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                        Crafting a Vision for Art,
                      Equity and Civic Engagement:
       Convening the Community Arts Field in Higher Education
                          Edited by Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD

        Crafting a Vision for Art,
      Equity and Civic Engagement:
Convening the Community Arts Field in Higher Education

               Edited by Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD

          Center for Art and Public Life, California College of the Arts
          Co-Presented with Association of Independent Colleges of
              Art and Design and Massachusetts College of Art

                              November 2-4, 2006
Table of Contents

    Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD, Vice President Diversity & Strategic Partnerships
    Wesleyan University (former Director Center for Art and Public Life) ............................................................................ iv

    Michael Roth, PhD, President Wesleyan University
    (former President California College of the Arts) .............................................................................................................................. vi

    Professor Timothy John Densmore, Columbia College Chicago ........................................................................................ viii

    Amalia Mesa-Bains, PhD, Director of the Visual and Public Art Institute of
    California State University at Monterey Bay............................................................................................................................................ 2

    Claudine Kinard Brown, Director of the Arts and Culture Program,
    Nathan Cummings Foundation New York, New York.................................................................................................................... 11

    Marcel Diallo, Chief Creative Officer, Black Dot Artists, Inc., Oakland, California ............................................... 16

    Marta Moreno Vega, PhD, Founder and President of the
    Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York ...................................................................................... 20

                                                                                  Selected Sessions
    I, too Sing America: WritersCorps at the Symposium –
    Judith Tannenbaum, Writer, San Francisco Art Commission .................................................................................................. 28

    Fostering Reciprocal Relationships: Research Centers, Universities, and
    Community Based Practioners – Doug Blandy, PhD, Director and Lori Hager, PhD,
    Assistant Professor & Associate Director, Arts and Administration Program,
    Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy University of Oregon..........................................................................31

    Breaking Tradition, Breaking Making – collaboration between Francis McIlveen,
    California College of the Arts Alumni, Yuki Maruyama, Michelle Lieberman
    and the students of the OBUGS (Oakland Based Urban Gardens) Program ............................................................ 36

    Building Community Through the Practice of Enso – Virginia Jardim, Faculty,
    Community Arts Department, California College of the Arts ............................................................................................... 38

                                                         ii           Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
 Listening for the Lexicon of Cultural Shift – Linda Frye Burnham,
 Community Art Network ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 44
A Week-Long Immersion in the Activist Theory and Practice
of Appalshop: The NYU Tisch University Scholars Travel to
Whiteburg, Kentucky – Jamie Haft, New York University Alumni..................................................................................... 49
 Home, New Orleans?: Community Arts Program Post-Hurricane
 Katrina – Shawn Vantree, Director Community Arts Program,
 Xavier University of Louisiana Department of Art .......................................................................................................................... 55
We Interrupt Our Regular Programming (B.A. & M.F.A.) To Bring You This
Announcement: Arts Training Needs a Fixin for the 21st C. Not-So-Free
Market – Eugene Rodriguez, Visual Arts Instructor, DeAnza College ............................................................................ 57
 Campus–Community Partnerships: Supporting or Destroying the Field of Community Arts?
– Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD Vice President Diversity & Strategic Partnerships Wesleyan
 University (former Director Center for Art and Public Life California College of the Arts)........................ 62

                                                                                                   Students Speak
The Intergenerational Tango – MacKenzie Fegan and Jamie Haft, Alumni,
Tish School of the Arts, New York University ....................................................................................................................................... 70
 Washi: Handmade Paper, Handing on Wisdom – Mia Braverman, Alumni,
 Community Arts Program, California College of the Arts ......................................................................................................... 71
The Organic Process of Collaboration and Implementation of Educational
Art-Based Projects with Community – Christina Samuelson, Alumni,
Community Arts Program, California College of the Arts ........................................................................................................ 75

Johanna Poethig, Faculty Institute for Visual and Public Art,
California State University Monterey Bay .............................................................................................................................................. 80
Deirdre Visser, Faculty California College of the Arts and Mills College, Dia Penning,
Arts Education Program Manager San Francisco Art Commission, Lott Hill and
Megan Stielstra, Center for Teaching Excellence Columbia College Chicago......................................................... 82

                                                                      Attendees & Contact Information
 Information List.............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 88

                                                                        Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication                                                   iii
Introduction                                                                       Sonia BasSheva Manjon, PhD

                                                                                   Vice President Diversity & Strategic Partnerships
                                                                                   Wesleyan University (Former Director Center for
                                                                                   Art and Public Life, Founding Chair, Community
                                                                                   Arts Major California College of the Arts)

        “The intention was to bring together practitioners from outside the
         academy so we could learn from community partners and experience
         the impact that our students are having in the community.”

Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement:
Convening the Community Arts Field in Higher Education was
a collective effort of higher educational institutions, their
students and community partners to share a vision of the
creative and collaborative efforts needed to link art with civic
engagement. Specifically, we attempted to create a dialogue
between academicians, students and community activists
through creative exhibits/installations and participatory
activities that focused on the following symposium topics:
democratization of art practices, community collaboration as
a means for social change, and the relationship of changing
demographics to issues of identity and representation politics
on college campuses. This endeavor brought together amazing
new voices not previously showcased at academic conferences.
The intention was to bring together practitioners from outside
the academy so we could learn from community partners and
experience the impact that our students are having in the
community. The sessions, workshops and art exhibits were
meant to elicit somatic as well as intellectual responses. This
collection of keynotes, essays, selected session descriptions and
reflections from students, faculty and community partners is
meant as a sampling of what was offered at the symposium and
also as an example and testament to what has been and can
be achieved through art and civic engagement. Embedded in
this document are photographs and a DVD that contains each
keynote and a 13-minute overview of the symposium.

