of community actions aimed at improving the places we live. To expand and encourage the practice of place-making in Madison, Sustain Dane, UW UniverCity Alliance, and grassroots organizations came together to put on a series of short informational and training sessions on different approaches to Tactical Urbanism. The 2015 sessions included Little Free Libraries Build, Park(ing) Day, BanditPoetry, and Planting Urban Prairies.