“The term community art refers to field of community, neighborhood and public art practice with roots in social justice and popular and informal education methods.

Community art is most often art for social change and involves some empowerment of the community members who come together to create artwork/s with artists.

This is a growing national, international, regional and local field. Recently community arts and sustainability work or environmental action have begun to interface, including urban revitalization projects creating artwork at a neighborhood level.”

– Wikipedia

What is social change?

Wordle: What is Social Change?

Responses from “Imagine Art + Social Change” Conference attendees
Providence, RI, 2008


“Influencing individuals, groups, organizations, systems, structures to see themselves as a medium for building positive, intentional, well-rounded and more equitable communities.”

“Making space where people realize their connections to each other, love to help themselves and their communities, and are invested in building happiness and respect.”

“Social change is a realization, idea, feeling, or thought within an individual or individuals which, communicated to others, enables or stimulated actions which move the group to a new (hopefully better) situation.”

“Hard work. Necessary work. Rewarding work. Play!”

“The shifts in attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and opinions that affect our relationships to each other.”

“Shaking things up! Being open to new perspectives, ideas, ways of being and doing.”

“Social change is what we work for when we realize that things do not have to stay how they are, and that, in fact, they must not. Social change is inherently concerned with with the collective and the well being of the individual.”

“Social change is being OPEN and FLEXIBLE to NEW IDEAS – the only thing that stays the same is that there will be change … let’s keep communication always open, honest, and productive for our times and needs.”

“Social change is moving beyond stereotypes and prejudice towards a society of mutual respect for our differences and appreciation of our common aspirations.”

“Acting for the common good. ‘We are the ones we are waiting for.'”

“Social change is thinking outside of what is comfortable in our lives, placing ourselves in someone else’s shoes, empathizing with their experience – knowing that although we might never fully understand their experiences we can empathize and create changes to make their lives better.”

“The root word for education is ‘educare,’ which means ‘to lead out of.’ So I’m curious about looking at social change as a liberation, an allowing of what is already present.”

“What is social change? When you decide something isn’t right and you decide to do something about it.”


“Social change is creating an environment that empowers kids to believe their world can be different.”

“Working with an inappropriate norm to change it to a positive normality.”

“Listening to what is needed and figuring out how to provide those needs.”

“Creating change together for each other. Looking forward and taking steps with Moral Imagination.”

“A rearrangement of the power dynamics among or between people.”

“Social change is the process of individuals and groups becoming aware of their ability to transform reality.”

“A change in people’s thinking about society.”

“Learning to think differently than you did before … teaching others to think differently than they did before.”

“I think social change happens at the individual level. Youth art programs become much more than learning a specific skill, they tap into the whole child. Perceptions about their world change, attitudes change, possibilities open, not just for careers in the arts, but for leadership, cooperation, dedication.”

“Social change is the activation of the realization that fundamentally we are not separate.”

“Social change is a process of evaluating our society, our culture, and determining if it matches our shared values. If they’re different – and they almost always are because nothing’s perfect – then we try to move our community toward our ideals.”

“Social change … begins with compassion for all human beings. Social change … is about removing barriers to connectedness between people.”

“Involves confronting our greatest fear – “Not that we are weak and incapable but that we are more powerful than we allow ourselves to realize!” And we can use our power to transform every part of our lives.”

“Social change MIGHT be the ability for all of us to understand that at the end of the day we are all just mothers, people who go to the movies, food lovers, siblings that are linked through this thing called life.”