Link to Community Arts Praxis Readings

Key Themes linked to Readings

According to Hager in Arts and Cultural Programming: A Leisure Perspective, ‘Community Arts are firmly rooted in the community they serve. They ‘break down barriers between artist and audience.’ Community arts ‘intersect with leisure and recreation’ (Hager, 2009, p. 160).

Community-Based Art refers to intrinsically participatory collaborative process and to work that employs arts-based methods but emanates from settings other than the arts world’ (Hager, 2009, p. 161).

Hager states that community arts can take place in informal settings where people gather for social or recreational purposes (Hager, 2009, p. 160).

The Knotty Knitter ritually meet in a cupcake shop, a ‘third space’ to create their knitted pieces, and the actual downtown public spaces are used as their canvas.

Community arts brings people together in common understanding for working toward common goals’ (Hager, 2009, p. 160).

Hager uses four lenses to frame community arts: place, purpose, principles of practice, and participation, emphasizing the importance of locally-based practices, collaboration, inclusion, and process over product (Hager, 2009, p. 165).

Place– local, community-based

Purpose – contribution to community, civic purpose, uplifting/beautifying

Participation – participatory, inclusive, accessible

Practice Principles – fun, about the process over product

In Art Spaces, Public Space, and the Link to Community Development, Grodach discusses the role art in public spaces plays in the community. He defines public spaces as ‘the common ground where people carry out the functional and ritual activities that bind a community’ (Grodach, 2009, p. 476).

He says, ‘Even the adaptions of our ordinary urban environments by craft and food vendors, street-side garage sales, or graffiti and murals, witch both personalize and domesticate urban spaces, can also demarcate territory’ (Grodach, 2009, p. 477).

‘People adapt and appropriate the street, sidewalk, and other unclaimed, interstitial spaces in many neighborhood and commercial areas…these quasi-public spaces represent sources of local uniqueness that may help to build community interaction and attract neighborhood investment…’ (Grodach, 2009, p. 475).

‘Build on local assets to enhance community involvement, interaction, and participation’

(Grodach, 2009, p. 475). Placing a piece of artwork in a public space makes it accessible.

The Knotty Knitters do not consider themselves an artist group and have no social mission or purpose, other than to make people smile.

In Magnetizing Neighborhoods Through Amateur Arts Performance, Taylor states that ‘Arts magnetize public spaces with fun’ (Taylor, 2008, p. 2). He refers to a study done by William H. Whyte, where he videotaped plazas, intersections, and other public spaces for several years in order to make recommendations to planning and zoning commissions on urban design techniques to ‘maximize public enjoyment.’ His principle recommendation was to encourage street performances and other amateur arts since they are fun. ‘Whyte proposed a social indicator – smiles per hour – as a way to capture and measure the impact on the quality of local life of a significant arts presence and the serendipity value of an unexpected, free public arts presentation’ (Taylor, 2008, p. 2).

In Magnetizing Neighborhoods Through Amateur Arts Performance, Taylor states that ‘Arts magnetize to create shared experience’ (Taylor, 2008, p. 3).



Grodach, C (2009). Art Spaces, Public Space, and the Link to Community Development. Community Development Journal, April 2009, 474-493.

Hager, L. (2008). Community Arts, in Carpenter and Blandy, Eds. Arts and Cultural Programming: A Leisure Perspective. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, pages 159-172.

Taylor, G. (2008). Magnetizing Neighborhoods Through Amateur Arts Performance. DC: Urban Institute.



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