The power that community art exhibitions have to unite people is palpable and visceral. We can feel the importance of art even if we can’t explain exactly how or why it occurs. In truth, community art for years has been building connections between citizens, giving voice to the underrepresented, and boosting understanding between cultures. Art’s contribution to civic development makes it a tool for education, and thus cannot be dismissed as anything less than an irreducible public good.
Imagine for a moment your own community where all art has been stripped away. Whitewash murals off concrete walls and pluck sculptures from their gardens. Close and lock museum doors and cover their ornate edifices forever. You would be left with a cold, sterile greyscape where inspired personal expression is sacrificed.
Now, think about your favorite works of public art. Remember when you posed for a photo with loved ones at the LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia, or “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Think back to the reverence you felt surrounding John Lennon’s “Imagine” mosaic in New York, or from the smooth black granite of DC’s Vietnam Memorial. Remember your trip to Brazil where you stood beneath Christ the Redeemer and gazed out at the Atlantic’s endless horizon.
At sites like these the world over, families are bonding, lovers are making memories and visitors are absorbing the importance of a society’s sacred places. These works of art become icons. They come to define entire cities and even nations. They are public pronouncements, etched in time, from a people bold enough to bear their soul to the world.
This phenomenon also reflects the importance of art in small towns that are just starting to curate their shared spaces. For children, art is known to improve cognitive abilities and literacy, inspire volunteer work and increase future employability. Art has softened anxiety and depression in mental health patients and lodged a positive impact on victims of Parkinson’s disease. Community art is known to reduce social exclusion and isolation, and art in workplaces has been known to increase job satisfaction and embolden workers to more confidently express opinions. If given the opportunity, most local artists will jump at a chance to curate a mural, statue or kinetic installation in the town they love, which makes the cost / benefit of community art hard to deny.
All of art’s benefits can be garnered from an installation of screenprints, drawings or even new media digital works that inspire children and inform adults about the artistic visionaries living among them. Since public art is known to foster feelings that a community is safe and strong, civic leaders of any vision would not wait long to offer their citizens the opportunity to enjoy their town’s next cultural icon.
Contact IPaintMyMind about the FREE art exhibitions we offer to public schools, parks, libraries, and youth centers – we’re always excited to work with communities in every neck of the woods.