Community arts workers use a range of art forms, including visual arts, theatre, dance, music, carnival arts and film to engage and collaborate with community groups where there are social, cultural or environmental issues to be addressed.
Project work may focus on one or more of the following groups: young offenders, people with mental health issues, ethnic minorities, the elderly, drug users and people with disabilities.
Typical responsibilities include:
- identifying the needs of a wide range of community groups and adapting projects to these needs
- working with community groups to establish the most appropriate art form for each project
- designing relevant programmes for different communities
- setting up, monitoring and evaluating projects, including managing one-off events like carnivals and festivals
- compiling a database of professionals available to work on projects
- supporting community groups and offering advice on fundraising and forming projects
- managing budgets including writing funding bids as well as performing routine administrative duties
- liaising with local authorities, schools and companies to encourage interest and support from possible funders, arts workers and community members
Frequent travel within a working day is normal and absence from home overnight is occasional. However, overseas work is not normally common.
The working hours of community arts workers vary, but may include evening and weekend work, especially for those involved in events, performances, etc.
You can become a community arts worker both with or without a degree. Aspiring community arts workers will usually need to be trained in a specialist area, such as dance, drama or music. Degrees and other qualifications in community arts are also available which may prove beneficial.
Work experience is very important for entry into the sector. Preference is given to candidates with experience of working with community groups so it is a good idea to get involved with student or community events such as street carnivals, or find relevant temporary work, eg with arts festivals.
Typical employers of community arts workers
Typical employers include community centres, schools and prisons. There are also opportunities for self-employment in community arts work: freelance and consultancy work may be possible.