Do we suffer from Artcentricity?
“Artcentricity” is the idea that certain people take art a little too far and begin to distance themselves from their community. As Doug Borwick, former President of the Board of Arts Administration Educators explains in a recent blog post entitled Overcoming Artcentricity, “Our commitment to art can be nearly all-consuming. But this is a hindrance to relationship building. It gets in the way of engagement.”
“It is our responsibility to make the art we love meaningful to [everyone]. Think of this as a practical rather than a moral responsibility.”
– Doug Borwick
Borwick began thinking of a solution shortly after researching the relationship between arts organizations and communities. “It is our responsibility to make the art we love meaningful to [everyone],” Borwick continues. “Think of this as a practical rather than a moral responsibility.” Borwick suggests a shift from traditional arts organizations, which center specifically around art and the artist, to “reality based arts marketing.”
Reality based arts marketing focuses more on community involvement rather than the more traditional method of attempting to predict the wants of the community by carefully planning before creating anything. Borwick says, “If we don’t know what those things are – or worse, if we don’t care – relationships and, therefore, engagement will not be possible.”
Here in the Chippewa Valley, with such a large artistic population living in the area, community involvement is an absolute necessity in promoting the arts. While a large portion of the community subscribes to this mindset, and continues to push forward to things like The Confluence Project, there is still opposition out there. Borwick warns that many people in society may see art as a negative thing; condescending even. He goes on to mention how this negative perception “breaks trust” and thus forms bad relationships and hamstrings team-building (a key to any successful project).
It’s something to think about. With some fairly huge arts-based endeavors on our horizon, it’s import to make sure the whole community’s on board.