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Types of Artists

Local Artist

The locally-based artist serves as the sustainable connection to other artists, community members, organizations or groups, and manages the ongoing relationships that begin with community engagement projects.  The local artist(s) has a unique opportunity to expand their role beyond the traditional arts related activity such as teaching, or facilitating workshop activities, to become a community resource for the presenter and community for long-term artistic and community development. 

Visiting Artist

The visiting artist will most often undertake community engagement at the initiative of the presenter they are working with and their passionate interest in a broader engagement. This requires a deep knowledge of their own practice, the local community and the expectations and perimeters of the community engagement project since the form of the activity may already be pre-determined in advance of their visit to the place. 

Artist in Residence

The artist-in-residence will often be invited to explore their community-based artistic practice within a community; meeting new people, using new materials, and experiencing the life of a new location. The relationship between the resident artist and the host presenter is often an important aspect of a residency program. Community engagement residencies vary greatly. They can be seasonal, ongoing, or tied to a particular one-time event. 

The resident artist becomes involved in a community - giving presentations, workshops and often mentoring and/or collaborating with local artists to engage the community in their creative process and in producing “collective” work.  Many times a residency experience is only the beginning of a longer relationship. Residents often return to complete a project they started, to begin a new collaboration, or participate in another artists or community work.

What Is A Teaching Artist?

“A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.”     Eric Booth

A teaching artist, by definition, is a two-career professional: a working artist and a working educator. As a working artist is they are involved in an ongoing process of discovery, problem solving, discipline and refinement of skills in their discipline. Teaching Artists work with schools, after school programs, community agencies, prisons, jails, and social service agencies.  Successful teaching artists help provide a tangible link between the creative process and all kinds of learning in classrooms and community settings.

What is A Community Artist?

A Community Artist refers to an artist whose artistic activity is based in a community setting. The role of a community artist is characterized by interaction or dialogue with the community. Often professional artists collaborate with people who may not otherwise normally actively engage in the arts. Members of a local community will come together to express concerns or issues through an artistic process, facilitated by a community artist. The communal artistic processes derived from this interaction often act as a catalyst to trigger events or changes within a community or even at a national or international level.

(Link) Here are some guidelines and rules to consider when developing partnerships with artists for successful community engagement.


Case Study: The Ontario Shebang


Kala Seraphin - Kingston, Ontario


Ronnie Brown - Oakville Centre

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