Community-Based Art and Social Justice Grantmaking

Sarah Chilvers Deagle, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2003




Sarah Chilvers attempts to draw an explicit link between social justice philanthropy and community-based art (defined as the process of collective art making whereby members of a community come together to co-create art in response to a community issue). As she explains, “Art has the ability to draw people into participating within the democratic process.” It can also develop social capital, increase civic dialogue, and foster community organizing.


Ms. Chilvers offers suggestions for how foundations can support these activities, which she defines as initiatives that 1) inspire and mobilize individuals or groups; 2) educate and inform participants about themselves and the world; 3) build and improve community capacity and/or infrastructure; and 4) have the capacity to nurture and heal people and their communities. She encourages community foundations to work through local, regional and national networks of grantmakers to fund community-based art projects as a means of promoting social justice, and to convene groups of artists and local organizations to build public awareness of their value.




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