                                          iv      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
About the Center for
Art and Public Life
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts’ mission is to
educate students to shape culture through the practice and
critical study of the arts. CCA is one of the largest accredited,
independent, nonprofit schools of art and design in the United
States. Noted for the interdisciplinary nature and breadth of its
programs, the college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees
in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design and writing.

CCA explores issues at the intersection of art, education, and
community through the activities of its Center for Art and Public
Life. The Center’s mission is to create community partnerships
based on creative practice that serve the CCA community and the
diverse populations of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Center’s
commitment is to: 1) improve education at all levels—kindergarten
through college; 2) engage the creative process in teacher training
and curriculum development; 3) motivate and stimulate young
minds to shape their world through creative work; 4) challenge
CCA students and faculty to use their art to make a difference;
and 5) empower and support community activism.

                                                                             About the Community
                                                                             Arts Major
                                                                              The Community Arts Major is an interdisciplinary, community-
                                                                              based approach to creative practice. This major explores the
                                                                              ways artists interact, collaborate and intervene in a variety of
                                                                              social networks with the aim of building sustainable community
                                                                              relationships, engaging cultural diversity and stimulating social
                                                                              transformation. Students study the history of community arts
                                                                              and draw from a wide range of cultural theories and practices
                                                                              in art, critical studies, art education, service learning, and civic
                                                                              engagement. Encouraged to experiment with new genres,
                                                                              mediums and technologies, students create their own set of
                                                                              hybrid practices, adding new thinking and ideas to the field of
                                                                              community arts. Students can choose a specific methodology of
                                                                              practice that includes: art education, studio practice, community
                                                                              engagement, and/or arts management.

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   v
Welcome                                                                             Michael Roth, PhD

                                                                                    President Wesleyan University (former
                                                                                    President California College of the Arts)

        “…we teach our students something about justice,
                                      about creativity, about violence and injustice.”
I want to be very brief because I know why you’re here tonight,              Now, what we do when we engage in these activities, at least
and it’s not to hear from the President of the college. But I would          as far as I understand them, at CCA and other places that Sonia
like to say a few words about community arts and CCA. The                    [Manjon] has got me to pay attention to, what we do is to create
few words are these: We are an institution of higher education.              partnerships with other sources of creativity in society. By creating
And we’re co-sponsoring this [symposium] with another great                  those partnerships, by working with kids, by working with people
educational institution and with [AICAD], the Association of                 in communities who don’t have access to the resources that
Independent Colleges of Art and Design.                                      higher education institutions have access to, by creating those
                                                                             partnerships, we teach our students something about justice,
Institution of higher education…what does that mean today?
                                                                             about creativity, about violence and injustice.
Colleges and universities used to be the places where you went
in order to achieve the things that other people were keeping                We teach them that, and we hope we do a service in the
you from achieving. They were the places you would go to                     community; we do something of which we can be proud because
because social conditions or economic systems or some                        it seems to us to diminish the chances of senseless violence,
combination of those things kept you from being the person                   and to diminish the chances that unjust privilege will simply be
you might develop into.                                                      perpetuated through cultural systems that defend the status quo.
That’s why we went to college and universities that was what                 We do that; it’s very simple, right? This work is being done by
was so great about them for so long in this country. And now,                people like you, who create connections to folks in the community
as you probably know, now educational institutions, as a rule,               who otherwise don’t have access to higher education resources, or
are mechanisms for preserving privilege. That’s what they do:                might not have access in the same way. You do this work in a way
they preserve privilege, which means preserving injustice.                   that doesn’t get you a score on some commission’s assessment
                                                                             exam, doesn’t increase necessarily your graduation rate, but what
There are vehicles within these institutions where the more
                                                                             it does—vand I think you see it all the time with your students—
emancipatory tendencies of education can still be found.
                                                                             what it does is it gives people reasons to keep hoping that change
Your work in community arts, your work with people who
                                                                             can occur in our society in such a way as to decrease the chances
are connecting their educational institutions to community
                                                                             of senseless violence, decrease the opportunities for warmongers
projects and aspirations—this is one of the few places left in
                                                                             all around us, and to increase the possibility of struggling for
American higher education that has not been overtaken by
                                                                             democracy and justice.
false measures of success, that is not driven by the necessity
of supporting unjust privilege in this country. It still has                 Now I can say this kind of thing as a non-partisan college
emancipatory potential.                                                      president, even when I’m out there fundraising. I can say this kind

                                           vi      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
of thing because these are not controversial values, despite the
fact that they are so under-supported by the powers that be.
Democracy, equality, justice, fairness—it’s hard to find people who
will say they’re against them. And actually, it’s not that hard to
find people ready to invest in sustaining these values.
We just have to make this an institutional priority.

