I’ve had the good fortune to live in the same community for the past 27 years and the double good fortune to have participated over time in a wide range of arts-based initiatives in that community:
- site-based work related to immigration
- explorations of the history of a working class neighborhood now gentrified
- rediscovery and recognition of the paved-over African Burying ground in our white New England city
- perspectives on the challenges faced by seniors
- and the most widely known, The Shipyard Project, which was a two-year exploration through dance of the intertwined histories of a large naval military installation and a port city that have co-existed side-by-side for over two hundred plus years.
So, I’ve had an advantage that most project evaluators never experience, that is, a really longitudinal view of unfolding impacts.
Long after initiatives have concluded, I have seen relationships that began in a community arts project rekindle to tackle a new issue or witnessed policies that were the object of arts-informed debate finally take hold after several failed attempts. I have seen young people who were inspired by the arts planning of my generation decide to settle in the community and become the next generation of arts and community leaders.
The real impacts become visible many years after the evaluator has delivered the final report to the funders.Read More