I am an art educator because of art's power to bring people together. Art
museum's education efforts can shape their communities in wonderful ways.
For instance, a New England museum where I was interning sponsered an
installation project by Carmen Lomas Garza and as part of the project we
brought the community together to make 100s of cut-paper banners. We
learned about the tradition of papel picato and Ms Lomas Garza's
contemporary art. Then, families and groups from our community joined in
creating an altar, in the tradition of The Day of the Dead, for family
members (including some pets) who had died.
Remembering that community memorial makes me think of another one in my
adopted home. Austinites have installed a bronze memorial commemorating the
homeless who die each year on their city's streets. The memorial is art
which lives as part of an annual and very touching gathering. In hope that
someday they will have no reason to, people speak the names of Austin's
homeless who have died during the past year.
The annual Burning Man festival is a more livley and cheerful example. It
actually truly builds a community around art.
The built environment of our cities either does or does not promote
community. Your students might consider issues & projects on campus or in
their home town and the community impact of those projects & issues.
One more idea before I must run to keep an appointment - How does art
function in building cyber-community?
HAPPY THANKSGIVING ARTS EDers !!!!! I wish you all safe & peaceful holidays.