The continuing part of our blog on how art can help a community continues how to broaden the participation of your events agenda, and the promotion of sense of place.
Broaden the Participation in Your Agenda
Some well-known civic leaders have argued the benefits for a long time of social capital. Social Capital basically means amateur volunteer organizations that actively promote good in the community. Some of these civic leaders have noted a decline in social capital in certain communities over the past twenty years.
This may be because professional organizations have taken over community activities and the ordinary citizen is not included. This includes the art world, as professional art groups have emerged where once it was voluntary.
The danger in all this is that participation in cultural activities among ordinary citizens is dwindling. Thus, it is very important for the arts to create community experiences and promote dialogue to bring the organization of a community’s cultural activities back to the people.
Locally based artists can help in this, they can get relationships back on track and rebuild the social capital. Art has the power more than any other medium to broaden agendas and involve community participation.
Promote a Sense of Place
If a community is involved in creating their own civic and open places they take more of an active interest in them. Ordinary citizens should be engaged in designing, creating and preserving their own communal spaces, they will then have a true sense of ownership and connection to bolster their pride in somewhere that they live, work and socialize in.
This pride and sense of place will bond communities together to work side by side creating a better place to live together. And as the growth of community spaces continues the people should be left as stewards to look after them.
By promoting this sense of place, civic officials engage the community proactively rather than negatively in response to a council act. Public involvement is far better if the original thought involved them at grass roots level and was not forced upon them.
Art can spearhead an activity to aid a program to develop a civic place. It can stimulate the creative juices of the community to uplift the image of their place. Take for example a rundown area that needs developing, events could be run for community workshops to discuss how to upgrade the area, perhaps focus on a piece of interactive art the community can relate with and is connected to them.
This would be far more powerful than just building a village fountain or similar, as the community get to select their own meaningful piece. Getting citizens to engage in their cultural ideas by involving local artists is a great way to do this, the artists can be used as catalysts to develop a community place that all can be proud of.
There is no doubt that art is far more than a thing of beauty, its power is far greater than this. It has the ability to engage communities and bring them together in a way that nothing else really can.