Community-engaged art practice has always been rooted in social transformation. Whether it is in the form of social advocacy, place making, empowerment, resistance, reconciliation, or development, it is a practice that brings people together. It fills a need within a group of people, simultaneously producing artist(s) & arts organizations, and opportunities for members of a community to engage with each other. Community-engaged artists also form an important segment of the cultural workers in Vancouver, and need support to grow.
The Community Arts Council of Vancouver has historically been an organization that helps to identify, and then fill gaps within the city’s cultural and social landscape. In the CACV’s most recent visioning session, research was conducted exploring the new strategic direction CACV will take as it continues to grow and evolve. One area that was identified, was a need to build stronger networks/connections between practitioners of community-based art. Burn out, organizational shifts, funding limitations, and other barriers have been common challenges faced by artists. To help build a stronger support system, the CACV is developing a new program: Gather.
Gather will be a semi-monthly series where artists & organizations, with a relationship to community based art will be invited to various themed workshops, and capacity-building sessions. The sessions will consist of participatory activities to engage and explore the field of Community Art Practice, showcase the various projects that attendees are working on, and provide opportunities for mutual support through networking, knowledge & resource sharing where possible. These facilitated discussions and workshops will also provide CACV with opportunities to research various methodologies in Community Art and explore ways to build collaborations.
The first ‘Gather’ will be held on March 19th, 2019 at the World Art Centre, with support from SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement. This first workshop will focus on “Cross- Disciplinary Approaches to Community Art.”