In a world where neighbors are distant emotionally and physically, our sense of community has diminished. Many are searching for support during these difficult times but can not find them within their community. Artists can help bridge that gap between neighbors safely, creating a warm, welcoming, and supportive atmosphere assisting the communities in advancing and healing.
How? Let’s consider a few facts and ongoing projects that are accomplishing this.
The Arts’ Affect on Society
Masterpiece Mixers, a company that puts together painting events, described art as a way of communicating without having to speak. It allows different cultures and generations to transcend through images, sounds, and stories.
Sculptures, paintings, music, literature, and film, help communities form a deep appreciation and understanding of the people that compose them, which ultimately leads to unity in a single community.
The arts can create an outlet suitable for reducing stress, anxiety and increasing one’s self-awareness.
- Calms our minds
- Reduces anxiety with “grounding” by focusing on a single task
- When we engage in creative works, we discover things about ourselves and others that we were not aware of before
- Reduces depression with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction
- It can help us see outside the box and increase our empathy for others
An Artist Influence in The Community
Throughout the pandemic, artists of all kinds have found creative ways to boost their community morale and bring people together. Consider a few examples this past year.
Italy: During the surge of covid throughout Italy, many were directed to stay home with the lock to reduce spread. So how did the community cope? Opera singers took to their balconies to serenade their neighbors.
Can you imagine the warmth and sense of community that evolved as neighbors joined in with any instrument they could find?
Enterprise: A nonprofit organization that works to provide housing for those without homes has seen great benefit in utilizing art to promote their cause. By collaborating with different artists on various projects, they have been able to help heal communities and create a sense of unity that seldom existed before.
One way they are able to accomplish this is through the artists’ willingness and ability to draw out community members and create a space for storytelling, imagination, and possibility.
discusses how artists are integral parts of our neighborhoods and work to create solutions to larger problems faced by all those within that community. For example, they foster connections between residents who:
- Speak different languages.
- Currently dealing with existential crises in their personal lives.
- They are not able to be in the same physical space as others.
The Intergenerational Penpals project, the community-sourced Cookbook, and a virtual community art showcase are examples of projects that have resulted in positive community building. Not to mention, these projects have been powerful examples of how to decrease social isolation and increase wellbeing and connection during the pandemic.
Fellow participants brought out that when working on an art project with others, you create a fellowship. Through interactions and connections, the importance of neighbors supporting each other through challenging times is emphasized.
A Positive Way to Cope
While art can mean many different things to different individuals, there is one thing we know for sure: when thinking of our precious communities at large, we can all benefit from working with our artists to bring us together in a way that may surprise us. Art can be the catalyst that your community needs to advance and flourish.