Models for Community Engagement

By admin • Uncategorized • 25 Mar 2013

Alternative titles for this post:

Art as Social Practice/Community Involvement/How to Increase Traffic at your (gallery, store, library, coffee shop, business, bar, school, museum, non-profit, hospital, nursery, farm, arts council, or wood shop)

As a practitioner of art as social practice (see this excellent NYT article), I develop projects that I implement in my area of western New York state, I also create models that I hope others will implement in their part of the world.  Interest in these models for community engagement can stem from a variety of motivators.  Whatever the motivation, I hope that you will consider implementing one of these models in your community.  I am happy to provide any materials that I have developed for my projects to make implementation as easy as possible.

Two recent projects / models for community engagement:

Community Metaphor:  A poster design competition designed to generate thinking about how to improve our communities.  I am currently implementing this project in Chautauqua County, NY thanks to a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts administered by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.

The project is designed to generate thinking about community improvement at each phase of implementation.  The Call for Entries is a full color poster that is distributed throughout the county and sent as an email attachment to:  all elected officials, high school art teachers, college art professors, librarians, chambers of commerce, city planners, galleries, and as many engaged community members/stakeholders as possible.

The promotional materials ask community members to develop their own metaphor:  What kind of car is Jamestown?  What kind of car would you like it to be?  Promotional materials and press releases are the first point of entry to generate metaphorical thinking about how to improve a community.

All entries will be posted on a website (this site), and a traveling exhibition of posters will create another point of entry.  Winning entries will be publicized and also travel as a small exhibition throughout the county.  Each of these events create another opportunity to generate thinking/dialogue about community perception and ideally, community improvement.

This I Find Beautiful:  A community-based project that asks participants to submit something that they find beautiful to display (in store window, gallery, library, historical society, coffee shop…)  This model for community engagement is a simple concept and can be implemented in a variety of contexts and can be directed to a variety of audiences.  If you would like to implement this project, I would like to display photographs on this site to generate another opportunity for dialogue/thinking about beauty in our everyday lives.

For each of these projects, I am happy to provide a project toolkit that includes promotional materials, sign-up sheets, press releases, and other elements to make implementation as easy as possible.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to host a project in your area:  pedro at pedrotucker.com

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