Community art is art that engages a community or based on a community. It is also referred to as dialogical art. Such art works are usually done by artists in a community setting. Works in such a category can be done in different media and usually involve dialogues or interaction within a community.
The rise in community-based arts programs brought professional artists together. They started to collaborate with others who might not engage actively in the arts. This movement started in the sixties and grew in countries like Netherlands, UK, Canada, USA, Australia, and Scandinavia among others. Often, contemporary art works are also referred to as community art.
Characteristics of community arts
Such art forms and programs were found to thrive in economically deprived places with a grassroots approach to art. It was formed as a way to express concerns or issues that plagued local communities. Members of a certain community often came together to express themselves through art, involving professional actors or artists. Communal artistic processes can also be seen as a catalyst that triggers changes in a community or events that often move to national or international levels.
In many countries, community art works can be found in dedicated art centers. Nowadays community arts programs can be of different media. This can be in the form of fine art, visual arts in the form of video production, through music and theatre. There are certain arts companies in the UK who are known for their community-based works. They involve non-professional people from local communities.
Themes of community art can be numerous. It usually takes root in community concerns, neighborhood issues as well as social justice, reforms required in education methods and so forth. Community art involves a certain form of art making methodology. Communities involve and collaborate on such art programs. Usually, community art is for social change and empowers certain community members to create artworks with artists even if they are non-professionals in such a field.
Today community art forms continue to evolve. This can be at a local, regional, national and international level. Community arts also have been involved in helping to spread awareness and concerns regarding environmental issues or sustainability programs. Urban revitalization projects and propaganda for the same are also popular subjects of artworks that are often exhibited at neighborhood levels. These differ in different countries and across communities.