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Art and Community Participation and Interaction


Artists supersede the adage that your reward is what you spend your money to purchase. Artists remain underfed and cities are losing their ballet, opera, and other artistic works to crows that pick up cultural remnants. A contribution to creativity in art is the evolution towards contemporary art (Markusen et al. 13). A display of the Roman Empire vestiges reveals artistic objects that tell the history of a time. From the displays, people do not see army generals or politics, but art. Civilization has today invested in art to tell the story of the cities.

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Today, art is valuable for its impact on the socio-cultural well-being of the community. In the community, artists are not performers only, but also neighbors and engaged citizens (Markusen et al. 13). The community appreciates artists because it is a skill that goes beyond space and time. Studies show that during the fifteenth century, artists shifted to a proprietary work of art that was centered on markets. Most of the talents were on hire to patrons, who were the highest paying contractors. As centuries progressed, art took the communal path, thereby creating a relationship with the community (Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau 27). This shift from proprietary works of art with a market agenda to art, belonging to the community, forms the foundation for the present study.

What is a patron in art?

Commissions during the Renaissance promoted the city’s and the ruler’s prestige. Patronage was employed among rulers and diplomacy, a relationship that was likened to an artist and a customer ordering an art (Markusen et al. 13). A patron was a wealthy individual who told artists the subjects they wanted to include in an art, the figures, the materials, and what they wanted the new work to resemble. During the fifteenth century, patrons had an increased concern for fame and worldly prestige. They were out to spend their money lavishly and to exert their control over artistic processes. They influenced the growth status of artists before bringing the dynamism in patronage relationships. Patrons brought artists into the limelight, since they valued their creativity. The once anonymous artisans were now considered unique geniuses (Markusen et al. 13). Funding from the patrons created a prestige in the reputation of artists that outweighed even the art itself. Their reputations also outweighed the patron’s desire to tell the story. Milan, Urbino and Naples are among the princely patrons know for their patronage of art. The patrons commissioned art of arbitrary tastes that greatly benefited artists during the renaissance period.

Shifting interactivity in art

Political activists were calling on consumers to usurp the production process by demanding original art that no one had tampered with. Art entered into an intense exchange with the audience as the political class insisted on making art interactive (Robertson and McDaniel 7). Thus, the enemy of art became the cultural consumerism that plagued nineteenth century art. Art was transformed into a mass media product thereby giving rise to new art forms that encouraged open interaction to change the media’s role. The commercial sector, which ventured into the art industry, changed the face of artistic consumerism (Robertson and McDaniel 7). The for-profit firms employed artists whom they contracted for their services before purchasing their art.

The firms later packaged the art and marketed it for distribution. Self-employed artists also created art and marketed it directly through fairs or performances. The not-for profit sector includes art that the public sector or organizations support. This includes museums, nonprofit presses, or orchestras that receive funding from public art commissions. The community sector, where artists created and shared their works without the influence of the market or nonprofit organizations, took a back stage as the trend unfolded (Robertson and McDaniel 8). Artist in the 1970s earned highly from the commercial sector. Pushed by the drive to make money, these artists willfully sold their art to merchants. However, today, more artists are specializing in the community, thereby increasing the work they spend in nonprofit art. Artists are combining commercial art with community work, as most artists work with non-arts jobs because of better pay, and industrial survival.

Artist’s obligation to the community

The audience, the artist, and the art defined the aesthetic experience associated with the latter. This inspired a new art form that invited the community to determine their experience with the artwork, thereby lifting the boundaries between artists and the community (Jacobs 7). The different reception has influenced the production and reception of art in the community. Many artists started in a single sector before moving on to others. For instance, an immigrant artist presenting his/her work to community forums may receive funding to sell art to a commercial sector. Similarly, an artist, who started out in the commercial market, begins working on projects for not-for profits before landing a position at the not-for profit sector.

Likewise, a commercial artist may decide to mentor a community of artists as a communal service. Studying the trends reveal that today artists seek experience in any sector to develop their techniques, satisfy aesthetic objectives, or connect to the artistic community (Jacobs 7). Artists prefer to engage inartistic development using this method, rather than engage in short-financial returns. Artists are not obligated to the community, but do so for artistic development. For instance, an artist may engage in community art for the rigor of experience or for excitement. An artist may also work with the community to gauge their experiences and to create a challenging art with a purpose.

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The recipient community is a participant in art

Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau (27) define art as the relationship between an idea that one did not want to express and that, what the artist unintentionally expresses. Therefore, it means that art expresses the same ideas, which the artist intended to present to the audience. Artists hold that art, which is greatly misunderstood and appreciated more in the community. This aesthetic experience assigns the viewer a constitutive role that requires his or her contribution in deciphering the meaning of art (Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau 27). Including a viewer in the reception of an art makes the spectator a translator. A gap always exists between the viewer and the art to make art more interactive. A key element of art is the presence of a participator in its constitution. In reproducing reality in art, it is important for artists to transport most of the information to the intended user. The concept of art acknowledges the role of the recipient as participative and constitutive (Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau 27). The concept of having the viewer as a participant in the making of art arose in contemporary art.

Participation to interaction

Art that consider the viewer as a participant is a result of the assumption that modern art has altered the community’s role. This refers to the aesthetic experience of art without changing the materialism of the art (Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau 33). The contemporary form of art changes the historical view of art to an interaction between the recipient and the visual as well as acoustic form of the art. The art becomes a collaborative process where artists and the community participate. The issue changes art’s intention by giving the viewer the power to make the picture, thereby creating an interaction within the art.

According to Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau (33), recipients are able to modify an object belonging to an artist. Art moves from participation to interaction meaning that the artist and the viewer do not expect a perfectly reproduced art, but leave opportunities for new experiences. It means that art targets the community, acknowledging that the artist and the audience are inseparable, but gives them the opportunity to make their own aesthetic feelings. The art creates a field where the community fengenders an action (Christa, Jain, and Mignonneau 33). An interaction occurs between the art and the viewer to form an aesthetic experience. The result may be art without the boundary between the author and the participants.


The commercial sector swallowed up what began as a work of independence before selling to the highest bidder. Patrons made art proprietary and began splashing huge money on artists before the nineteenth century. However, the contemporary nature of art has evolved to a relationship with the community. Art has taken an interactive path within the community to engage the viewer into forming their own aesthetic experience. Today, the community appreciates art more; a fact that pushes artists to make more interactive art that includes the community in its constitution. The art considers the viewer to be a participant in the interaction process that leaves opportunities for new experiences.


Christa, Sommerer, Jain, Lakhmi and Mignonneau, Laurent. The Art and Science of Interface and Interaction design, Heidelberg, Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2008. Print.

Jacobs, Leonard. “Bill Ivey: America’s Arts Need an Attitude Adjustment.” Back Stage, 46.13(2005): 5-7. Print.

Markusen, Ann, Gilmore, Sam, Johnson, Amanda, Levi, Titus, and Martinez, Andrea. Crossover: How Artists Build Careers across Commercial, Nonprofit and Community Work. Minnessota, US: Ann Markusen, 2006. Print.

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Robertson, Jean, and McDaniel, Craig. Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.

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