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Community Art

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

Community Art


Community art is used to address social problems including homelessness, racism, and violence against women. It often incorporates many layers of intention and options for levels of engagement.

"Community art is a generic name for a contemporary practice involving co-creative actions by artists and non-arts groups. New genre public art, art in the public interest, art for change, collective art making, cultural democracy, civic dialogue, activist or social-action art are other terms applied to this type of activity. While collaboration in artistic phases of conception, perception, production, dissemination and evaluation is key, community art has been contested, at times, by the "high" art world for its radical processes of inclusion. However, the practice is already recognized as being a lab situation for possible patterning of extended social action." - c.j. fleury and Elizabeth Sheehey, Templates for activism project, at http://www.templatesforactivism.ca/communityart.html


community theatre project by Welfare State International


Examples of community art addressing environmental concerns include the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival - an art, community building and environmental awareness project. "The festival first took place during the Spring and Summer of 2003 with numerous workshops and work parties in mosaics, environmental issues, stewardship (weeding, watering, garbage removal), lanterns, stilt-walking, shadow puppetry, hand puppets, fire spinning, creative writing, and event management. Participants ranged in age from 3 to 90 years old and some workshops were held in Cantonese." http://www.moonfestival.net/


An important community artist in Victoria is Paula Jardine.


Other environmental community art projects are described by Patricia Watts, "Ecoartists: Engaging Communities in a New Metaphor," http://www.communityarts.net/readingroom/archivefiles/2005/01/ecoartists_enga.php


The Community Arts Council of Vancouver has built an online resource for community artists. It has different definitions of community art, many examples, along with practical tips, procedures and potential funding sources. http://www.creativecommunities.ca/index.html


Community art employs (whether consciously or unconsciously) a philosophy of community development. An asset-based approach to community development is described by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight:


"Each community boasts a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future. A thorough map of those assets would begin with an inventory of the gifts, skills and capacities of the community's residents. Household by household, building by building, block by block, the capacity mapmakers will discover a vast and often surprising array of individual talents and productive skills, few of which are being mobilized for community-building purposes. This basic truth about the "giftedness" of every individual is particularly important to apply to persons who often find themselves marginalized by communities. It is essential to recognize the capacities, for example, of those who have been labeled mentally handicapped or disabled, or of those who are marginalized because they are too old, or too young, or too poor. In a community whose assets are being fully recognized and mobilized, these people too will be part of the action, not as clients or recipients of aid, but as full contributors to the community-building process."


From pp. 1-11, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets, Evanston, IL: Institute for Policy Research (1993), online at http://www.artsonline.ca/2ndPages/resources.shtml

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