Expressive arts in our local community connect us with others through creative experience. Natural locations, institutions and familiar surroundings can be venues for art making, art taking and art giving. We can make art in community at classes or workshops and with organized groups that focus on our creative interests. We can take art in community at events or performances that feature visual, theatrical, musical or narrative mediums. We can give art in community through supporting local arts projects and by volunteering for creative causes to help others.
When I think of community arts the late, great Pete Seeger comes to mind, and my mental radio can hear and see him teaching uplifting rounds of “if I had a hammer”. The musician activist believed in the power of music to bring people together and was a master of facilitating the creative voice of the individual in harmony with the collective. Now iconic in the American sound landscape, his much-loved folk songs are often musical stories that give hope for a better way. Pete created community through a shared music experience and inspired like-minded art makers and art takers to join in the chorus and be part of something bigger than the individual, bringing people together in an empowered whole. With his simple songs and stringed instrument the artist and teacher recognized the natural healing force of community arts.
Getting together with people to share a creative experience can be a peak experience, a moment when we are in-the-moment doing and enjoying a loved thing with a group. We feel good because there are wellness benefits when creativity is shared communally. The interactive and participatory dynamic of a group promotes listening, looking, learning, and improvising. It gives us a perspective outside of ourselves and a safe place to be ourselves with others. There is creative empowerment in social ecology for the individual and the group. Celebrate community arts in August while days are long and warm. Check out local events calendars and participate in an experience that will bring out the best in you, together with others.
Art HOPE is offering summer fun for art makers and art takers. Our annual Sea Water Studio on Ogunquit Beach will be held on Tuesday, August 19, 10:00 to noon. The program brings people of all ages together with local artists for a lively conversation about creative wellness and fresh air painting studio. And for an organic creative experience, come to the Acton Fair on August 21 & 22. Art HOPE will be hosting the “Happy Art” program in the University of Maine 4-H Pavilion where youth “art givers” will be volunteering their talents to make art cards for people with longterm illness in our community. The Acton Fair is a country classic for arts and crafts, animal husbandry, grassroots education, carnival games, rides, and fried dough. And if you need a little exercise after all the fun, join us for the Art HOPE Creative Wellness Walk at Laudholm Farm on the morning of August 26th for exercise and arts on the great lawn. Join us at our upcoming free events and celebrate community arts!