What you do in the programs you create, what we try to do
here at CCA, is to create partnerships that reveal injustice, but
not only that, we develop partnerships that create opportunities
for believing in reasonable hope. It’s so hard. You know, it’s so
hard for people, they get depressed, they get tired of struggling,
but you create the possibility that they can, that they should,
maintain social hope.
I’ve seen it, for example, in the work of my friend Roberto Bedoya
(who I see is here tonight) who was at the Getty ten years ago
or more. Some of you have been doing this work for decades. It’s
hard, and it’s easy to say, “Why am I doing this?” And the reason
you’re doing it is because when you see young people (and
sometimes old people) rediscover their capacity for hope, you
know you’re on the right track.
You’re doing the work of creativity, the work of the arts, the
work of cultural reinvigoration, and I am very grateful to you
for doing that.
What you’re doing is giving us all better reasons to be hopeful
about the possibility of creating change. I can’t think of anyone
who does that more consistently, in a more inspirational way
than our speaker tonight: Amalia Mesa-Bains. It’s not every day
I get to introduce a certified genius. Certified!

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   vii
                                                Dedicated to:
                                                Professor Timothy
                                                John Densmore

In memory of Professor Timothy John Densmore 1963—2007
Columbia College Chicago Television Department. Studio and
Field Production Specialist. Freelance producer, consultant
and trainer for Palmer House Hilton and Hilton Corporation
in corporate production; former Media Coordinator for Illinois
Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and Northwestern
University Law Clinic; freelance cameraperson for various
corporations including Beltone Electronics, Chicago Urban
League, McDonald’s Television, and Allstate Insurance.
Instructor of Columbia College Electronic Newsletter.

Your light will always shine among us.

               viii   Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
“Art is a different form of service.
Students have to have the ability to
reflect and analyze, and they have to
develop what we think of now as a set
of lifelong skills, and those lifelong
skills of social justice and service go
out with them into the world”.
                  Amalia Mesa Bains

                           Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   1
                                                                            Amalia Mesa Bains, PhD
                                                                             Director of the Visual and Public Art
                                                                             Institute of California State University
                                                                             at Monterey Bay

         I know the days ahead are going to unfold, and we’re going to meet
         old and new friends, and we’re going to listen to people who have
         had a lifetime commitment, and we’re going to listen to people who
         are starting new projects.

Through Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement,             that’s the challenge that we have ahead of us, is how to engage
we are convening the community arts field and higher education;              these issues, the strategies, the practices, the pedagogies, and the
we are continuing work begun by many others. But first of all,               curriculum when we come from different points and positions
I want to acknowledge the audience, that all of you who have                toward a common vision.
come together today represent various roles. Some of you are
artists; some of you are students or scholars and some of you               But I think the fact that we’re here means that there’s a change
are activists. We are really rich, both in the Bay Area and in the          afoot, and many of us have watched it over the last number of
national convening, to be able to look at what it is we’ve been             years. Places like Chicago Art Institute, the Corcoran College of
doing and what we will do in the future.                                    Art and Design, various places that we never imagined would
I want to especially thank the Center for Art and Public Life,              take on the notion of community arts are slowly beginning to do
Sonia Manjon, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and            that. There have been indicators in the field for at the least the
Design, and Massachusetts College of Art, because it’s a wonderful          last ten years that something is changing, that we’re recognizing
coming together of different trajectories toward the same point.            something about what we need to do and what we need to do
The truth of it is that the pathways that would bring those three           better. It’s a unique moment on which the partnership between
entities together are quite distinct, and in many ways I think              higher education and community arts can exist.

