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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The New Village Press

I've been haunting the New Village Press website recently, wallowing in indecision about whether or not to buy one of their fantastic books. On one hand, I would love to be able to sit down and plow my way through everything that has been put forth by this wonderful publisher, but on the other I have reading supplies coming out of my ears and less and less time to do anything about it. Reading about the press in and of itself has proven to be interesting however, because the places that support community art are a vital part of the effectiveness of community art.

Its also been useful to see how a publisher which puts forth so much writing on community art, and other community projects, describes itself. The 'about us' section starts of by saying "New Village books serve the interdependent fields of social justice, participatory planning, community building, ecology, and community-based arts. The Press crosses boundaries between professional, academic, and informal education with books that engage practitioners and community activists working together to rebuild neighborhoods."

I found it interesting that community art was lumped with so many other fields that somehow manage to coincide perfectly. Recently, I have begun to think more seriously about the applications of community art. Each of the "interdependent fields" that the Press mentions in their 'about us' section could be seen through the lense of community art. Indeed, as the word interdependent indicates, most of the fields overlap. Personally, I was introduced to community art hand-in-hand with community building and social justice by a wonderful woman named Claudia Bernardi, who I will write much more about later.

The books published by New Village Press range from ones solely on art to ones solely on the environment, but the ones I find most appealing involve both or more subjects. While I keep telling myself that if I find the money to spend I should get a book completely about community art, seeing as that is what I am going into, I keep drifting towards the environmental community art books. This stems from a recent reawakened interest in the uses of community art to better the environment.

Only time and the amount of money left in my account will tell what I end up buying and reading from New Village Press, but whatever it is will undoubtably make its way back here.

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