NSCAD University is launching a new program through its School of Extended Studies to help train people to develop and manage community-based arts projects.
“It’s a very comprehensive overview of community-based art, both in theory and practice,” says Tessa Mendel, the program’s coordinator and one of its facilitators.
The term community-based art is a broad one and includes performance, visual and literary arts.
Some of the topics studied for NSCAD’s Certificate in Community-Based Arts Practice are the history of art in the community and project management components like fundraising, grant writing and public relations.
Mendel says community-based art is very important to society.
“This is a very, very positive way for people to come together and it’s a very positive way to engage people in relating to each other and exploring themes that are important to the community,” she says.
The use of the word community does not necessarily refer to a specific geographic area. Community could refer to things such as a specific ethnic group, an age demographic or a group of people with a shared interest. However, whatever community it is must be involved in all stages of the project.
The program is the first of its kind east of Montreal.