                                          2       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
Sonia [Manjon] mentioned earlier our consortium, and that                      of the Arts] and Expansion Arts [NEA Program]—all the things
consortium was really born out of funding by the Wallace                       we knew through the ‘80s, the ‘70s and ‘80s—they’re gone now.
Foundation that was following some of the work that Cal Arts
                                                                               Now you have a Galeria de la Raza up against a Metropolitan
had done, but I think some of us took it in a different direction.
                                                                               Museum of Art under the category of historical preservation at
It had to do with the idea of community arts partnerships and
                                                                               NEA. We have to know that the footsteps we walk in are footsteps
how they occur. As a result of that consortium, we began to
                                                                               of sacrifice, ingenuity and creativity, and I’m speaking in a very
expand our relationships with one another. For those of us
                                                                               local way, but there are places elsewhere in which this happened.
who were in the new California State University Monterey Bay
                                                                               Here in San Francisco the first murals were actually done with
(CSUMB), which is only ten years old, we were starting on a path
                                                                               money from neighborhood arts, where we’d have the paint cans at
completely new in respect to an art department engaging public
                                                                               the Galeria de la Razaso artists could come and get them. People
and community art at its core. In many ways that was difficult
                                                                               like the Mujeres Muralistas, Ray Patlan, and other artists began
because we didn’t have the history, the resources, the kind of
                                                                               through those neighborhood arts programs. And then there came
reputation, but on another hand, we were free to do things in a
                                                                               what we like to refer to as the golden age of multiculturalism in
different way because there were no established bureaucracies
                                                                               art. I happen to know definitively when it ended, okay? I was there,
in terms of art departments. So people just came together and
                                                                               it was in 1993, the Whitney Biennial, you could hear that door
made a difference.
                                                                               shut, the suction goes slam, it’s closed, it was over. But before that,
The partnerships that we’ve been talking about in the last number              it was quite fabulous and quite golden.
of years, I believe are founded on two particularly important areas
                                                                               But it was a time also of struggle. Many of us came from
that are not always connected to art and art-making, and those
                                                                               communities that have long histories in this continent, and we
are the areas of service learning and social justice. It was not easy
                                                                               came from traditions that might have been defined as folk, or
even at a new school to bring those elements together, but to try
                                                                               might have been defined in other ways, and we came together as
and fuse them into traditional art schools where they may even be
                                                                               contemporary artists. I remember the first time many of us worked
antithetical has been a struggle. It has definitely been a challenge
                                                                               with Marta Moreno Vega, who’s my mentor and my colleague
at schools that are more established. When we started doing this
                                                                               and my sister. She started the first Cultural Diversity Through
at CSUMB ten years ago, when we started doing the consortium,
                                                                               Cultural Grounding conference, which was absolutely radical in
we were not alone and we were not the first. I often refer to the
                                                                               the ‘80s. We have ancestors in ways. Many of them are still with
work of Edward Soja and other people who are theorists around
                                                                               us, but many are not. So, this idea that we invented this field is a
social space and social meaning. They talk about the idea that no
                                                                               fallacy. We were never the first. I was once at a place, which I shall
place is empty when you get there, that there are ghosts of those
                                                                               not name, and a person who I shall not name insisted that they
who have come before us. That’s what I feel today in this room,
                                                                               had invented community arts, and we all sat there going, “What
that we are here at a point along a continuum that has been
                                                                               is that?” And so the reality is that we are here because others
forged for us by people who came before us.
                                                                               have come before us, and we had a knowledge base, and that
I want to do a brief capsule of history: think about the Civil                 knowledge base came from all those moments of struggle.
Rights Movement and the kind of sacrifice and work that was
                                                                               I think about the days when the Chicano Art Resistance and
done by people who were struggling for justice and for equity
in the most civic moment of history of our country. From the                   Affirmation Exhibition went through the NEH [National Endowment
core civil rights experience grew the cultural movements. I was a              of the Humanities] panel four times, four times it was approved,
part of the Movimiento, the Chicano Movement, but there were                   and four times it was de-funded by Madam Lynne Cheney, who
movements in Black, Native American and Asian communities.                     was, I believe, the head of NEH at the time. So, there have been
I remember that many of these movements were fraught with                      battlefields along the way. There has been an opening up and
crisis, and some sad moments of loss, but nonetheless they                     closing back of our historical canons; there has been moments in
represented the kind of cultural mix, that power of passion and                which we thought there was a revolution and it turned out to be,
belief that we still carry forward. Then after that, we look at the            well, a skirmish maybe, but certainly not the end of the road.
beginning of cultural centers; the Galeria de la Raza, Kearny                  I often think of the words of Amiri Baraka. Amiri Baraka at
Street Workshop, Guadalupe Center in Texas, the Caribbean                      a conference at the Yerba Buena Art Center when everyone
Cultural Center in New York are just a few. You can name them,                 was battling over whether we were going to be a grassroots
many of whose doors are closing now, as we speak because the                   organization or a mainstream organizationput his hand up and
funding that once sustained them in NEA [National Endowment                    said “Hey, just remember, all of us have the right to

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   3
self-determination and democracy.” Self-determination referred to             studio. They are connected to their communities. It’s that give and
our institutions that we build, and democracy is what we pay our              take between artist and community that is the model that many
taxes for, and we deserve to be in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,            of us have begun to think about when we talk about how to build
or the Modern, whatever it might be. So, this idea is that there are          community partnerships in higher education.
intricacies between how we are represented in the community and
                                                                              We have some premises that we can move forward with, and
in the mainstream. I think about the whole era of civic dialogues
                                                                              I want to talk a little bit about what we’ve been doing at CSUMB,
that was sponsored in many ways by the efforts of foundations,
                                                                              not because we’re the only ones doing it, but because it’s the
and the Animating Democracy Project, which will be talked about
                                                                              model that I understand the best, and it’s the model that borrows
tomorrow, edged along by Ford.
                                                                              from many people in this room, frankly.
The Pact Project that the Rockefeller [Foundation] created was
another attempt to reach out to community. Even the Community
Arts Partnership Institute and all that we went through came out
of Wallace [Foundation], and then Nathan Cummings [Foundation]
came in and also supported a community partnership model. Some
of our work was dedicated to inspiring and providing for the next
generation. The Regeneration project at Galeria de la Raza began
in 1992 and has now moved forward almost 14 years and we find
some of the young leadership of 1992 running organizations and
institutions all over the country. This was a brief, somewhat localized
history, but it supports the idea that many roads and many projects
and many people have brought us here today.

I went to San Jose State in the ‘60s,                                         We started the vision under Suzanne Lacey and Judy Baca’s
                                                                              leadership, but Johanna Poethig and Stephanie Johnson had to
and let me tell you, nobody ever talked                                       be on the ground to implement that first vision. I joined them
                                                                              after the first year and together we crafted a model based in some
to me about community, and I had                                              sense on the ways we had learned to live as artists in community.
                                                                              We came together in various ways to try to figure out a model
no preparation for what I eventually                                          for the life we have had. We tried to build a program that would
                                                                              prepare them for that life in a way that we were not prepared in
learned to do.                                                                our own art schooling.

