Why it matters
People DO want to engage in their community - but they want to engage in real life.
By creating a space for that real life engagement, Quadrants YYC fosters community, connection, presence and meaning.
More than a group of people living close to one another, community is a group of people we rely on when times are tough. Friends, family and neighbours help to create a sense of belonging. As individuals, community offers encouragement, friendship and love. We get attached.
The Quadrants installation asked people to talk about those feelings, to come together in a communal space and share what makes them feel at home within the community of Calgary.
While we did stir up some engagement through social media, the majority of our impressions happened in real life; in the gallery, in the community.
We make connections everyday by bringing people and their ideas together. No single person knows everything; we learn from one another through the shared experience of life.
The Quadrants installation used art to spark a conversation within a community, and through that conversation emerged ideas we didn't even see coming. People connected with the piece and with each other.
Real connection creates a shared experience, and that's what turned the Quadrants installation from an art project to a community art project.
If there's one thing the Quadrants installation at BIG showed us, it was that people had to be there. We got a bit of a conversation going online, but it was at the studio where folks engaged most.
Some people picked up a postcard and started drawing right away, while others would stand back and chat about it with the person next to them. Some people took photos, others cast shadows as they pointed to their own corner of the map.
To be there felt special, like you were a part of something meaningful. A couple of days later when we'd share a postcard on insta, that special feeling was still there. But, you kinda had to be there.
Public art becomes meaningful when it works, it becomes a part of the community. A break from the advertisements and media, public art invites us to pause, make connections and find meaning.
Quadrants isn't just meant to look good, but to feel good too. The hope is for people to feel included, so that when they see this piece, they feel that sense of belonging community brings.