Through art, we can sing, speak and smile to each other’s souls — both one-to-one and on a large scale. Artists, through their creative expression, give us the opportunity to share culturally enriching experiences — and having that in common with our neighbours is one of the most powerful ways to connect with each other.
‘There is incredible power in the arts to inspire and influence’. – Julie Taymor
Reclaiming the streets using a variety of artistic methods is not new; humans have been using their environment (and their bodies) as a canvas since the cave-dwellers. There are many community art forms, and being involved in a creative activity can be an enjoyable and very social experience.
Whether you’re a painter, a sewer, a film maker, a potter, a poet or a dancer—your art can change the look and feel of an area; from up-cycled bunting, to theatre nights, to colourful murals or giant paper pompoms! And raised beds full of sunflowers can brighten up any street.
Artists can showcase and share their skills and talents while others can learn new skills that may lead to further creative opportunities. Community art activities encourage collaboration and bring diverse groups together in engaging and fun ways. What’s more, these activities can help to build self-confidence and empathy among others.
Communities that use the arts to bring residents together can develop more effective social networks, building greater community cohesion and a sense of ‘belonging’. It can also give artists and residents a sense of ownership and pride in an area. Art can be used in many ways, from celebrations and innovations to protests — it has the power to connect and transform people and places.
Research also shows that participation in the arts can improve individual levels of health and wellbeing (physical and mental). It can help to reduce feelings of individual isolation and loneliness; art can also help to reduce stress. Art is a great tool to aid self-expression and the physicality of some art forms means participation can also improve personal fitness levels.
But most importantly, art is FUN!