Civic engagement and Art Community

by Frank

I participate in a painting group once a week called the Happy Daubers. I've learned a great deal from the graphics artist that leads the group but I've also found the experience to be a great source of social capital. As a community activist I have connected with individuals who just happen to like to paint (or draw, or do ceramics, etc.) that share my passion for improving the world we all live in. Most recently, when I was involved with a group who was putting a wheelchair accessible ramp on an aging exhibit building at the local fair grounds, I was able to find someone in the Daubers group who owns a backhoe and has a grand daughter who uses a wheelchair. He was more than happy to contribute his time and equipment to help with the community project outside our associative context. The process, patience and practice involved with creation of art is satisfying and often cathartic. However, I have learned (what I really should've already known) that we as artists are a community. What brings us together in a cramped room at the community center once a week is like a gateway drug to a larger world of civic engagement.

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