Towards an Ecological Understanding of the Arts

The term “arts ecology” has been explored in recent years as way to understand the changing arts environment in a post-social reality. Artists and arts organizations face many challenges around financial sustainability, resource scarcity, and shifting audience preferences. Recently, scholars in performance studies, anthropology, economic development, and other social sciences, as well as government and nonprofit agencies working in the arts sector, have been seeking to understand the relationship between the arts and the sociocultural, political and economic environment in which the arts operate. The goal is to broaden the conception of the arts environment and see it as an organic system of actors and agents, akin to an ecology.

In sum, an arts ecology is a social understanding that accounts for all components of an arts community including the artists, the infrastructures that support them, the social spaces in which they work, and the relationships that bind those constituents.

As an artists’ collective, this initiative seeks to promote professional and resource development for artists in Brantford / Brant with a goal to incubate and support a thriving arts ecology; one that is financially sustainable, gives access to salient resources, and engages new audiences in innovative and thought-provoking ways. We explore what challenges are facing our arts community, consider how we can best engage those challenges, and set out to make real impact through community engagement, education, and development. We work across disciplines and practices with various individuals and organizations that share in our passion to improve the arts in Brantford / Brant.

Works Consulted

Burgess, Marilyn, and Maria De Rosa. The Distinct Role of Artist-run Centres in the Canadian Visual Arts Ecology. Ottawa: Canada Council for the Arts, 2011. Print.

Kaiser, Michael. “A Fundamental Problem With Our Arts Ecology.” Editorial. The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 25 May 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

McCarthy, Kevin F., Elizabeth Heneghan. Ondaatje, and Jennifer L. Novak. Arts and Culture in the Metropolis: Strategies for Sustainability. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2007. Print.