My mind is expanded and challenged in regards to arts' impact on the communty through this essay by Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D., funded by the Arts and Civic Engagement Impact Initiative of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts. We (in the arts field) have worked so hard to argue art as important economcially, perhaps we've been ignoring other ways to document art's importance? Her straightforward, keen language pushes us to question assumptions!
"Cultural participation is still typically associated almost exclusively with passive consumption—participation as audience or the purchase of professional artistic products. The wide range of ways in which people can and do engage in cultural activity—not only as audience members and consumers, but also as active creators, students, teachers, critics, and supporters—is frequently neglected.
Artists are viewed almost exclusively as the producers of artistic goods, and sadly any understanding of the full power of the artist and the creative process is diminished. Artists’ various relationships to communities and individuals alike—as teacher, social critic, organizer, advocate, or provocateur, among other roles—are often not understood or go unacknowledged."