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.