How Do Libraries Expand Access To the Arts?
Libraries play host to a variety of community needs. They provide access to information and technology, open up spaces for collaboration and escape, and implement programs and events that enrich the community. In times when STEM related subjects are emphasized, libraries make sure to cultivate and support art in their communities. Libraries work hard to support local artists, curate spaces that encourage art, and contribute to building an awareness and appreciation of the arts. Many libraries serve as incubators for creative minds. These important spaces have demonstrated their capabilities and innovation in supporting art in communities. Here a just a few of the ways libraries help expand access to the arts:
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Libraries Host & Help Writers and Other Creatives
Library spaces can be ideal for writers and other artists. There are extensive amounts of spaces to work and endless resources for research on top of knowledgeable librarians to help find information and answer questions. Some librarians even host writers and artists through in-house residencies.
The Boston Public Library hosts an art incubator program that offers a fellowship for children’s book writers. This program has been operating for the past decade and offers a stipend of $20,000 to each author. Not only do authors get access to the library’s vast resources as well as a private work space, the library also benefits from fellowship. Associates that come through the program help the library promote the importance of reading and writing. In other in-house residency scenarios, writers may also help libraries by leading writing workshops and educating the community.
The Madison Public Library hosts a similar residency for artists. The Thurber Park Artist Residency is offered by the library in partnership with the City of Madison. It gives artists access to a private art studio to work in and comes to conclusion after a year. The resident artist is able to work on their personal projects while also creating a public art piece for the city and lead workshops and open studio sessions throughout their year.
Libraries Exhibit Community Art
While museums and art galleries are great places to visit to experience the work of artists, the local library serves as a community center that promotes and encourages creativity in all of their patrons. The library is utilized by artists to showcase and distribute their artwork as well as connect with a variety of people.
The San Diego Library has customizable display cases in their formal galleries and reading rooms which means local art shows can be held on a regular basis and the public has access to these visual art pieces whenever the library is open. It’s not just career artists who have access to this resource. The residents of the Berkshire nursing home, also known as “The Old Bags”, hold art exhibitions at their local library. The library becomes an exhibition space for people of all ages and backgrounds from kids and students to senior citizens, the homeless, businesspeople, and more.
Libraries Instill Creativity In Patrons
If you’re looking for inspiration or wanting to work on your creative skills, the library is the best place to head. They are always working on insightful programming and workshops for the community. For example, the IStreet Press at Sacramento Public Library supports local writers through their suite of workshops that covers writing, editing, and marketing in addition to resources like their book printing machine for self-published authors.
Library calendars usually cover a wide range of topics in addition to writing. Patrons can participate in workshop sessions that touch on skills and subjects like photography, gra[hic design, screenprinting, and coding, just to name a few. The Madison Public Library is host to the Book to Art Club of Madison, WI. This book club hosts meetings that connect books to free art projects related to the readings. These hands-on experiences help those in the community build upon their interests and explore new ones all while promoting art, innovation, and creativity.
Many people come through the library for a variety of purposes. The best thing that libraries offer is an open-minded environment that actively encourages and assists with exploration and learning. Art is something that becomes easily overlooked in a technology and science-driven world. But, the work libraries are doing helps expand access to the arts and remind people of the joy that creative endeavors can bring.