COMMUNITY ENGAGED ARTS
February 4, 2015
“The object of art is to give life a shape.” ~ William Shakespeare
Image: “Art Is” (2005) By Nicole Provost and Olivier Dumoulin at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
I find sharing personal stories, issues and concerns encourages participation 9and aids in artist collaborations that serves the specific needs of the community. Working creatively and collaboratively is key in understanding the communities topics that can be both controversial and complex in nature.
Image: Kirsty Pargeter
It is not about me or you, the artists. It is not about what I want to say. It is about what a particular neighborhood community wants strongly to voice, share and be told through various creative means. It is the community’s voice that I am privileged to be working with. Building towards strong community relationships begins with proper planning, listening, trust, sensitivity and commitment.This is an opportunity for their collective voices and concerns to be heard and acknowledged.
T – Together we can actively listen,visualize, and emphasize with each others stories and narratives.
E – Everyone involved and participating in the project, professionals and community members alike have a voice, a right to be heard and acknowledged.
A – Accomplishments and valuable insights are highlighted and showcased throughout the work process. The creative process supports the issues raised and explores them in a safe environment. The process is nurtured from pre to post production.
M – More than anything it needs to be fun. Yes, personal stories and topics will arise that are hard to hear, unbearable even, but as Montreal theatre artist, writer and director Lib Spy puts it,“The heavier the scene, the lighter the performance.” The audience is informed theatrically of the issues throughout the performance allowing room for dialogue. Not depression.
“Sometimes it is important to simply listen to the story of your life so that the narrative can reveal itself.” ~ Andrew Moodie
Community engaged arts projects are interactive and at times involves community members from planning to post-performance. Ideally, community engaged art projects inspire dialogue, ideas, and create a space for community engagement to flourish and grow.