Community-based Art is creative expression that emerges from communitiesof people working together to improve their individual or collective circumstances. Community-based art involves a wide range of social issues. It includes an understanding of “communities” that includes not only geographical places, but groups of people identified with historical or ethnic traditions, or dedicated to a particular belief or spirit.
Community-based artists are concerned with the ways art can function within many different types of public arena, including community development, corrections, education, aging, the environment, healthcare, politics, disability, conflict resolution, community regeneration, cultural citizenship and more. They are working in all media, in all disciplines, in all locations from traditional galleries to hospitals to prisons.
These artists are committed to bringing the arts to bear on the widest possible range of social conditions and challenges facing our communities. At the heart of this social vision is a belief in cultural and creative expression as a means to affecting deep and lasting social change.
If we want respect, love and beauty among us and our community, we must actively promote it through our art and through teaching others as a conscious effort to build a movement of people prepared to facilitate and participate in social change.
Community art has a dual nature. It is an expression of both individual and group identity. Instead of being viewed as an isolated individual genius, the artist serves as a cultural catalyst, an integral part of a larger process of social intervention and transformation.
Through art, we can challenge many assumptions such as the boundaries between “artist” and “non-artist” or “normal” and “abnormal”. Community artists build upon the power of artistic creation and expression to spark new ideas and elicit new actions from both those who participate in the creative process and those who witness its results.
Join the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library Sabatini Gallery, Teens Taking Action, Topeka Rescue Mission, NOTO Artists, and myself in donating winter clothing for those in need and creating a large-scale community art mural based on Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Watch for more details and upcoming dates for helping with this project: http://tscpl.org/gallery