What does community mean to you? I’ve been tossing this idea around for a few weeks with my colleagues in the art world. By popular definition, a community is a social group of interacting people who live in close proximity and share common cultural and historical heritage. But is this definition that places everyone in one common locale an accurate one in an internet-based society? I suppose the first thing we have to accept is that we are in all actuality an internet-based society.
Here are a few simple facts:
- There are over 2 billion internet users globally.
- There are currently over 800 million active users just on Facebook alone.
- Over 250 million photos are uploaded each day to Facebook.
- The average Facebook user is connected to approximately 80 community pages.
We connect to the internet at work, home, school, on our phones, iPads, netbooks and iPods. Artists are sharing millions of works in progress, completed or in concept pieces socially with these 2 billion internet users each and every single day. We are much less bound by national and regional borders and are a part of a global framework that continues to grow exponentially. Governments can no longer ignore the changing times, as we share information and connect. We are without a doubt, predominantly an internet-based global society.
So how do we meet this brave new world as an artist? How will our beautiful local community of Sedona and the Art Community in its entirety be affected? Are we seeing an expansion or a more impersonal world, where people are connected to computers rather than people?
In my opinion, the connections simply grow stronger each and every day. We are able to build relationships with artists and performers that we never would have dreamed we could connect with a decade ago. Searching the word “art” gives you 5 billion results now – there is no better way to connect, share and be a part of a larger community than now. And that brings us back to community...
Our art community is a global community. We are connected to painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, photographers and artists of every walk of life. People are drawn to Sedona, drawn to art and drawn to each-other. Community is a state of mind. It’s made up of you and me, my friends in France and everyone I’m friends with on Facebook. It’s everyone who plus 1’s a link and “likes” Sedona Arts Center online, including everyone who steps through those gallery doors. It’s our neighbors, neighbor galleries, arts festivals, jazz festivals and poet’s corners. We can now meet someone for the first time in person and know their adventures, loves, joys and personal stories. Our connection is global, yet can be very personal. We are in a way, becoming – one.
Next weekend, the community is coming together for a weekend filled with the arts. Sedona Arts Festival, Jazz on the Rocks and the Sedona Arts Center’s ArtsFest! and Annual Meeting are taking place. Take the time to step out among us if you are in the area, or share online your experiences and be a part of our local and global community! If you haven’t heard about it – check it out online...
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.