Art can shape culture and the way society operates. Artists give us a voice and through their art, we can challenge the status quo and drive social progression.
Yes, art can be a catalyst for change, and there are plenty of historical examples of how it has become a revolutionary tool for progress. When we think about the Renaissance we think about Leonardo Da Vinci and the artists who transformed European society from the Middle Ages to modernity. When we listen to the music composed by Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, we can relate their work to the birth of the Age of Enlightenment.
Music affects our mood, books inspire us, and movies make us cry – these are all reflections of the landscapes in which we live. Art can do remarkable things to all of us and it can genuinely change the world.
Art in the social context
Art helps us understand and appreciate others, especially when there is a vast distance between us – physical or mental.
Ask anybody who’s traveled around the world about the places they’ve been to, and they’ll inevitably mention the local artists and how art shaped their perception of that foreign culture. Art connects the dots between the individual and the world around them by tugging at our heartstrings, making us smile, and shining a spotlight on what the artist believes needs to be exposed.
Art can be a powerful tool for establishing connections and relationships between people from different countries, cultures, classes, genders, political views, and any other factor that has the potential to divide us.
Artists have the power to start the second Age of Enlightenment – the Age of social equality.
In looking for the ingredients that affect the physical well-being of people in different kinds of places, Dr. Felton Earls, a Harvard professor of public health, conducted an extensive, fifteen-year study in neighborhoods across Chicago. His research found that the single-most-important factor differentiating levels of health from one neighborhood to the next was what he called “collective efficacy.” He was surprised to find that it wasn’t wealth, access to healthcare, crime, or some more tangible factor that topped the list. A more elusive ingredient – the capacity of people to act together on matters of common interest – made a greater difference in the health and well-being of individuals and neighborhoods.
The communities profiled here found opportunities for people to come together in the creation and celebration of culture. They developed their social capital by cooperating, sharing, seeking, and finding shared goals, and by developing ties on a cultural level. These connections serve the communities well in their other endeavors – from economic development to civic participation to healthy living.
Cultural projects are not simply a luxury but play a fundamental role in reviving the fortunes and boosting the prospects of poor, minority, and other disadvantaged communities. Some artists, move even beyond this give-and-take and are so immersed in their communities that their work and identity are inextricably bound with a certain place or people.
What artists have to say plays a critical role in building the community. Their energy transformed into art can be the moving force of social progress, it can be the bonding tissue of critical masses demanding a change in society, a driving force behind political movements and social change.
There is a symbiotic relationship between the artists and the community. An artist needs an audience to interact with their art, and the community benefits from the inspiration and improved environment the art provides.
Social Friday art
The Social Friday initiative has always encouraged people around the world to use the power of creativity, to bring art closer to everyday life, and make a positive impact in the communities. We are confident that art can save the world by creating togetherness. Boosting imagination is a powerful way to inspire people to work for a better future for our society.
In 2018, the company BREON in cooperation with Dabeski Residence hosted a Social Friday event where the volunteers and the senior citizens created art together. This activity had a great impact on the lives of the beneficiaries in the senior care home, otherwise emersed in a daily routine where not much was happening.
This event brought to light an interesting fact – In a stage of life where the feeling of loss of control of choice creates uneasiness and depression, creativity and imagination bring back self-confidence and the opportunity of choice, expressed through art.
After the Social Friday event, the works of art created in Dabeski Residence, by the hands of the seniors and the volunteers from BREON, were proudly displayed at the Acanthus Gallery. The exhibition brought even more people into this story who came to admire the artworks and get a new perspective on the power of art.
The school project
In 2020 Mjaftime Zendeli, a teacher from Zurich explored how Social Friday could be included in the school program to engage younger children.
Her thesis, awarded with the highest score by the “Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich” (Intercantonal College of Special Education Zurich), highlighted the systemic gap in children’s development of social skills in Switzerland.
In preparation for the project, she promoted the personal, social, and methodical skills of the children in a targeted learning setting. By developing and discussing painting workshops and philosophical questions in group work and then revising them in relation to the situation in the retirement center in Zurich, where the art was created, the 6th graders succeeded in interacting confidently, considerately, and skillfully with the elderly.
Collection and exhibition
Social Friday continues to develop new ways to use the power of art to make a positive change in society. This year we start a new tradition. An official poster for each Social Friday event will be created to promote the event and raise awareness about social topics tackled by community heroes worldwide.
On our website, we have a new section dedicated to art. There you will find the posters created for each upcoming event, an introduction of the artist, and the story behind them. Every company, nonprofit, or student organization hosting an event will get a personalized poster with its logo as a recognition for its social engagement.
In near future, we will exhibit all posters and the earnings will be donated to charity. A full circle of social impact, don’t you think?
Call for artists
Artists are trailblazers. They can speak loud through their artistic expression about topics that others are not aware of or don’t dare to do so. They are a powerful force that can help society, community, and individuals challenge the status quo.
We are reaching out to you. If you are an artist who wants to use the power of art, make sure to get in touch with us. We are always open to collaboration with creative minds. It’s a great opportunity to put your social awareness into a good cause while getting a worldwide outreach of your art.