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Leading from Beside : Community-Engaged Arts

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Key Message

Our understanding of community cultural development—literally building community by making art together—is rapidly changing as more and more professional artists look for opportunities to work in community with participants of all ages, cultures, abilities, and arts experience. Community-engaged artists ‘lead from beside’, cooperating withparticipants to make art.


Chwelos Cyndy, Lopes, Maria (2016). Leading From Beside Community-Engaged Arts in Recreation. Published online via Lagrana College of Higher Learning website:


Demonstrate the benefits of comunity-engaged arts in recreation. 


Creating art has a powerful effect on wellbeing, exemplifying key recreation principles:

  • connecting people through the creative process to promote social connectedness and cohesion;
  • promoting inclusion by providing the opportunity to involve all participants in the community;
  • fostering broad, deep-rooted respect of understanding and learning together;
  • facilitating an appreciation and understanding for the arts that enriches life;
  • developing new skills through an artistic sensibility, engages capacity for artistic expression;
  • enhancing psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing; and
  • valuing active, creative collaboration between artist, programmers, participants, and audience members.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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