Creating Communities In Art Education
Amber D. Lemser
Distance Learning Masters Of Art Education Program At The University Of Florida
Creating Communities in Art Education
When art educators discuss 21st century art education programs many issues are brought to the surface. One of those issues is community: what is community based learning, how do art educators fund community based programs, how to involve people in community art projects, how to begin a community art program, among other questions. New incoming art educators can find the issue of infusing the community in art programs daunting. Educators are challenged to understand what community is. What kinds of communities are art educators striving to create: a peer community, a classroom based community, or a community that is involved with an art program. Art educators are enabled with the task of being an advocate and leader in creating community based art programs for schools and communities all over the United States. (Freedman, 2011)
What is Community Based Learning The Glossary of Education Reform websites defines Community-based learning as
“A wide variety of instructional methods and programs that educators use to connect what is being taught in schools to their surrounding communities, including local institutions, history, literature, cultural heritage, and natural environments. Community-based learning is also motivated by the belief that all communities have intrinsic educational assets and resources that educators can use to enhance learning experiences for students” (The Glossary of Education Reform, 2014).
Dr. Jarvis Ulbricht organizes community art programs into six categories. The categories consist of support or reform art education programs, to entice hierarchy figures, citizens trying to get rid of art programs in schools, getting students involved in everyday real world situations, and confronting social issues. His article, What is Community-based Art Education, examines goals, definitions, and rationales of community based art education. Examples of definitions of community based art education, are informal teaching, which takes places outside of schools or educational facilities, organized community teaching, which are art projects put on by the community, such as the Outdoor Art Movement in 1899, formal community based art education, such as afterschool art programs for students, and outreach programs designed to empower and promote art (Ulbricht, 2005).
Community based learning as shown can be many things. Art Educators must decide what kind of community based learning they are going to pursue and promote in their educational programs. Then decided on how they will define their community program with a school system.
How to infuse, Promote, and Entice Community-based Art Programs
“Community- based art programs seem to call for a new aesthetic and collaboration,” as stated by Oliva Gude ( Gude, 1989 p. 323). When an art educators is building a community-based art program they must become advocate leaders for their art programs (Freedman, 2011). They must persuade communities, political leaders, and school districts just how important these programs are to students.
Ways Promote/Infuse Arts in Communities
Andrew Taylor is a member of the American Universities Arts Management in Washington, D.C. Taylor establishes that there should be three elements that make a healthy creative community, and all of those elements contain art forms. The first way is for communities to have cultural literacy. Cultural literacy is being fluent in traditions, customs, and languages that are acquired from families, and community historians. The second way is through participatory cultural practice. Participatory cultural practice is the engagement of people in the community in cultural activities, such as drawing, garage rock bands, or public dances that are nonprofessionally formed. The third is professional cultural goods and services. Professional cultural goods made by individuals in the community sale those goods the larger society. An examples these goods are video games and computer graphics designed by local artist (Taylor, 2005). The ideas listed above are great ways to motivate public leaders to support and fund community art programs within an area.
Randy Cohen an art activist also articulates why people should support community art programs in his 2013 article. The article suggest that true prosperity, improved academic performance, arts as an industry, art as goods for local merchants, arts as a cornerstone of tourism, art as an export industry, arts builds the 21st century work force, healthcare, stronger communities, and creative industry. The reasons listed have strong holdings as to why art should be supported. The arts help produce creativity, and to express our values. Art bridges gaps between cultures and brings people together. Community art encourage students to stay in school and become good community servants. The arts promote tourism and bring in money for local businesses. The arts produce much revenue on exports like jewelry, paintings, and movies. The arts programs produce a sense of wellbeing and help people cope when ill or faced with tragedy. The arts build up a community, allowing for young people to become a part of their society and have pride for those societies. The arts are also used in means of hiring creative thinking people for jobs in a society. With a community art program in schools this will help enhance creative thinking students, and promote areas with these types of events (Cohen, 2013).
