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Overview Essays

Welcome to Community Arts 101

Community Arts 101

Community Arts 101 is the CAN textbook, a primer on the field. These essays should provide you with some basic knowledge about community art. We introduce you to the work from three different angles – by arts discipline (like theater and visual art), by population (like elders or people living outside the U.S.), by social context (like activism or community development).

We also wanted to illuminate the history and theory behind this work. To author these essays, CAN went after the experts in the field, people who have been working in and thinking about the work for more than 30 years.

These essays are detailed, in-depth examinations of aspects of community art. For simple, direct, how-to instructions on doing this work, see Working Methods.

A Journey of Discouragement and Hope: An Introduction to Arts and Corrections
With 100 prison arts residencies under his belt, a working poet introduces the field. By Grady Hillman (December 2001)

An Introduction to Community Art and Activism
Some history, theory and personal perspective on activist art for community change. By Jan Cohen-Cruz (February 2002)

An Introduction to Training in Community Arts
How and where training is being offered in community arts, from workshops to degree courses in universities. By Linda Frye Burnham (September 2001)

An Introduction to the Arts-for-Health Movement, or How the Arts Sneaked in on the Medical Model
A short history of the field of arts in healthcare, along with highlights, references and theory based on the author's own experience with arts in the U.S. By Janice Palmer (November 2001)

Art Centers for Adults with Disabilities
Theory, history, personal perspective from the founding director of National Institute of Arts and Disabilities. By Elias Katz (February 2002)

Arts and Creative Aging Across America
Overview from the point of view of the director of the National Center for Creative Aging. By Susan Perlstein (October 2002)

Authentic Passion: An introduction to the arts in rural and small communities
Overview from a noted South Dakota arts consultant. By Janet Brown (March 2002)

Community Arts and Technology: Confessions of a Quiet Practitioner
Overview from the founding co-director of the Center for Digital Storytelling. By Joe Lambert (May 2002)

Cultural Policy: In the board rooms and on the streets
Overview from a noted consultant to foundations and government agencies. By Caron Atlas (August 2002)

Dancing From the Heart: Urban-based Community Arts
Overview by a Chicago-based director of community theater projects across the U.S. By Richard Owen Geer (May 2002)

Dancing in Community: Its Roots in Art
A short history of the field of community dance, along with highlights, references and theory based on the author's own experience with her company, the Dance Exchange. By Liz Lerman (September 2002)

Deeper than Skin or Gender: Community Arts and Cultural Diversity
Overview of the intersection of art and cultural diversity from the director of Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning and former director of Alternate ROOTS. By Alice Lovelace (July 2002)

Finding the Thread of an Interrupted Conversation: the Arts, Education, and Community
Overview of arts and education from the director of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). By Arnold Aprill (February 2002)

First We Make Music: An Introduction to Music and Community Arts
Overview of community music from the director of the Contintental Harmonies Program of American Composers Forum. By Patricia A. Shifferd (March 2002)

Grassroots, Community-based Theater: A View of the Field and Its Context
History, theory and examples of community-based theater from a CAN co-director and founding director of the Road Company. By Robert H. Leonard (December 2003)

INROADS: The Intersection of Art & Civic Dialogue
Introduction to the use of civic dialogue in community development from the staff of the Animating Democracy Initiative. By Andrea Assaf, Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer-Bacon (August 2002)

Lyrical Expression, Critical Engagement, Transformative Action: An Introduction to Art and the Environment
History and theory of the visual arts as they engage our natural and built environment -- from a noted eco-artist/scholar. By Tim Collins (June 2003)

Mapping the Field: Arts-Based Community Development
Overview from the director of the Center for the Study of Art and Community. By William Cleveland (May 2002)

Overlaps, Intersections and Conflicts: An Introduction to Arts and Culture
Ideas about the state of cultural democracy by a noted arts consultant and author. By Arlene Goldbard (March 2002)

Policy Research on Community Arts: A Collective Endeavor
An overview of the policies and methods of research in community arts from the director of the Culture, Creativity and Communities Program at the Urban Institute. By Maria-Rosario Jackson (July 2002)

Power and Mastery — Negotiations in Community-based Visual Art
Overview of the intersection of visual art and communities from an experienced practitioner. By Neill Bogan (October 2003)

Public Art's Cultural Evolution
Overview of the field of public art from the artistic director of Public Art Review. By Jack Becker (February 2002)

Some Historical Threads of the Community Arts Story (and why they are important).
A history of community arts by the former associate director of the Colorado Council on the Arts. By Maryo Gard Ewell (July 2002)

The Dynamism of Arts-service Organizations
Introduction to the service organizations providing much of community arts' infrastructure -- by the former director of the National Association of Artists' Organizations. By Roberto Bedoya (January 2002)

Whose Agenda Is It, Anyway? Documentary Burdens, Community Benefits
History and theory of the documentary arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. By Lynn McKnight (August 2003)

Why Not Football? The Politics of Youth Arts Programs in America
Overview of community arts with young people: history, theory and personal perspective from the author of "Building the Code: Understanding Community-based Arts in America." By Mat Schwarzman (May 2002)

 
 


New Essays: OVERVIEW ESSAYS
Grassroots, Community-based Theater: A View of the Field and Its Context
History, theory and examples of community-based theater from a CAN co-director and founding director of the Road Company. By Robert H. Leonard (December 2003)
Power and Mastery — Negotiations in Community-based Visual Art
Overview of the intersection of visual art and communities from an experienced practitioner. By Neill Bogan (October 2003)
Whose Agenda Is It, Anyway? Documentary Burdens, Community Benefits
History and theory of the documentary arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. By Lynn McKnight (August 2003)

 


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