6 Bold Art Education Ideas To Brighten Your Community

Art has a way of making a splash and bringing people together. When folks dedicate themselves to bringing a personal touch to a part of their neighborhood, it makes a place feel more like home. Public art can have a big impact on the people who make it as well as everyone who gets to experience a completed art project. Working together on a public project can help strengthen neighborhood bonds to each other, and to the physical place they share. 

What is art education?

Art education is about learning and practicing new creative skills. These can be visual skills, like painting or drawing, as well as music, writing, dancing, even designing computer games. Art education can take place in a school or in organized programs led by professional artists, but you don’t have to be in a classroom to learn creative skills that help you express yourself better, explore your own ideas, and create art! 

Practicing art has many therapeutic effects, including reducing stress, boosting self-esteem, improving physical and mental health, and aiding people in recovering from trauma. Art education projects are necessary to create the communities, spaces, and programming where folks learn to develop the creative skills to express themselves.

Because there are so many benefits to performing creative work together, art education projects offer a lot to a neighborhood. Check out these ioby projects that are place specific (that just means they’re uniquely connected to the neighborhood), and that have helped their communities bond. If you have an idea for an art education project, your ioby crowdfunding campaign could qualify for our Artists Lead! match program, that could double your donations up to $15,000 dollars.

Art education

Remember Y(our) Connection / Tandaan Ang Ating Ugnayan

This art education project brought together Filipino/a/x community in New York City’s Queens to gather stories, wisdom, and narratives about the ways people have learned to live in harmony with each other and the environment. The project focused on interviewing people who identify as womxn, as well as youth, in both English and Tagalog to share their stories about resilience and the cultural effects of changing environments. Their end goal is to inspire their community to find creative solutions for maintaining life, the environment, and culture.

Artists created live drawings during the interviews, and produced photos and videos that they showed at the Queens Library in Woodside. Through the exhibit, the Filipino/a/x community was able to build their commitment to each other and learn from shared experiences, as they work toward creating a more sustainable world. 

Hollaback! Detroit: Taking It to the Streets

Project leader, Brooke Harris, noticed that street harassment in Detroit was becoming an increasing problem in Downtown and Midtown as they continued to be developed. As she was doing interviews for her master’s project, Brooke found that many other women in the city were similarly fed-up with street harassment and catcalling. So she and her sister decided to start a local Hollaback! program to end street harassment, as well as to create a community for people to share their experiences and trainings for how to help and respond to street harassment. 

As a part of her Hollaback! program, Brooke wanted to return to the corners and intersections where folks had been harassed and leave empowering messages that countered street harassment. She started an art education project on ioby that raised funds for stickers and stencils that she used as part of a street art campaign to promote her group’s anti-harassment message and talk back to harassers.  

Art education

Shooting Without Bullets: Youth Photography Exhibition

Shooting Without Bullets provides social justice and fine art education programming to youth in Cleveland, and gives them the chance to share the beauty and complexity of their identities, while building careers as hip-hop artists and photographers. Amanda D. King, the director of Shooting Without Bullets, began an ioby project to crowdfund for a youth photography exhibition. The campaign was a success and also included several local partners in social justice, legal reform, and art education. The exhibition gave teens a visual voice and the vital opportunity to demonstrate their own perspectives on important city policy that affected their lives, including police reform.

Alaska Bookmobile

Local artists in Anchorage, Alaska got together to start this art education project that’s based around a bookmobile that has made its way north from Pittsburgh. Libraries are so much more than a place to find a good book; they’re also often community hubs, third spaces for neighbors to come together and connect. But over the years, Jimmy Riordan noticed that many libraries in his hometown of Anchorage had closed down. So he and some neighbors plan to rebuild the bookmobile so it can serve as a mobile library across Alaska, and serve as an accessible arts space. He already has plans to partner with arts organizations like Anchorage Community House and Out North Contemporary Art to include the bookmobile in arts programming open to the public. 

Art education

Wanáȟča (Flower) Vermillion Community Mural

This mural in downtown Vermillion, South Dakota began in April 2019 as a way to give greater visibility to indigenous culture, and to honor female representation in the Sioux creation story. The mural project was started by a professor of art at the University of South Dakota, and is currently being created and led by indigenous artists Elizabeth Skye of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Inkpa Mani, and Reyna Hernandez of the Ihanktonwan Dakota.

The first part of the mural was dedicated to the Lakota concept Eúnkičhetupi, which is about restoration and bringing something back to life. To raise funds for the second installment of the mural, which is focused on Wanáȟča, Lakota for blooming and flowers that blossom, the group started a ioby project that will compensate artists for their designs, time, and supplies. They hope that this project will not only increase awareness of the importance of the arts and art education, but will also bring more inclusivity to indigenous folks within the Vermillion community. You can still donate to the mural Wanáȟča (Flower) Vermillion Community Mural and get your donations matched!

Art in the Garden 2019

Borland Garden in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of East Liberty was once a toxic, vacant lot, where Emily Carlson, a neighbor, noticed that lots of nearby kids played around in and picked at the dirt. Since then, with the help of other community members, she has turned the lot into a community garden, where the OMA Pittsburgh puts on art education and social-emotional growth programming for youth. Campers who attend Art in the Garden learn to identify and process their emotions, express themselves, and develop resilience through gardening vegetables, ceramics, storytelling, and other art forms. After three summers of successful programming, Art in the Garden started an ioby project to raise funds for a shelter, where they could gather and hold camp, even if it rained outside, and no longer have to fear for the weather.

Ready to get started? We want to help! Share your idea with us, and we’ll help you craft a plan to crowdfund the money you need to bring your great art education idea to life.

ioby is a national crowdfunding nonprofit, but we’re much more than that. Our crowdfunding platform helps connect leaders (like you!) with one-on-one coaching and support to raise the money they need from their communities to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable, and more fun.