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ArtBridges’ Raison d’Être

Back in 2008, we founded ArtBridges/ToileDesArts to learn and share what was going on in community-engaged arts and arts for social change across Canada. People in the practice tended to work in silos and we sensed that with building the project, innovative ideas, models, promising practices, lessons learned and resources could be shared. Increased knowledge-sharing, collaboration and less re-inventing of the wheel, could result in more accessible and affordable community-engaged arts in Canada. The outcome would be more arts in under-served and under-resourced communities and more benefits to Canadian communities.

Why ArtBridges and ArtBridging

Art is a vehicle for healthy community development. Art-making, creativity and art expression brings children, youth, adults and seniors together in community studios that combine recreation, education, life-skills building, economic development and leadership.

The benefits of community arts for social change include:

  • More creative and vibrant communities
  • Improved health and safety
  • Alleviation of poverty
  • Greater success in education and employment
  • Community engagement
  • Neighbourhood revitalization

The benefits of community-engaged arts have been demonstrated time and time again within inner-city, distressed, or isolated communities across Canada. You can read more about the benefits of community-engaged arts here.

Over the last 5 years, ArtBridges has learned that

  • The field of community-engaged arts/arts for social change is growing exponentially
  • People in the field are generally unaware of community-engaged arts outside their jurisdiction
  • No one is providing a comprehensive, Canada-wide hub for community-engaged arts
  • Artists, arts initiatives and communities want to participate in a network like ArtBridges/ToileDesArts
  • People have expressed a need for arts in their community but don’t always have the expertise to set up arts initiatives. Alternatively, people who want to contribute often don’t know how or where to begin.

For more in-depth information about why we do what we do and the rationale for ArtBridges, you can read our Raison d'être here.