My point isn't to split hairs around definition and semantics but rather to underscore the emerging buzz around social practice art. And by "buzz" I also mean "money." SPArt, a grant-making organization based in LA, recently awarded three $10,000 grants that they themselves characterize as social practice art. Winning projects include an art-making workshop with former inmates, an interactive broadcast at an LA swap, and a collective that will create a "new space for women to learn and create."
The big question moving forward isn't whether social art projects—or whatever you'd like to call them—will proliferate. As this astute piece in Art News makes plain, the movement is gaining momentum and shows no signs of abating. Rather, the more pressing issue is whether larger, richer foundations will climb aboard and funnel money toward arts organizations that roll out more collaborative and interactive programming. Conversely, it will also be interesting to see if arts organizations, looking for a piece of the social practice funding pie, will radically alter their programming or adroitly place existing programs under the social practice rubric.
We'll keep you posted. But you already knew that.