Empowering Change: Artist as Changemaker Residency & Fellowship Program

Collage of pictures of the Artist as Changemakers Cohort 2022-2024

Empowering Change: Artist as Changemaker Residency & Fellowship Program

In a world full of complex challenges, the role of artists as catalysts for social change has never been more vital. Artists possess a unique ability to engage, provoke and inspire action through their work. They illuminate the underlying conditions of societal issues, offer new perspectives, and forge connections that transcend boundaries. It’s within this transformative potential that initiatives like the Artist as Changemaker Residency and Fellowship Program thrive.

A collaboration between The Trico Changemakers Studio and Calgary Arts Development, the Artist as Changemaker (AAC) Project is an initiative to illuminate, elevate and expedite the capacity of socially engaged artists to create meaningful social change. The Artist as Changemaker Project is designed for and by artists. It exists to reveal the relationship between art, the artistic process and social innovation theory in creating pathways for change.

At its core, the project seeks to explore the question “how might we expand the capacity of artists to facilitate meaningful social change?” By bridging art with social innovation theory, the program creates new pathways for addressing social issues. Through a blend of artistic expression and innovative problem-solving, participating artists delve into the heart of societal challenges, offering fresh insights and solutions.

After several iterations, the program is poised for the culmination of its current two-year cohort (2022-2024) with a highly anticipated Final Showcase in early May 2024. This showcase promises to capture the culmination of creative exploration, collaborative effort, and impactful social engagement.

So…why artists?

Because artists have always been paving the way for change. 

Artists have the capacity to mobilize people and catalyze action. They expose the underlying conditions that hold problems in place.  They inspire new connections and offer people new possibilities for engaging with a challenge. 

Combining the artistic process with the tools of social innovation can help socially engaged artists identify leverage points to amplify change. Partnerships with organizations on the front lines of social problems serve as fertile ground for artists to demonstrate these abilities.

Program Objectives: Expanding Knowledge, Building Relationships, and Embracing Process

The Artist as Changemaker Program is structured around three core objectives:

  1. Expanding Knowledge: Through social innovation and systems change learning, artists gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between art and social change. This knowledge informs their artistic process, amplifying their impact on society.
  2. Investing & Deepening Relationships: Collaboration lies at the heart of social change. The program fosters partnerships between artists and organizations, creating environments of trust and knowledge sharing. Together, they work towards common goals, leveraging their collective expertise to drive meaningful change.
  3. ‘Process as Outcome’: Change often occurs not only in the final product but in the process itself. By focusing on collaborative processes, artists gain valuable insights into their role in social change. Through experimentation, reflection, and iteration, they uncover innovative approaches to addressing societal challenges.

The success of the Artist as Changemaker Program is evident in the stories of its participants. From community murals sparking dialogue to immersive installations raising awareness, the impact of these projects reverberates far beyond their artistic expression. As the Artist as Changemaker Program continues to evolve, opportunities for collaboration and expansion abound. Partnerships with other organizations and institutions offer avenues for reaching new audiences and addressing emerging challenges. Individuals and organizations alike are invited to support the program, contributing to its growth and impact. 

To find out more about the Artist as Changemakers Program, visit https://www.tricochangemakersstudio.ca/artistaschangemaker.

To hear first hand from the artists, register to attend the Artist as Changemaker Showcase. 

Opening Evening: Friday, May 3, 2024, 6:30–8:30pm
Artist Presentations: Saturday, May 4, 2024, 10am–3:30pm
Register here: https://www.tricochangemakersstudio.ca/aac-2024-final-showcase.

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