Community art is the under-sung cousin in the art world, often ignored and overlooked, only sometimes included as a category in art indexes. Community art is the aesthetic collaboration by artists with communities — not unlike the work of Augusta Boal (see below) — using the creative arts as a way for communities to participate in cultural production: to celebrate, to tell their own stories and share experiences, to criticize, to remember, to envision futures, to argue against ‘old’ ways of seeing the world and to present ‘new’ ones …
“Documenting Engagement: A Community Arts Media Institute” is a DVD of short videos created by nine Canadian community arts practitioners brought together from across Canada to explore new media as a means to document the aesthetics of engagement in community art. Artists include puppeteer Cathy Stubington, visual artist Pat Beaton, dancer Karen Jamieson, theater director Ruth Howard, among others.
The three-week internship took place in 2004, but the DVD is little known and rarely referenced. It is an excellent introduction to community arts practice in Canada and to some of the artists who have helped to establish this under-recognized and yet vibrant sector of Canadian art.
The DVD is available from Pacific Cinemateque.
Props to Linda Frye Burnham at the Community Arts Network for the story. Check out her article for more details about the videos and links to youtube postings.