Community Arts—Buzzwords or Meaningful Practice: Making Sense of the Expanding Universe of Community-based Arts Practice

Tuesday, October 19, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Organized by Janet Brown, executive director, Grantmakers in the Arts.

Presented by Bill Cleveland, consultant, The McKnight Foundation; Barbara Schaffer Bacon, co-director, Animating Democracy, Americans for the Arts.

Twenty-five years ago, “community arts” funders and grantees used expressions like beautification, quality of life, and community animation to describe their efforts. Today, we hear terms like social justice, sustainable economic development, and neighborhood revitalization to describe the outcome of these arts-based initiatives. Such goals dramatically raise the stakes and broaden the playing field for the creators, investors, and communities involved. And, as more and more public and private resources are invested in this work, many feel a need for increased clarity of definition and intention from all involved. This session will address such questions as: What standards of practice are applicable across the broad range of intentions represented in the field? And are there investment, assessment, and communication strategies employed by other community sectors in ways that could be useful here?

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