Community arts

What we mean by Community arts

Community arts are created by, with, and for a community. Creative New Zealand’s focus for Community arts is on projects where the community is actively involved in creating the art.

There are also community arts activities — e.g. workshops, wānanga or fono — in which participants are involved receptively in the learning, practice, presentation and appreciation of their traditional arts practices.

A community is defined by the people within it – where these people are, what they do, shared experiences, what they are interested in or how they identify themselves. A community may be based around a place, a cultural tradition, or commonly held interests or experiences.

Community arts includes customary and contemporary practices of all the peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand, including Māori and Pasifika peoples and the diverse cultures of people living in Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Track record requirements

For a community artist, practitioner or group, success means having successfully completed at least one community arts project which has been recognised by peers or other stakeholders as demonstrating best practice in community arts.

For a Pasifika artist, practitioner or group, success can be shown by having endorsements from Pasifika community leaders.

For a Ngā Toi Māori artist, practitioner or group, success can be shown by having endorsements from Māori community leaders.

Community arts activities we support

Creative New Zealand recognises three core strands of activity as community arts and these are:

  • Community Cultural Development
    • collaboration of arts practitioners with communities to achieve artistic and social outcomes
    • processes of collective creativity
    • community-based issues focused on through the arts (for example in relation to the environment or to issues of social equity).
  • Maintenance and Transmission of Cultural Traditions
    • Māori and Pasifika Heritage artforms
    • defined groups of interest (such as migrant communities) maintaining and preserving their distinctive artistic and cultural traditions from one generation to the next.
  • Leisure and Recreation Activities
    • community-based arts groups devoted to the recreational pursuit of diverse artforms.

A strong community arts application will identify the:

  • community/communities that will be involved in the project
  • creative processes and how the community will be involved in these
  • key creative personnel and their experience in leading community projects
  • intended outcomes or impacts of the project and how they will be evaluated.
For more detail on community arts and resources to support strong community arts projects see our Community Arts Toolkit