It seems that “community engagement” and “community arts” are paving the way to a new paradigm in the local arts sector.
By browsing through some local arts agency (LAA) websites, I got the sense that most organizations were somehow relating to their local communities already. But what exactly IS community engagement and how do you do it?
Of course, by sponsoring a public art installation or creating a cultural district, the community benefits. There’s no clear line between community outreach and actually engaging citizens in conversations.
An article in the New York Times describes the shift towards community engagement in MFA programs as, “[capturing] the evolving contemporary art world, one in which awareness of the social, cultural, economic and political context in which art exists has become increasingly important. “
However, even this description doesn’t clearly distinguish how the arts world is changing – the arts have always reflected an awareness of social and cultural contexts. By defining the paradigm more specifically, LAAs will be able to plan more efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »