What can art do for communities? (Communities are groups of people. Communities can be a whole town or a subset of people within a larger group.)

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that art, as a whole, can have tangible effects on a community.  From the most theoretical points of view, I think that art can bring people together.  It can serve as a unifying point in which communities are formed and people engage in discourse.  Sometimes, art can provoke a community reaction.  In the end, art forges bonds of community because it provides a central point for which voices can be heard.  In the Louvre, one can see this with the throngs of people who come to see Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.  The people who study it, look at it, and absorb it are all part of a community at that moment.  They engage in discussions about technique and style, purpose and meaning.  Sometimes, these discussions are pointed.  At other times, these discusions reveal convergence.  Yet, art has created a community and in providing a central point in which people can engage in discourse, art provides an intersection where different human beings can interact with another.

In terms of more practical realities, art can enable community members to engage in local revitalization.  Arts and cultural enhancement projects have helped to further community renewal.  Art has also become part of how communities seek to attract more people: 

Communities are competing to get the most talented and brightest workers by selling them on the cultural vibrancy of their communities—the restaurants, art galleries, music scene, architecture, public gardens, and so on. In fact, the cities that are most successful in attracting workers are the ones that have exciting art and cultural offerings. The arts and culture sector is an integral part of the new economy.

In these ways, art does much to enhance the notion of community.

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