Our other new Creative Europe project starting in May with partners across Europe The Citizen Artist Incubator project is based on the realization that the arts have untapped potential in helping us overcome the problems we face today, a few artists have started to employ their craft in new ways that have a transformative impact and reach beyond their traditional territory. This phenomenon was formally recognized for the first time in June 2013 by the Aspen Institute, which defined Citizen Artists as:
Individuals who re-imagine the traditional notions of art-making, and who contribute to society either through the transformative power of their artistic abilities, or through proactive social engagement with the arts in realms including education, community building, diplomacy and healthcare.
Citizen Artists operate at the edge of artistic innovation and need, and thus bridge the gap between what over the last decades has come to be categorized as ‘high’ and ‘low’ (or ‘community arts’), and as ‘intrinsically’ versus ‘extrinsically’ generating value. Citizen Artists’ initiatives take many forms, but have one aspect in common that sets them apart: they seek to creatively engage with issues that concern them and then find ways to maximize social and/or civic impact by reaching new audiences and underrepresented groups. Developing and realizing such initiatives is exeptionally challenging; it requires a high level of artistic skill combined with a bird’s eye view, vision, creativity, adaptability, an entrepreneurial spirit and a network to create new partnerships. It is therefore not surprising that Citizen Artists remain few and their initiatives dispersed. The Citizen Artist Incubator is the first initiative worldwide, that will equip a new, larger generation of performing artists with the skills, knowhow and network needed to succeed.