Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Five Reasons Why Public Art Matters

Posted by Ms. Patricia Walsh, Aug 30, 2018 1 comment

Public art matters to me because I see it as a platform for civic dialogue and as the most democratic of art forms. When done well, a public artwork engages citizens in conversation that can vary from understanding historical and cultural backgrounds, to driving attachment to place and social cohesion. In a world struggling with new ways to connect, public art can make public spaces more approachable. In June of this year, Americans for the Arts worked in collaboration with the 2018 Public Art Network (PAN) Advisory Council to launch “Why Public Art Matters” to provide the field with a tool to help educate community members, local decision makers, and other stakeholders on the value that public art can bring to cities and towns. The resource document provides talking points, reasons, data, and examples of how public art can positively impact a community in five specific areas.

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Creating the Conditions for Arts & Culture to Thrive: How can Arts Service Organizations Help Lay the Groundwork?

Posted by Ms. Megan L. Van Voorhis, Aug 29, 2018 0 comments

A few weeks ago, Genesee County, Michigan voters approved a millage to support their arts and cultural assets. Words can’t express how proud I am of Genesee County voters for investing in one of their greatest assets; however, they can express this: their collective investment has the potential to be a real game changer for Genesee County, the people who live there, and their arts and cultural community. How do I know this? Because that’s what happened in Cleveland following passage of one of the largest local option taxes for arts and culture in the country. Here are a few insights drawn from the work we did to stabilize our arts and culture sector and position it for greater influence in our community. Think of these as tips for fertilizing the soil to ensure arts and culture can thrive and grow in your city.

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“How” is Just as Important as “What”: Bringing Audiences Together Through Uncommon and Engaging Experiences

Posted by Matthew VanBesien, Aug 24, 2018 0 comments

It’s that time once again. Many of us across the performing arts realm are hanging on to the last remnants of summer, while also turning our attention to (and girding our loins for!) the new season ahead. For the University Musical Society, this officially begins on Sept. 21, a couple of weeks after the University of Michigan commences its fall semester. One of the things I value most about UMS and my new role here is the great care and attention we give to not just WHAT we present, but HOW we present it. This is an important lesson for all of us, each and every day, as we endeavor to grow the energy, focus, and evolution of our institutions. I’m proud to say we’re digging deep to answer many fundamental questions about who we are and what we want to be in the future.

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Learning to Listen: The Transformative Power of Collaboration and Nashville’s Learning Lab Artist Training Program

Posted by Ms. Van Gill Maravalli, Aug 16, 2018 0 comments

At the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, we like to think of ourselves as a type of strange municipal glue. Meaning, we create points of connection between things that previously existed independent of one another in order to make something new. This also means we spend a lot of time explaining that artists have a unique skillset that can be an asset in any field, not just the arts. When we start these conversations with non-arts organizations we hope to collaborate with, our message is often met with confused faces. Could an artist do more than beautify a physical space? How could an artist work within the juvenile court system or at a public health facility? We ask these questions because we believe public art can be a community investment tool for neighborhood transformation, creative workforce development, and equitable practices throughout our city.

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Have Your Heard the Buzz About Creative Conversations?

Posted by Cristyn Johnson, Aug 07, 2018 0 comments

Creative Conversations were launched in 2004 in response to feedback for a need for dialogue from the Emerging Leaders Network. Since then, they have been used as a catalyst in communities across the nation to unify groups of people engaged in arts and culture by sparking dialogue, spurring advocacy efforts, and creating networking opportunities for participants. Most Creative Conversations take place in October as part of National Arts and Humanities Month; however, now they are popping up more frequently at other times of the year. Interested in learning more about these community engagement events, or hosting one in your area? Read on for information and inspiration to help get you started!

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Passion Works

Posted by Patty Mitchell, Jul 12, 2018 0 comments

This story is about what happens when the talents and interests of people with developmental differences are followed. In 1998 I was invited to set up an experimental art studio within a sheltered workshop in Athens, Ohio. A sheltered workshop is a day program for people with developmental disabilities that offers assembly line-like work options (capping pens, stuffing envelopes, bagging items). The work is repetitive with a clear expectation of the end product. In the back of the old factory was a 15’ x 25’ room where I was invited to set up a studio space through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. When people were done with their work quotas they could come back to the art studio and explore. The enthusiasm and excitement that unfolded ignited something in me and I found my passion. This group was magical. They had talent, imagination, fearlessness, cooperation—everything needed to feed the creative process within a collaborative community making experience.

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