If you’ve been keeping up with the stories here on our blog, you’ll know we’ve been involved with a lot of art projects over the years. From spoken word poetry, to short films, to the work of our artists in residence, we’ve seen how the arts can connect, inspire, and engage people. For a while now, we’ve been looking for ways to showcase this work.
Our art initiatives have a new home online at ArtRise.ca! This brand-new website is a multi-media showcase of these creative projects and the people behind them. It was designed by Aaniya Asrani, who, for the past year, has been prototyping a new role at posAbilities—Community Artist Lead.
“As part of this role,” Aaniya says, “I develop and support art practices, research and partnerships that aim to result in more flourishing lives and inclusive neighbourhoods.”
“In this position, I have had the pleasure of encountering the art work of staff and persons served at posAbilities and have helped to create a platform that highlights the work of these talented folks.”
ArtRise is a place where we can profile artists who share our values and highlight learnings from their work. Across the site, you’ll see icons which represent inclusion, connection, equity, and other values that guide us. The projects fall into the category of “social practice art,” which is a form of artwork where collaboration and co-creation are key.
“Social practice art,” Aaniya explains, “is considered a medium for art making, in which engagement with an audience or participant is the primary focus. Usually, artists working in this field do so by co-creating their work with participants, or do so to propose critical interventions within an existing social system. Often, this is rooted in the context and culture that the intervention exists within, and can mobilize communities towards a common goal.”
What does this look in practice? One example is the work Aaniya has been doing with InWithForward as a Neighbourhood Organizer. The designers, artists and support workers on the Neighbourhood Organizer team are exploring how to build connection to people and places in local neighbourhoods. Aaniya has been working to “to use the mediums of art and design to share neighbours’ stories, and help build bridges across lines of difference.”
An example of this community-engaged art is the Neighbour To Go prototype. “We are collecting stories and giving them a form to share further within the community,” Aaniya says. “The larger goal with this work is to amplify voices on the margins of society and create the conditions for a more inclusive and connected neighbourhood.”
If you are interested in learning more about Social Practice Art from a student perspective, you can check out Connecting During Covid. “This was a class I taught in the Fall of 2020,” Aaniya says, “with students from Emily Carr University in partnership with posAbilities. The course explored and enacted how community engaged art and artistic practices can foster, build, and sustain human connection, even within the COVID context. The students in this class showed great tenacity when faced with unprecedented challenges to re-imagine and create meaningful and thoughtfully executed final projects.”
You can learn about these projects and many more at ArtRise.ca. As you journey back though our archive of creative projects, we invite you to get inspired see the ways art can connect us and make social change.