Arts and Culture
There is a growing trend among artists and activists in Hong Kong using community art to increase civic engagement. The post-handover cultural context inspires many community art projects organized by activists. They are informed by social justice activism and undertake a community arts practice that is grounded in the principle of cultural democracy. Some activists think they cannot rely solely on social movements to make social change. They need to take down-to-earth actions to promote democracy in the community and change the society from the bottom up. Thus a number of organizations started to work in the community. On the other hand, it is believed that community art can “bring arts closer to the people” and “converge cultural identities among local communities” (Hong Kong Arts Development Council). Substantial public resources have already been invested in community art projects and to set up and support community art spaces. These art spaces also organize activities which emphasis community participation. Social workers and artists organized community art activities to encourage civic engagement as well. They promote the concept of urban and rural symbiosis, inter-neighbor relations and the related culture. They help neighbors to develop neighborhood economy. This research undertakes a comparative study of four types of community art projects which organized by activists, artists, social workers and government officials to evaluate how community art in Hong Kong can be used constructively to fostering civic engagement.