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Art as an Intervention in Public Space: How Art Can Act as a Medium to Cross Social Divides

Art as an Intervention in Public Space: How Art Can Act as a Medium to Cross Social Divides

Written by: Grant Calder
Published in: Outstanding Papers - Year: 2019
Book Line: Vol. 25 No. 19 ISSN 1702-3548


Collaborative community mural-making, as a community arts practice, intends to build community capacity with a focus on the needs and interests of marginalized members of society. Organizational efforts to collectively activate a visual identity with/in Winnipeg’s inner-city neighbourhoods can engage in the development of neighbourhood identity, representation, and pride. Mural-making has the potential to bridge a gap between/among diverse communities through visual learning and conversation. This study adopts a qualitative approach to understand Winnipeg’s visual artist community’s involvement in the public sphere of arts-making, key community players’ engagement in order to measure community change, and Synonym Art Consultation’s role in the production of Wall-to-Wall Mural and Culture Festival. By conducting 10 semi-structured interviews and reviewing relevant scholarly and grey literature, this paper considers arts-making, as it intersects with community/cultural planning, as a tool that can construct new knowledge that is expressed in visual and artistic ways. I argue that arts-based community-centred planning can elicit a bottom-up, grassroots approach to planning practices that gives thought to more radical planning.