                                                                              I went to San Jose State in the ‘60s, and let me tell you, nobody
So we are at this point now talking about higher education                    ever talked to me about community, and I had no preparation
and community partnerships. We are here to talk about the                     for what I eventually learned to do. So looked at our work in a
intersection between civic life, equity and community. We know                retrospective view. We looked at the skill sets that we all had
that the work that we’re aiming for has already begun. We do                  in combination, and then we flipped them, and we said, “Okay,
not have to invent it. We just have to expand it and to move it               to know how to do that, what do you have to study?” And so
forward. We already have models. This organic movement has                    that began this long process of defining a new curriculum and
now reached the point at which we can begin to define the artists              pedagogy. And I want to say that we were also in a university of
who hold the highest form that we call them artist-citizens. I’m              like-minded people. When CSUMB began in an old abandoned
thinking of people like Judy Baca, Suzanne Lacy, Pepon Osorio, and            military base, Fort Ord, there were 25 slots and 5,000 people
Mildred Howard, who are here with us today. There are numerous                applied for them, because it was a new revolution in education.
people whose work has resided both within the art world and                   It was the 21st campus for the 21st century, and we talked about
within a deep community of which they are a part. Of which they               interdisciplinarity and the capacity to study across different
are a part: that is the salient aspect—they are part of a community.          cultures, issues of globalism and the environment. All of that was
They don’t go find a community and fix it and go back to their                  in place. So, to come in as a visual and public art department

                                             4      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
was not difficult. In fact, we have a richness of conversation with           And then the last outcome was distribution, being responsible
people in humanities and ethics at various fields that affected               for the work you did going out into that world. And in order
the way we thought about what we did. So, we developed six                   to develop that, we really had to create a program that was an
outcomes, six skill areas to which we teach and the areas in which           intersection between studio arts, arts education, public arts in
students must master.                                                        many ways, and other interdisciplinary foci.
The first one is analysis, because you have to be able to research            So, over the years these outcomes have been the driving force
and analyze art historically and also in contemporary systems                behind us. Our challenge is how to rest these skills within
of economic and social justice. But you also have to have your               what kind of a curriculum. What is it you want them to know?
own aesthetic. You have to begin someplace in yourself, so                   So we began with what we call an assets-based model. To make
that was the second one. The third one was learning how to                   this clear I will give you an opposite example. She’s no longer
work in community. What are the skill sets that you need to go               our provost, we were very successful in having her to leave, but
in and out of a community respectfully and with knowledge?                   one of our first provosts described our students to us one day
The fourth one had to do with the very, very unusual aspect                  when we were having orientation. She talked about non-white
that you don’t find in art departments, and that is collaboration,            students who are non-English speaking. And so there were all
                                                                             these “nons”, and then we were thinking, “Okay, but where are
                                                                             the cross-cultural students of color?” They were the “nons”.
                                                                             That’s a deficit model. She described what was wrong with or
                                                                             missing from our students. She could not see them with their
                                                                             positive assets. We wanted an assets-based model, so we
                                                                             simply turned it around and we looked at the resources that
                                                                             our communities brought, their values, their knowledge, and
                                                                                                       we looked at how to engage them in
                                                                                                       serving others.

                                                                                                      Serving is different than simply going to
                                                                                                      a soup kitchen, and I want to say a few
                                                                                                      words about that. Also, we looked at the
                                                                                                      cross-disciplinary possibilities, that in
                                                                                                      order for a student in our art program to
because we like to think that we’re the                                                               work in another community, they might
authors, the unique geniuses and we don’t                                                             actually have to learn a second language,
need anybody else. But the truth of it is,                                                            or at least enough to introduce themselves.
whether it’s paying somebody to fabricate                                                             They might have to know something about
for you, or whether it’s learning to do build                                                         global and social equity. The pedagogical
curriculum for docents with someone else,                                                             models that were of most value to us, that
you do have to work with other people.                                                                the university itself had established, had
Collaboration is one of the most difficult                                                             to do with service learning, and they call
to have artists look at, but once they begin                                                          it the prism. Our broader Service Learning
to think and act in this way the doors open                                                           Institute has established foundations of
to real change in the way they work. The next is production,                                          service learning that all major programs
which of course is the basic studio process of learning to make              extend in the upper division programs. This foundation was set by
                                                                             the work of Marianne Penn and Seth Pollack and we have innovated
things. We believe that conceptual skill is not enough; artists
                                                                             on this to make it more specific to the arts.
need to be able to make things. Much of our revision comes in
the moment of material creation and inevitable problem solving               The model establishes service learning as an intersection of
through materiality. Revision—which means that if you have a                 reflection, compassion and analysis. We begin with compassion
community and or peers and you were making work, and you                     because you have to have some ability to feel for others beyond
wanted to find out how they took it in, you might pay attention               yourself and whatever comfort level you might have. The other
to them, and that changes what you make—that is revision.                    is the capacity to analyze. So, analysis means being able to look

                                             Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   5
at systems, social systems, economic systems, and being able to                 community functions, and all that had to happen before we could
ascertain, for example, that undocumented people aren’t just                    actually send them in to do projects. In this engaging with the
here because they like being illegal and crossing the border, that              diverse community, we developed a diverse pedagogy. One of the
they’re here because they’re working and there’s a labor system                 things that we’re really dealing with now is how to articulate that
that allows that to happen. This systemic analysis is part of service           in a larger area, and that’s how we came into the consortium.
learning, and also, ultimately the sense of social justice. We found            We had gotten funding through Wallace to develop something
that our students had to learn to serve, and serving through art                called the Reciprocal University of the Arts Project, which brought
is very different than serving in other ways. It has to do with                 together the music and performing arts and the visual and public
transformative abilities and understanding the meaning of the                   art in an interdisciplinary model.
images that you create, and having reciprocal dialogue with
people as you create those things.