Enticing the Community
Sometimes school districts need a little push to promote community based learning. Here is ten reasons why an art programs is important for students. One is creativity allowing students to stand out by using skills to create something unique or problem solve until they have a brilliant idea. Two is confidence, which the arts train into students, especially in theater, to take command and build leadership skills. Three is problem-solving. The arts teach students to use different forms of problem-solving that allow students to come up with their own solution of a concept. Four is perseverance, which the arts teach children skills to not give up and keep going to achieve success. Five is focus. Studies show that students involved in the arts have better ability to concentrate and focus on issues in everyday life. Six is nonverbal communication that the arts use to break down body language, and have students study body language to better understand and use in everyday situations. Seven is receiving constructive feedback, which art educators use as a learning tool. Eight is collaboration, which teaches students to work together for a common goal. Nine is dedication, the arts establishes dedication by students working hard to finish a piece, so they can feel proud of that piece. Ten is accountability, which makes students aware of their actions in a group, and how it affects those around them. It makes students take responsibility for their actions, correct them, and move on (Strauss, 2013).
Also, an art educator must be an advocate and leader in the community-based art program. Educators must promote that visual arts as essential to human life, consider cultural and personal impacts by using art, connects to social and educational aims, and guarantees creative and critical thinking for successful leaders. Community- based art programs should produce team effort and promoting good social skills for the future (Freedman, 20011). An Art educator must make this clear to schools to persuade them to promote community art programs.
How To Create A Community-based Art Program
Creating a community based art program can seem challenging for educators but there is vast resources and ideas available to help teachers start their programs. There is a huge selection of websites that promote community involvement and community professional development such as, The Repurposing Project website and The Alliance of Artist Community website. The Repurposing Project website is a nonprofit program for recycling and reusing materials. A site where students and art educators can purchase gently used materials for school. They also have creative community tables at the store location. A community table is a place for the community to come and make art out of junk and have and are used by art based resources all over the United States (The Repurpose Project, n.d).The Alliance of Artist Community website promotes successful practices in the art fields, and creates environments for artist to learn and create together, and can be used to find professional development and community based art areas (Alliance of Artist Community, 2014).
Ideas for community-based art programs are numerous. Gilbert Clark and Enid Zimmerman are two art educators who created a project called ProjectARTS. ProjectARTS is a community art program for rural areas where students connect with artist, educators, environments, and traditions in their communities. Then connect with other rural area students through technology to examine each other artwork and cultures (Clark, & Zimmerman, 2000). Another idea is an art night event at schools. Where students, teachers, and parents come to learn about art and make art together (ArtCorps, n.d). Also, art educators can host and collaborate on community art shows, mural collaborations, and artist in residence ideas for community based art programs, to establish functioning community art programs in their areas.
As any art educator is plagued with 21st century issues. The community involvement issue can be conquered. An art educator must be an advocate and leader for their program, though. There are many resources and ideas readily available through, technology, community organizations, and professional development as resources for teachers to use. The information is out there. All an educator as to do is take incentive to search those resources out, and become actively involved in their community to create a successful community-based art education program.
Alliance of Artist Communities. (2014) Alliance of Artist Communities. Retrieved from http://www.artistcommunities.org/what-we-do
ArtCorpsSD. (n.d) Family Art Night. Art Corps. Retrieved from http://artcorpssd.com/ArtLessons/family-art-night/
Clark, G., & Zimmerman E. (2000). Greater understanding of local community: A community- based art program for rural schools. Art Education, 53(2), 33-39.
Cohen, R. (2013)10 Reasons to support the arts. Americans for the Arts. Retrieved from http://www.partnershipmovement.org/news/p/10-reasons-to-support-the-arts-in-2013/
Community-based Learning. (2014, March 3). The Glossary of Educational Reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/community-based-learning/
Freedman, K. (2011). Leadership in art education: Taking action in schools and communities. Art Education, 64(2), 40-45.
Gude, O. (1989). An aesthetics of Collaboration. Art Journal, 48(4), 321-323.
Mission and Values. (n.d). National PTA. Retrieved from https://www.pta.org/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=944&navItemNumber=552
Taylor, A. (2005). Measuring the creative community. Arts Journal Blogs: The Artful Manager Retrieved from http://www.artsjournal.com/artfulmanager/main/measuring_the_creative_communi.php
Strauss, V. (2013). Top 10 skills children learn from the arts. Blog: The Answer Sheet.Washington Post: Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer- sheet/wp/2013/01/22/top-10-skills-children-learn-from-the-arts/
The Repurpose Project. (n.d). The Repurpose Project. Retrieved from http://www.repurposeproject.org/
Ulbricht, J. (2005). What is community-based art education? Art Education, 58(2), 6-12.