Art has the power to heal body and mind, and it can elevate and unify the entire community. In the past year and a half, when we found ourselves stuck in our own homes, the value of community became clearer than ever. We needed to check on each other, cheer each other, care for each other and comfort each other. We sang from our balconies, put teddy bears in our windows, delivered food, and applauded our healthcare workers.
Social isolation can cause anxiety and stress, but creating art, viewing art, and sharing art are proven ways to alleviate stress. It’s time to recharge with some community-based art projects. Most of these are still fairly “socially distant,” and they’re great ways to ease back into group projects and gatherings.
- Find a community space to paint with chalkboard paint, and leave out sidewalk chalk. In our town, it’s the wall on the side of the ice cream parlor, but anywhere will do—by the coffee shop or the school or the local park.
- Create a tiny art gallery, inspired by the tiny libraries and food pantries; take turns curating shows of small artworks. Create an Instagram account so people can share, tag, and buy the art. You can create one by the school or library for children as well, so they can get excited about creating and sharing art.
- While you’re creating your Instagram account, create a Facebook page for local artists to share their favorite drawings, paintings, or snapshots. Social media can get unpleasant sometimes, but artists’ online communities tend to be supportive, encouraging, and joyful.
- Create a “take a/leave a” board or cupboard where people can leave sketches, poems, or good wishes. People can share what they’re grateful for or what they’re worried about.
- Find a place in your town or city to create a community mural.
- Have art openings in peoples’ homes…have fun hanging the show together, have fun taking it down. It doesn’t need to be the best art, but it might be!
- Have Porch shows…everyone can share some art/a song/a snack on their porch, stoop, or balcony, which neighbors can enjoy as they stroll through town.
- Get together at a local library or park to paint stones or tiles, which you can work into the pavement, or just hide around town to spread cheer.
- If you have art galleries in your town, support them by organizing a First Friday or art stroll.
- Check out various options to create “rain-activated” graffiti; collaborate on a mural in a parking lot or on the side of a building. It’s a lovely surprise to cheer up a rainy day!
After more than a year of worry and isolation, we’re all starting to come together again. Creating and sharing art based on your dreams, fears, and hopes is the best way to connect the community. What are your ideas for drawing people together with artsy projects?