Art is a different form of service. Students have to have the
ability to reflect and analyze, and they have to develop what we
think of now as a set of lifelong skills, and those lifelong skills of
social justice and service go out with them into the world. Our

                                                                                What we discovered was that project-based learning or hands-
                                                                                on learning was the quickest way to get them engaged in the
                                                                                work. The Reciprocal University of the Arts had to found itself
                                                                                on a particular belief system. I want to say something about this
                                                                                particular model, which is called cultural citizenship.

                                                                                If you have a chance to read on this model, there’s a book called
                                                                                Latino Cultural Citizenship, and it’s written by, edited by Rina
students have an opportunity to serve twice, once in the lower
                                                                                Benmayor, and Bill Flores, and they studied under Renato Rosaldo
division, where they actually have the coursework that takes them
                                                                                when he was at Stanford. We took this up almost ten years ago,
out to communities, and again specifically in their major. Every
                                                                                not knowing that the issues of immigration would come about as
major in the campus has its own unique way of providing service
                                                                                they have now. We were also fortunate that Professor Benmayor
learning. But we discovered that even with our best efforts, when
                                                                                was teaching at CSUMB, which allowed us to collaborate with her
we sent young people out into communities they were unfamiliar
                                                                                directly. And this has been an absolute tool for us in being able to
with, it wasn’t easy. We once had a young woman who refused to
                                                                                talk to people about these issues. I want to quote from their work:
get out of the car in East Salinas because she had been watching
                                                                               “Cultural citizenship is the ways in which people organize their
too much nighttime news, and she had seen several drive-bys,
                                                                                values, their beliefs about their rights, and their practices, based
which was a very real part of certain parts of East Salinas.
                                                                                on their sense of cultural belonging, rather than their formal
 But other parts of East Salinas are like going to your mother’s                status as citizens of a nation.” “Particularly important are the
 house. She didn’t know that. So, it took that experience to realize,           struggles for space and cultural rights that shape community
“Okay, we definitely haven’t provided them with enough skills.”                  identity and connect to an understanding of artistic responsibility
 So, we developed ideas of community research and community                     and problem-solving.” And that’s a long way of saying when
 mapping. We had students come to visit in communities, observe,                you’re working with community you need to know there histories
 meet the leaders in the community, be able to examine how a                    of struggle, their cultural heritage and their community values.

