You are now privy to the reason I became a musician rather than a visual artist. (Or at least one reason.) I deeply appreciate good graphic design but my capacity for creation is, shall we say, limited. What you see here is the best I can do. Honestly!
Yet as crude as this is, I think it gets the point across. I have attempted to articulate the thought that the picture expresses on a number of occasions and I discover that the adage about pictures and words is correct.
Historically, arts organizations have placed art, their understood mission, at the core of their work and thinking. To be honest, in that construct, the “community” outside of the arts organization is often an afterthought, if it rises to the level of thought at all. My argument is that the mission really lies in the relationship between the arts organization and the community. The art is at the center of that.
The engagement mode of thinking sees the art as something that grows out of the relationship between the arts organization (and/or artist) and the community. In this view, the center of the things, the art, lies immediately between them. I am advocating for a shifting of our frame of reference about the art from our own internal understanding of (and passion about) it to the point at which the art brings meaning to the larger community–shifting the center.