Community Art and Cultural Democracy / by Emma Batman

I believe that the most important implication of demographic shifts towards increased cultural diversity, coupled with the continued development in social media platforms, create an environment in which it is crucial for the arts community to begin to move beyond the traditional top-down “arts programming” and begin to utilize the cultural and artistic knowledge of these growing communities. This is closely related to debates on how to best incorporate diverse artistic and cultural practices without appropriating or diluting.

Even when folks reference contemporary breakthroughs like Hamilton…tell me, who here can afford a ticket to see Hamilton?? Arts organizations need to continue to find ways to engage multiculturalism, without dilution, and economic accessibility without going bankrupt. Community arts, cultural gatherings, events and exhibits that are accessible and presented in a communicable language must be given the same credence and time as the elite galas for heavy donors. As the income gap grows larger, and our older citizens have less money in retirement and social security, we need to focus on affordable, community driven access.

Rasquache is a beautiful example of artistic social justice and urban art and expression that is rooted in the organic cultural expression of overlooked and devalued sects of our communities. Here is a short article: http://creativetimereports.org/2014/09/15/spatial-justice-rasquachification-race-and-the-city/.