                                              6       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
If you are looking at the exhibitions here at the conference please              In some ways the casebook references what will happen in the
look at our project called Journeys Home, that is about working                  next few days, that we’re going to begin to look at precedents for
with farm workers in the Salinas Valley, specifically on the issue                practice. How is it that we determine how we do what we do? Are
of space and of having a home. This project is the story of these                there precedents that we commonly engage in when we enter into
farm worker families who at times had to live in their cars, who                 these partnerships and encounters?
slept in caves and who lived four families to an apartment. They                 We discovered there were some. They’re beyond that sort of artistic
were able to build their first homes in Moro Cojo, a housing                      authorship that we know so well. I think that’s one of the dilemmas
project built through sweat equity. The project we took on was a                 that we’re going to face in trying to make these changes is that
way of trying to communicate to people that everyone deserves                    many of the art schools that we know the best are predicated on
a home, and that legal status is not the only way to measure the                 the unique and individual artist and their authorship.
worth of a human being. If that human being contributes to your
                                                                                 When you begin to share and collaborate with people, whose art
life, because you have fresh strawberries, or you have wonderful
                                                                                 is it? Who takes credit for it? How is it valued? Is it not valued?
artichokes on your table, or someone cleans your toilets, then
                                                                                 So, we found, and these are really simple ones, and they’ll seem
they deserve to have the kind of citizenship we enjoy, and that
                                                                                 almost silly to even say out loud, but we found that maintaining
means having a driver’s license, that means being able to be safe
                                                                                 respect and trust [is key.]. In Spanish there’s something called
in a place that you have worked to build for others. The cultural                confianza or trust. Ironically, it’s what keeps gangs together.
citizenship model is our way of talking about these issues of social             People always say, “Well, why do these kids all hang together
justice in a theoretical premise, because I have found over time                 and get into crime and violence?” They have one thing and one
that you can’t really get people in academia, and even in politics               thing only, belonging. The rest of their life is alienation and
to really listen to another side of the story if you don’t have a                abandonment. The one thing they have in that gang is confianza,
conceptual framework. So, cultural citizenship is our framework.                 they have trust. So, we’re not a gang, but our consortium has
It’s like being on the debate team, you have to have a good                      confianza, we had confianza with one another.
argument or you just don’t get anywhere. Human decency and                       We began to figure out how it was that we worked together. So,
compassion simply is not enough—you’ve got to have theory.                       we learned that you have to maintain respect and trust. You have
When we came into the consortium with the other schools in                       to acknowledge the reality of the youth you serve and the youth
CAPI one of the things we witnessed immediately is how similar                   that you teach. Their reality is the thing that comes in the room
we were. Even though Maryland Institute College of Art was                       first. You’ve got to know it and feel for it before you give them the
dealing with largely African-American communities in Baltimore,                  text, whatever it might be, the lesson, the book, the example, the
Columbia College was in a huge urban setting and we were in this                 project, or the film, you must account for who they are. To do this
rather somewhat rural setting in Salinas and Watsonville where                   you must use the past to predict the future and see something
we seemed to be addressing very similar struggle in community                    moving across time. We found that every community we worked
through the arts and culture. We have Monterey and Carmel,                       in, whether we worked in the Southwest or we’re in the middle
but that’s not where the youth are that we’re primarily serving.                 of Chicago, what we discovered was something that happened
So, what we discovered is that all of us came at the same work                   before. Everyone knew it but us, and we needed to know what
                                                                                 that past was before we plunged ahead into something, because
from a different position, and we began to learn from one another.
                                                                                 sometimes you plunge ahead and you make a big mistakes.
I think if you have a chance to look in your gift bag you’ll see
                                                                                For example you discover that these two groups have had an
our casebook. The casebook is our way of telling the stories.
                                                                                animosity for 30 years, and you just made a little collaboration
And I want to say that when you’re trying to work in community,
                                                                                where you put the two of them in the room. In our region
the absolute glue that sticks it all together are stories. Every
                                                                                in Salinas there’s something called norteno-sureno, and that
community has their stories. Our project that we are working                    means north-south, and it’s a way that youth and gangs divide
in, The Journeys Home, is called Reclamation, and it was about                  themselves. Nortenos are American-born, they identify as
reclaiming histories, it was about telling stories, restoring blighted          Chicanos. Surenos are identified with Mexico. That’s what letter
areas and innovating public space. But ultimately, it was about                 13 and 14, all those little signs you see, and it’s all about that.
telling stories. Our casebook is about telling stories, but it’s also a         We had two partners, and we didn’t realize, because they were in
way to compare our strategies, to contribute to a growing national              the context of community partnerships. They were community
pedagogy, and to document the work that is being done.                          organizations in which one dealt directly with youth violence

                                                 Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   7
in gangs and the other dealt with art in the Mexican youth                 the planning process, and most of all—and this is the big one for
community. We discovered that they couldn’t work in the same               art schools—you have to include the aesthetic and cultural values
place together. One group couldn’t go to the other person’s                of the community in the project goals. We used to have this joke
building, because if they were seen going into that building, they         that in America, if your ethnic identity was based on the museums,
would be identified with it, and they were trying to work with kids         you would only know who you were every two years, because
who were not in gangs. So, in those stories that come before us,           they would have festivals every two years. There were years in
the past predicts the future, and seeing something moving across           the multicultural period where Latino art would get rediscovered
time we must understand the lives of the youth we serve.                   about every decade or so, now it’s down to about every five years,
                                                                           because I think they’re running out of other people.
As we have moved through this, many of us have learned that
what we’re doing is a kind of art-plus. I don’t know if you                But nonetheless, this idea that you can do this work and not
remember the English-only legislations that would come up                  change your aesthetic framework is impossible. Sooner or later
every so often, where they tried to make California an English-            you have to start asking questions about art historical canons
speaking place. Even though the city and road signs are all in             that you ascribe to, you have to start asking questions about
Spanish, in case you haven’t noticed. When they wanted to go               what you define as expertise. You have to start asking questions
against that kind of very narrow, English-only, we had to devise           about what it takes to do this work, and how much you need
ways that would get people excited about it, so we called it               to know to do this work. Inevitably, the issues of diversity and

        Witnessing community knowledge is another principle. In Spanish,
         it’s called testimonios, which are witnessing. Witnessing means that
         you stand up and you see what something is, and you acknowledge
         in some way that you see that. And witnessing is a form of respect.

English-plus, meaning that you’d get to have more than one
                                                                           equity are addressed when you set upon this work. Equity, for
language. Well, we’re in the business of art-plus. We’ve got
                                                                           many of us, we discovered, was also financial. If we’re going in
art, but we’re going to add something else so we can keep
                                                                           to do a project, and we take three-quarters of the money, and
expanding, and that art-plus in many ways is being able to
                                                                           they only get a little stipend, sooner or later they figure out this
give them skill sets about working in community, working with
                                                                           is not an equitable relationship. Power comes in many forms, not
service and working for justice.
                                                                           just respect and recognition, but real financial commitment and
We discovered that practicing social analysis and community                other kinds of resources. I have so much more to say, but I have
research was absolute bedrock, we couldn’t do the work if they             a feeling that maybe we need to get ourselves moving along.
didn’t know how to do that. They had to develop cross-cultural             So, I just want to talk very briefly at the end about what we
skills. How do you run a meeting? Do you know that in certain              developed as guiding principles.
communities, when you go in, there’s something called saludos              In doing the casebook, one of the things that you learn in case-
or greeting? Which means you have to, like, say hello in a certain         based teaching is that you begin on the ground and then you
way; you can’t just say, “Hey, hi,” and walk in the door. So, you          go up the ladder. You start out on something that you know
learn these things. Working with the youth in the family to design         very well as a community project, but then when you go up
the projects, our biggest failures have been when we did not               the ladder and you look down into that project, you see what
spend time on the front end working with the community to                  are the guiding principles are, what you learned? When I teach
find out what they wanted.                                                  with my students, we go up the ladder very regularly because I
When we plopped something in there because we thought they                 don’t want them just accumulating knowledge and information.
really needed it because we really liked it, and we thought maybe          I want them to look down and see what that means, taking out
they said they liked it, didn’t work. The period of planning and           and distilling those principles, that they can apply anywhere else
discussion before projects are set, enhancing communication in             when they face similar material. So, in some sense, we really had

