Art for community: CMU revitalises empty space, promoting cultural tourism
Tourism has regained its popularity and seems to be on a continuous rise, following Thailand’s economic stimulus. This is especially true for Lanna communities which have remarkable cultural heritage all over the city of Chiang Mai. In the case of Ban Thung Sieo in San Pa Tong district, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University is committed to the perpetuation of the local identity and way of life by implementing the community art project in the form of the wall paintings at the pavilion of Wat Sri Nawarat. Open to visitors since late 2019, it is a spectacular sight for the public that also forms a part of the new learning route.
Due to the Faculty of Fine Arts’ objective to help the community through arts, empty spaces have become revitalised. The wall paintings tell stories about important tourist attractions in Ban Thung Sieo. To achieve the magnificent artistic creation, expertise from various disciplines were needed throughout the entire process. From conducting field visits for collecting details and photos of important places such as the temple, handicraft centre and the doll museum. Not only were the teaching staff involved in the project, the students also contributed to the success of the project. Through the project, the students learn to utilize the knowledge and skills in the real world and learn to cooperate with the community – an experience that would prove useful in their future careers. From the paintings to the tourist map, the project has attracted tourists interested in the designated route. Moreover, there is a traditional Tai Kh?n market called Kad Kom Kong Tiew that sells local foods and products. In the future, the community will develop into a model homestay tourist destination, which would help create a distinctive cultural identity.
Continuing from the success of this community art project, the Faculty of Fine Arts has collaborated with the Faculties of Architecture and Engineering to restore the monk’s house and create a historical learning space for students and those who are interested. This is in line with the temple’s objective – to attain the coordination between Home, Temple and School, which is the core of the community’s strength.
With its diverse academic disciplines, CMU always strives to use the body of knowledge for community development and local wisdom extension, as specified in the proactive strategy ‘Creative Lanna’. The university is determined to make a significant contribution to cultural preservation that would boost the local economy, create jobs and income distribution for the happiness and sustainability of the community.
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