COMMUNITY ART: CREATING AND SUSTAINING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Community-based public art is a familiar and well-documented field. Like community-based theater, community-based public art seeks to develop meaningful and high quality works through a collaborative process driven by local people often with the guidance and technical assistance of professional artists.
Since 2010, M-AAA has supported regional community art through the Community Mural Project. In six communities in the states we serve, murals have been created to document a community’s history and start an ongoing conversation on how community art can influence a community.
In October 2013, the final community mural, in Hastings, NE, was dedicated. Read the press release
to learn more.Overview
Communities were chosen through a competitive application process. Partial funding was provided by M-AAA and that state's arts agency, and each community was responsible for the balance of the funds required.
For each community mural project, artist Dave Loewenstein of Lawrence, KS, was the lead artist. Apprentices were hired to assist him. The local community was engaged through public discussions on mural themes, often based an a community's history and how that history would influence the community's future.
After the design was stenciled onto the mural wall, community members painted the design. The mural team completed the mural by doing the detail work and any painting that had to be performed on a lift.
Each mural required approximately two months of work. That work time was spread over three months to build in time for weather and other unforeseen delays, such as approvals or wall access, etc.
For the past three years, Loewenstein has maintained the The Mid-America Community Mural Project blog
, which has documented the process and progress of all six of the community murals.Mural TimelinesMural Documentary
In conjunction with the Community Mural Project, Amber Hansen and Nicholas Ward, mural assistants from the first project site in Tonkawa, OK, have undertaken the production of a feature length documentary
emphasizing the community inclusive process used by Loewenstein. Loewenstein will also regularly post updates, photos, and video to a blog dedicated to the mural projects so that students and others can follow each mural's progress.Community Murals in the News