Humanistic Education to Foster Altruistic Communities through Arts & Culture


Twentieth-century education was focused on knowledge transmission, skills and integration into society. This tradition often neglected the teaching of morals and altruism, which derive from collectivism, individualism, and social issues. However, community-building through shared experienced, empathy and responsibility are supremely important values that help to overcome many challenges in today’s world. Socially engaged art has already a good practical track record: it has been playing a significant role in fostering altruistic communities for the last twenty years. Socially engaged art is a practical outdoor activity that has proactive, educational and moral value. It is carried out by activists, community builders and some of teachers in the field. In this article I review several projects in socially engaged art in modern Republic of Korea that focus on creativity, empathy, recycling and social responsibility. These projects highlight the value of socially engaged art and its potential for taking education outdoors and bringing communities together.

Keywords: socially engaged art, social welfare, social practice, community art

[1] Craig, G. (2011). The Community Development Reader: History, Themes, and Issues. Bristol: The Policy Press.

[2] Helguera, P. (2011). Education for Socially Engaged Art. New York: Jorge Pinto Books.

[3] Schwarzman, M. (2009). Beginner’s Guide to Community-Based Arts. New York: New Village Press.

[4] Thompson, N. (2012). Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.