Why Art? Why Now? Creating a Culture of Well-Being
“Why Art? Why Now? Creating a Culture of Well-Being” with Arlene Goldbard and Judith Marcuse (Nov. 26, 2020)
This session was the second in the Why Art? Why Now? series presented by SFU Woodward’s and BC Alliance for Arts + Culture.
What would it mean to inhabit a culture of well-being and health? What roles might art play in creating and nourishing that culture? On both sides of the US-Canada border, unequal access to food, shelter, and safety affect people’s health. But our well-being is also challenged by a pervasive sense that some cultures are better than others, some voices more welcome than others, and some communities more dispensable, treated as collateral environmental damage. Since time immemorial, artists have created healing dances, chants, images, and stories to align spirit and desire with wellness. Today, cultural interventions to improve personal and social health are becoming commonplace.
In this video-recorded session, Judith Marcuse and Arlene Goldbard explore how artists are making work that advances well-being. Some address conditions that cause illness. Some expand our understanding of well-being and awareness of the rights of the vulnerable. Some focus on arts-based treatment to overcome illness. Envision a culture of health and consider how artists can be key to bringing that vision to life.
Arlene and Judith shared some resources relating to the conversation, which are listed below:
- Art & Well-Being: Toward A Culture of Health https://usdac.us/cultureofhealth (Free if you enter your email address)
- Arlene’s book The Culture of Possibility, here’s a link to that book and its companion volume, The Wave. https://arlenegoldbard.com/essays/books/two-new-books-by-arlene-goldbard/
- Mural Arts art works at public handwashing stations https://www.muralarts.org/artworks/wash-your-hands/
- And Space Pads, temporary vinyl floor tiles set at six foot intervals, are each designed by a local Philadelphia artist. https://www.muralarts.org/artworks/space-pads/
- StoryCenter COVID digital stories https://www.storycenter.org/covid-stories
- A lot of interesting artwork by children, including this site from the Alexander Dawson School in Las Vegas, NV: https://adsrm.myschoolapp.com/ftpimages/346/download/download_5021321.pdf
- Sojourn Theatre reprised “The Race,” its play about the election mounted in 2020, as a Zoom-based production in a decentralized festival mounted at a dozen different venues. http://www.sojourntheatre.org/join-the-race-2020
- There have been many performances staged as public gatherings, such the October 6 march in NYC from Elmhurst Hospital in Queens through Jackson Heights to 95th St., wearing masks that say “vote.” https://hyperallergic.com/593018/queens-vigil-coronavirus-victims/
- Lots of people are offering toolkits about arts practice in the pandemic, such as Forecast Public Art’s “Innovation in the time of COVID-19.” https://forecastpublicart.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/innovationinthetimeofcovid19_forecast.pdf
- Fun Palaces is an annual decentralized celebration in which people create small, local events, usually the first weekend of October. Mostly they involve hands-on making, and they take places in all sorts of venues, from stores to community centres to homes. This year there were 364 Fun Palaces in 11 nations: “live socially-distanced events, online events and many that included both. Creating tiny revolutions of connection despite, and perhaps because of, the difficulties of 2020.” https://funpalaces.co.uk/
- The ICASC Online Evaluation Tool (https://icasc.ca/resource/asc-evaluation-online-tool);
- The ASC Web (all video), an online community-engaged arts teaching and learning resource (https://icasc.ca/asc-web));
- and the Artists Speak series of video interviews (https://icasc.ca/?s=Artists+Speak).
- Judith also recommends “A Restless Art”, the new and excellent book, downloadable for free from Francois Matarasso (https://arestlessart.com).