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WI(L)DER COLLABORATIONS : reflections on community engaged arts practices

©Beth Carruthers 2005

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Wi(l)der Collaborations: reflections on community engaged arts practices

What is community?
What is an arts practice?

The 20th century saw artists and “formal” arts practices redefined as critical, socially engaged, rebelling against the fetishization and commodification of artworks.

Yet the chasm continued to grow between “professional” artists and the “non-artist” members of their communities. It seems the relationship of artist and artwork to community has suffered in direct relation to the “success” of the artists or artwork. This split is more conspicuous in Canadian settler cultures, particularly in western Canada, where it has become more of a chasm. The constructed binary opposition between artists and their larger communities is painful and difficult. It results in the impoverishment of both arts and community – a malady of separation.