Blog Posts for Community Engagement

The Spirits Sitting on My Shoulder

Posted by Denise Uyehara, Jul 26, 2017 0 comments

Maybe these are familiar to you: you have a great idea but you cannot get it off the ground because funders cannot see its worth; or, worse yet, you cannot get the community you want to come see it to actually come. Those are real problems. So, that’s when the Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change could beautifully help guide our creations, and to truly engage community. 

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Rural America’s Art of Connection: Building Community through Exchange

Posted by Savannah Barrett, Jul 25, 2017 0 comments

As a field focused on demographic similarity across great cultural and physiographic difference, rural artists explore their commonalities by exchanging projects, strategies, and challenges. Relationship to place is our tie that binds, so the field is increasingly prioritizing projects that connect people and organizations across distance and divide. These relational projects, conferences, and digital resources use cultural exchange as a vehicle for social transformation by expanding connections between people and places.

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Of Distinction: Community-engaged notions of value

Posted by Ananya Chatterjea, Jul 24, 2017 0 comments

Animating Democracy’s new Aesthetic Perspectives framework spawned multiple parallel scenarios in my head. In one, I was continuing my conversation from a few weeks ago with a foundation grant officer, who told me that their organization was “not so interested in social justice”; you simply had to “have artistic excellence.” I had presented my most cogent argument that artistic excellence is often conceptualized in dangerously narrow ways, to the detriment of appreciating arts and social justice work—only to be brushed aside. What would have happened if the framework, offering many different ways of reading “excellence” in socially engaged art, had been at my fingertips then? 

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At the nexus of artists, mission, context, place, and communities

Posted by Ms. Cath Brunner, Jul 19, 2017 0 comments

Making the case for an expanded definition of public art depends on working closely to a nexus of mission, context, place, and the communities most impacted by the project and/or most in need of the services. We do not have to be constrained by preconceived or limited notions of what public art is or can do—or can fund. We can confront inequities in our world, imagine new possibilities, and we can support artists’ interventions and actions that will lead to profound changes.

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Why Does it Matter?

Posted by Ms. Maryo Gard Ewell, Jul 14, 2017 0 comments

Content sponsored by University of Massachusetts Amherst Arts Extension Service.

Identity, cultural democracy, excellence, justice—just a few of the “whys” behind our work. We have many spiritual ancestors who can help us articulate our “why” because, as discussed in Fundamentals of Arts Management 6th edition, this work has been weaved throughout our country’s history. I urge us all to take to time to connect with our own sense of “why.”

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The Arts and Veterans: A Mighty Force

Posted by Robert Lynch, Jun 30, 2017 0 comments

The Fourth of July is a time to honor and reflect on the determination and sacrifices of our service members in making our freedom possible. Over the years, stories have emerged of how veterans across the country come back—and what they give back—after overcoming sometimes decades of struggles with combat and service-related illness and injuries. Many of these veterans say that the arts saved their lives—but in finding their creative voice, they are also enriching our lives too.

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