Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dirvesity in Creative Communities




Embracing Diversity

My leadership goal is simple . . . I want to change the world one person at a time.  I often feel like a lone individual fighting for real social change in my local community. A community that tells me it doesn't exist.

Have a told you how much I love a challenge?  What makes a community, is the people who link together.  The are a small group of Ipswich artist doing this already, their mission is to promote local artists to create awareness of the artistic talent in the region. Others are looking for "a home"  - A physical space to create, to teach and sell art. Their vision is  to create or 'recreate' a arts prestinict the heart of Ipswich!


Something the Ipswich Art Society and Arts Connect have been attempting to do for a number of years.  Their are other fringe groups seeking to do likewise  like Ipswich Inspirations. A physical space has not worked in the past so how it going to work this time.

Let me be honest here, I have a real problem with physical spaces in terms of my social inclusion planning.

While some access issues as easily over come,  accessible building is not just about entrances and accessible toilets. The layout of many buildings are a logistical  nightmare as anyone who has travelled with me. 

I feel a building can create exclusion to others outside our creative group.  It saids "this is our place" we're we belong is that our aim.  Note I have the same issues with many churches, waiting for people to come to us and fitting in with our way.

What is need and what creates real sustainable change is rethinking and reinventing the way we create communities. For me that is about creating a network of minds that think a like. Unless a group of people have a 'shared vision' a sense of community can not be obtained.  A 'shared vision' is much more than an agreed end goal, its about sharing the same processes in order to achieved the outcome that has been agreed upon.

This is certainly my experience with ArtISability, sure we put art work on the wall, sure our artist sold work, sure we established a brand and sure we made connections. However in the end 'our brand' was what others wanted us to be.  Our artists were still seen as "different" or "special" and the Ipswich arts community and CBD remain inaccessible to most artists in our program.





 Social inclusion involves an acknowledgement that all members of the group are of equal importance, regardless of where they finding themselves in their artistic careers. I have given up on 'what is good art?' and guessing 'which pieces will sell at exhibition.  I like to tell my students that the magic key to sales, is finding the right person, with the right space to hang your artwork and falls in love with your work. What I or an art critic then thinks is irrelevant.

As Ipswich artists Judith Baker puts it once my artwork is hanging on the gallery wall, my disability becomes invisible.  It is not my or anybody's else's to decide if artwork is saleable and what the price should be.  That is the job of the artist and the nature of their disability is irrelevant and this is what I want my art community to see.

Artwork by artists living with disabilities needs to be held in the very same regard as anyone else in the community.  What I consider to be of artistic appeal will be different.  It is that 'diversity' I am seeking the Ipswich Arts Community to embrace. Not by any means a lower standard of work.



"Cultural Diversity"

"seen in the style and colour combination of the work"




It is my wish, that artists could resist focusing on the physical and start embracing the common thread that drives us to create. Then we will be the Ipswich community come into bloom!




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