social engagement activities
detailed ethnographic observation and interviews about art-based participation and engagement
offer people (groups of culturally marginalised people) the possibility of finding new ways to represent their experiences and the quality of feeling they evoked
artwork extends the capacity for symbolisation – and hence communication- of hitherto unarticulated life worlds and internal worlds in such a way as to preserve their vitality.
- The artist and participant meet or engage through the artwork.
- The artwork becomes a cultural form for their experience; their ways of relating to one another; the things they say or do together; and the emotional quality of that exchange – including its pleasures, ambivalences and antagonisms.
- In providing a form that shows what could not be said, experience is symbolised – brought into being in a new language.
- The aesthetic third takes something that exists in the imagination of these who participate in its production or reception, and by finding a cultural form it that can be understood by others, is shared.
- By enabling experience to be shared the aesthetic third creates a vital link between individual and community.
Visual arts engagement can be used to provide a foundation of skills and emotional development in order to empower people to change their situation, and can contribute to social regeneration and development in a meaningful and lasting way, if effectively utilised
The Importance of Fine Arts Education
Education in the arts is an integral part of the development of each human being.
Sufficient data exists to overwhelmingly support the belief that study and participation in the fine arts is a key component in improving learning throughout all academic areas. Evidence of its effectiveness in reducing student dropout, raising student attendance, developing better team players, fostering a love for learning, improving greater student dignity, enhancing student creativity, and producing a more prepared citizen for the workplace for tomorrow can be found documented in studies held in many varied settings, from school campuses, to corporate America.
The arts develop neural systems that produce a broad spectrum of benefits ranging from fine motor skills to creativity and improved emotional balance. One must realize that these systems often take months and even years to fine-tune.
The fine arts also provide learners with non-academic benefits such as promoting self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, creativity, improved emotional expression, as well as social harmony and appreciation of diversity. These are the very fibers of the fabric known as our American culture.