Sometimes we choose communities, sometimes communities choose us.
Through my experience I have been taking a class called public art that considers expression and art within communities.
This class has helped me appreciate community in itself. Why it is important to have communities and how powerful communities can be by providing individuals with a supportive network to achieve their dreams. Also, we got to discuss the complexities of communities. For example, when one is purposefully trying to create “art” projects to develop and strengthen communities, it is not always so simple because of the incredible diversity within communities and the tension between the artist and the community.
This class helped me to reflect on myself as an artist working and experiencing different communities. Public art can be defined in so many ways and even a student like me can be a creator of public art.
We also talked about viewing the artist as playing different roles in the creation of the piece which was a very refreshing perspective. For example, taking the artist out of the picture as much as possible or having the artist reflect on the role that history, culture, and time period play on themselves and the community. I could see myself as the artist of this project only because I brought this very unexpected, new part to the lives of many people in this community and to myself and the reaction I received was on the part of an entire community and in the words of a community rather than that of individuals even though it was individuals I was speaking to or hearing about. The strength of this community to reject or embrace something is very powerful and the difference I felt with the change in situation from rejection to acceptance was also very intense.
I really feel I have learned to open my eyes more and understand the passion people hold within and importance community plays in our lives. I hope I can continue to learn and grow through this experience.