The fixed notion of Community Art is elusive, and yet, community art has been around for centuries. Artists are intrinsically drawn to the world they live in, and for many that means not only viewing but participating in it. As I start my personal journey with Community Art, I intend to find out what exactly it means, how exactly it can be defined, so I can help spread this creative fervor and transform the general public into the creatively passionate.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What is Community Art?

My answer, and the reason I created this blog, is: I don't know.

Ignorance is terrifying. However it is especially so when it's about a field that you have decided to dedicate your life to. When people ask me what I plan to do, as everyone is bound to ask at some point, I say that I want to be a community artist. Some people roll their eyes, dismissing me as just another hot-headed "I-wanna-change-the-world" type youngster. This is frustrating. Some people frown and ask me what I mean and I find that I don't have an answer. This is infuriating.

It's infuriating because I don't yet have the skills to explain to people that my lack of an answer isn't because of lack of thought or consideration. I have seen art change lives and communities, I have worked with artists and been one of the artists myself who facilitates that change. If I had a Powerpoint presentation prepared from my experiences, emotions, research, and gut-reactions that was stored mentally and could play on demand, I believe not only that everyone would understand what I want to but cannot say but they would agree with it.

This is, of course, preposterous dreaming. A powerpoint presentation prepared by some combination of my mental excesses would probably be more concerning than instructional. But if that option is out of the question, how do I explain what I know in my heart, brain, and gut is right for me to do?

The problems is, it seems that every person I talk to has a different definition of community art, if they have one at all. Murals, art centers, government agencies, public art projects, interactive community projects, all of them and none of them manages to encompass the idea of community art, or at least, what I feel is the idea of community art. Because that's all I have right now, a feeling.

In the fall, I am attending Lesley University where, if all goes well, I'll get my Masters of Education in Community Art. To tell you the truth, I don't really know what that means. How can I if I don't even know what community art is? But what I hope is that through my time at Lesley, and my outside inquiries, I will learn how to intelligently and succinctly verbalize the meaning of community art: what it is, why I chose it, and what I plan to do with it.

This blog is intended to be a documentation of my attempts at definition. It will be, if you will, an Explorative Definition of Community Art.

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