The gallery and the inukshuk: everyday creativity and cultural production as leisure practices

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article considers the production and consumption of visual art as an everyday dimension of human activity that necessarily occurs in relation to authoritative discourses, spaces and institutions. Because making art offers a unique and broad scope for generating creative messages and representations, the activity has particularly emancipatory implications. Studies of making and sharing works of art can contribute to an understanding of leisure activity in terms of relationships of power that shape the significance of cultural phenomena, including those often marginalized under conditions of capitalism. Perspectives drawn from leisure studies and critical theory in the first section of the article provide a framework to discuss illustrative events and practices, including an exhibition of amateur art at the Art Gallery of Alberta that demonstrated a powerful local interest in participatory culture. The growing phenomenon of traditional "pencil and paper" sketching groups coordinated through online exhibits, blogs and exchanges is also examined. Finally, the article discusses how everyday creativity inflects ways of thinking about the access and inclusion in collective cultural life and the social potential of related leisure practices. Ideally, the objective is not to reject the roles of professional art worlds and institutions but to foster the conditions to support diverse creative acts challenging the socially constructed barriers between amateur and professional status, and between private and public space and time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
JournalLeisure/ Loisir
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • creativity
  • cultural production
  • visual arts


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