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A Collective Voice of a Community: The Value of Community Based Art

Here at mindyourmind we are very familiar with the power of art to evoke conversation and connect like minded people together. Through working with the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Counsel to develop the Free From Stigma Art Show, during Mental Health Awareness Week, we were able to see first hand the impact of bringing young people together to share their mental health journey through art. From the 30 artists to the over 200 attendees everyone left the event with a bit of a different perspective on what mental health really is and how it connects us all.      

Just like here in London, communities across the country and around the world are looking to art to not only make their community a nicer looking place but also a friendlier place. Through community based art projects many of these communities are seeing the benefits far beyond a nice looking wall or park. According to Project for Public Spaces community based art projects can improve struggling communities by promoting interactions in public space, increasing civic participation, engaging youth and promoting power and preservation of place. Since art it so universal it can be a great way to connect different generations, cultures and ideologies together for a common purpose. Check out some of these cool community based art projects: 

Project Backboard
“Using public basketball courts as a canvas for creative expression in order to strengthen communities and inspire multi-generational play.“

Project Backboard looks to take run down basketball courts in low-income neighborhoods and transform them with new designs, bright colours and community involvement. Not only do these projects work bring people together to paint the court it also provides a safe space for community tournaments and events.   

Mosaic Project
The Mosaic Project took over eight months to design, create and deploy the installation, with over 650 volunteers contributing to the project.  

Mosaic Canada Murals
In 2015 the Canada Mosaic Mural project was launched to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. The Project looks to complete 150 murals across the country to illustrating Canada’s cultural and geographical diversity. The completed murals include all provinces and territories, 100,000’s of paintings and 150 individual murals that when united will form one gigantic mural mosaic. Each community will host an event inviting participants from far and wide from their region to participate and create their own community mural, which will then connect to the nation.”

Beacon Food Forest
Not all community based art projects have to be in a traditional sense. The Beacon Food Forest is looks to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires the community to come together to grow food and rehabilitate their local ecosystem. A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels. The Beacon Food Forest will combine aspects of native habitat rehabilitation with edible forest gardening. 

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