Is this message of welcome getting across? Sometimes, the buzzwords of ‘community’ seem so overused the sentiment behind it feels a little trite. Like any platitude worth its salt, simply telling us that it will benefit the community in some vague manner fails to remind potential festival goers why it is important to get involved in the first place.
Arts Festivals are about cutting through real and imagined social structures to bring everyone together to celebrate art. If we could get this message across meaningfully, can you imagine the results? Community engagement wouldn't just be a box on a form to tick, but a state of normalcy.
It’s hard to reach certain people when it comes to arts festivals.
‘But why?’ cries the overworked festival director, as they throw more money onto their increasingly boosted Facebook post.
Maybe they just need a bit of gentle coaxing. Art should be for everyone, but sometimes it’s easy to see why people might not feel welcome. For those “in the know” the reason behind going to all the events associated with arts festivals seems obvious. ‘Get involved, world!’ we yell over our shoulder, as we run off to another fantastic opening.
There’s the traditional argument that that museums - where art is traditional hosted - are elitist ‘private clubs’, or that only a certain ‘type’ of people go to art events. Or that even the structures (large, stonily imposing, heavy on the columns) are made to welcome some, and dissuade others. That money and class barriers are still an issue.