Global Launch of the Community Arts Network (CAN) Website
An interview with Anis Barnat, Managing Director
21 06 2021
Global Launch of the Community Arts Network (CAN) Website

About the Community Arts Network

Research conducted by FASresearch on how to increase social impact through the arts with 2075 organizations across 92 countries established that 'Community Arts is a global community of ideas but not yet a global community network'. As a result, Porticus Foundation-CAL & Hilti Foundation joined hands to form Community Arts Network.

Co-created by visionaries who believe that the powerful transformative qualities of arts can be used for social impact, CAN is a platform that aims to enable, engage and empower individuals, organizations, and communities through arts and unlikely alliances in order to generate meaningful change to shape a more humane future together.

You can learn more about CAN through:

What can we expect from the new website?

There is an artistic dimension that will visually catch your eye. Moreover, I would like the website to be an invitation to explore the different offerings, in terms of useful tools, resources, impact stories, credible information, but also to be an opportunity to share and imagine new collaborations amongst CAN members. We want the website to be a useful tool for everyone and hopefully a modern ‘Tinder for the Arts’.

So many organizations working in the field of arts feel alone these days; hopefully, CAN can offer a meeting space to find allies and invent new inspiring stories. We've asked ourselves: how can we gather this rich ecosystem and provide solid evidence of impact so that any grassroots organization in the world can go see potential funders with useful, accurate, and meaningful information? And how can we bring hope and inspiration and change the current narrative and reimagine tomorrow?

Can you describe your various partnerships for impact?

All six partnerships are forming one interconnected network:

  1. Arts for Education: Recognising that art takes the form of a catalyst and an incentive to impart 21st-century knowledge and skills, Arts for Education is a global engagement program for individuals and organizations working towards educating and empowering the youth.

  2. Arts for Climate: How can arts change the narrative? How can we go from part of the problem to a part of the solution? Arts for Climate is a global engagement program for the world of arts, centered around our shared climate challenge and our future.

  3. Arts for Democracy and Peacebuilding: How can we use arts to bring together communities that have suffered through wars or religious/ethnic problems? Leveraging art for its qualities to move and inspire masses, Arts for Democracy is a global engagement platform for individuals and organizations working towards mobilizing existing diaspora globally, and building the next generation of effective citizens.

  4. Arts for Wellbeing: Using arts’ special lens, Arts for Wellbeing is a global engagement program that aims to advance wellbeing at the heart of the social change sector’s work.

  5. Arts for Hope: How, in these depressing times, can we find a relevant, good message? How can we bring joy to people? Arts for Hope & Coming Together is a global engagement platform for individuals and organizations working towards peacebuilding and conflict transformation in order to reinstill hope.

  6. Arts for Business: How can you bring the arts to the business world and corporation world? Arts for Business is a global engagement platform for individuals and organizations working towards raising awareness around the necessity of, and opportunity for, economic system changes.

There are two other networks, complementing the partnerships for impact, that are very important in CAN:

  1. Artful change-makers: For whoever uses an artful approach: a baker with a special craft and love in making bread, a teacher with an inspiring method, a child that discovers arts, carers who are communicating with empathy, etc. This artfulness characterizes a way of life that values an artful style, planting seeds in fertile soil for the six partnerships, and

  2. A circle of funders, philanthropic circles, foundations: A good opportunity for the activators to gather around the same vision regarding arts for social change.

How have CAN and #LearningPlanet worked together to advance common learning goals and how do you see this collaboration evolving in the future?

#LearningPlanet and CAN are very similar in their missions and share the same vision: we believe in a more connected world and a more synergic system. We understand the value of creating this fertile soil and being connectors in a fragmented landscape. It was very natural to decide to collaborate with #LearningPlanet and advance common learning goals. We are very proud to be a part of the #LearningPlanet community and have an active role in the past and future #LearningPlanet Festivals. Together, we can open discussions, bring unlikely allies together, and create meaningful matchmaking opportunities. It is by participating in important platforms, such as #LearningPlanet, that CAN can offer the possibility to grassroots movements, business leaders, activists, artists, art institutions, and policymakers around the world to discuss the frameworks for a more connected, humane, and just society. The more changemakers we have around the cause, the better the information circulates and flows, and the more impact there is at the end of the day.

We were thrilled to have taken part in the #LearningPlanet Festival this year (you may revisit our dedicated session here). The session on Arts for Education resembles what CAN and #LearningPlanet want to advocate for: a rich and vibrant, multidisciplinary, geographically diverse, and inspiring group of incredible individuals, who all firmly believe in an innovative and more impactful approach to our grand challenges, celebrating the transformative power of the arts. Arts have a unique role and vital responsibility in transforming what art could be. We want to work hand in hand, CAN and the #LearningPlanet Festival, and maybe, who knows…curate a groundbreaking series of events. We have dreams and even bigger visions for next year's global event. For example, we would love to offer a 24-hour artistic 'off-Festival', with a multitude of actors coming together to explore notions of a sustainable planet. It’s a dream, but I am pretty sure we can make this dream become a reality. We will work on this and “rendez-vous” next January in 2022!

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