The Parish Artists
Hipkiss & Graney propose the creation of the Parish Artist...
What is a Parish Artist?
In the same way that villages and communities have their own designated vicar, they should have their own designated artist.
It's a take on the idea of a Parish Vicar's role and thinking about what is the role of an artist? A vicars role is to, through spiritualism, help their parishioners make sense and meaning of their world. To administer sucre, remedy loneliness, despair, grief and other ills.
We believe these same goals can be achieved through artist-driven practice when applied to a community or locality.
Where would these Parish Artists be placed?
Anywhere and everywhere. Rural and Urban spaces and everywhere in between. To understand where Parish Artists are needed we must look at a number of issues:
How people travel in different parts of the United Kingdom. Transportation infrastructure effects how communities connect positively and negatively- how young people socialise, see their life chances and job opportunities.
2. Population Density.
Cities with far greater populations than villages will need greater numbers of artists placed in areas to assist communities.
We need to look at each area, where communities congregate and where they don't.
3. Areas suffering from severe environmental damage, flooded towns and villages.
4. Areas with high levels of deprivation.
Areas with high levels of poverty, particularly child poverty.
How would an artist become a Parish Artist?
When artists graduate from art school they can be assigned a studio in a village and an annual income plus materials budget and they’ve gotta work with their community in ways they see fit. Each community is different each with their own set of needs.
What do we hope the role of Parish Artist can achieve in the world?
Along with relieving the effects of poverty and ending isolation, loneliness and disenfranchisement, we would aim for the key role of a Parish Artist is to transform all communities into 100% ecologically and socially sustainable.
This being achieved through sustained artistic engagement, crafting, with the populous, a site-specific narrative that empowers a dwelling into thinking differently about their locality.
Of course workshops, sculptural projects and all but long term community art projects too- great big collaborative projects.
If I was in this position I would think about how art, ritual and practices could be used in reestablishing a connection to nature, the land, countless new ways of thinking about biodiversity, flora and fauna through making.
That could be one step in the massive social, political and economic shift necessary to tackle Climate Breakdown -changing/ regaining our relationship with nature biodiversity a kind of Paganism 2.0.
I guess it would be like your local witch/ shaman/ wizard/ seer- someone who observes a society and using judgement and compassion navigates social malaise through their practice. The strength of the effects are directly related to how compassionate and thoughtful the artist is.