                                          8      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
to develop guiding principles out of the work that we were doing               Another guiding principle is acting reciprocally. That sort of
in CAPI. These are only a few. Others have done the same work                  seems like going without saying, but reciprocity is the core of it.
in developing principles for example I am sure that those who                  You’ve got to ask yourself: am I being reciprocal in those projects,
worked in Critical Perspectives in Animating Democracy found                   in that way of working?
theirs. I think every group that’s done a project has had to find a             Witnessing community knowledge is another principle. In
way to distill what they learned from their project.                           Spanish, it’s called testimonios, which are witnessing. Witnessing
Our guiding principles began with thinking and working across
generations. When you work in community, even though you
may be working with youth, you’re also working with their

                                                                               means that you stand up and you see what something is, and you
                                                                               acknowledge in some way that you see that. And witnessing is a
                                                                               form of respect.

                                                                               Another principle is developing alliances. Not everybody
                                                                               comes at it at the same point, but you can make targeted
                                                                               alliances for one part of a project, targeted alliance for one
                                                                               part of a curriculum. You don’t have to all go off singing
                                                                               together happily ever after. You have these moments in
                                                                               which you can build alliances.

                                                                               Adapting to change is also critical as a guiding principle, because
                                                                               the project will change nothing you do can stop it.
                                                                               And this last one is for all those art schools that are on the way
                                                                               to doing this: You have to challenge your own institution. You
families, and their large extended families. I used this story to
                                                                               have to challenge the premises, the ways of working, and the
underscore cultural family differences. In Monterey we have a really
                                                                               unspoken and assumed privileges. You have to ask questions about
lovely shopping center called The Del Monte Shopping Center, and
                                                                               why these programs are always add-ons. Why are they always for
then in Salinas there’s the Northridge Shopping Center. When
                                                                               work-study? Why are they always taught by adjuncts? Why do
you go to Del Monte Shopping Center, the most you ever see is                  they never change the core curriculum? Why, when the funding
two or three people shopping together, most of the time it’s a                 ends, does the program have to end? Because there has to be
single person or a pair. When you go to Northridge and people go               an institutional commitment, and challenging your institutions
shopping, it’s like the paseo in Mexico. Perhaps thirteen people,              is critical to doing this work. As long as the money’s there, you
maybe, including parents and children and godparents and aunts                 can keep doing it, and you’re working hard, but if you can get
and uncles. It is customary to see large groups of people shopping             the institution, even in the smallest level, to make that change
together. This life is an intergenerational, communal, extended life.          with you. If this happens then you have hope that even when the
If you go to work there, you’ve got to be prepared for that, because           funding ends, you’ll be able to keep doing that work. We know
it won’t look the way it looks, well, at the Del Monte Center.                 that fundamentally the resources and knowledge and values that

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   9
come from those communities will transform the core of your                   CCA. I believe that to hold a vision and to move forward, you
institution in some way.                                                      periodically have to renew the spirit, the spirit that animates you
                                                                              as creative people, as artists.
In the end, the question is, well, why should we do this work?
That maybe is one of the questions that we ask ourselves. Why                 I hope that when we pass out today you will take the paper flower
should we do it? I say just turn on your television. We have our              I’m going to give you. It’s very ingenious. It has a little miracle, the
consortium partners here from Xavier University. Ron Bechet and               cempazutle or marigold, which in the Meso-American world is the
some of his students are here. Just remember Katrina.                         flower of the dead. Other elements in the altar include water, to
                                                                              quench the thirst, candles to light the way and their favorite foods
Think about Iraq. Look at the immigration issues. Look at racial
                                                                              so they know you have not forgotten them. The ofrenda outside
profiling. Those all seem like political issues, they all have to do
                                                                              the hall is for Luis Jimenez, the American sculptor. For those of you
with the ways of life of the people we serve. If you want to teach,
                                                                              who don’t know, he died this year, a very, very important sculptor.
you have to teach with and through those current moments,
                                                                              I simply wanted to have him as the icon of who we are as artists,
those extremities, that chaos. When we talk about communities
                                                                              and who we are as cultural people, because we all live through
that we call local, they’re often global.
                                                                              that same process of transformation from life to death.
We have students who just came out of Darfur. This world
                                                                              I’m hoping that when you go outside, if you would like to
is spinning so fast, and the boundaries between those here
                                                                              remember someone, remember an event, even a wish for your
and those there are so permeable that we can’t teach art just
                                                                              own renewal and inspiration— please write it on the paper
as though it was unchanging, because art is about life. And
                                                                              marigold and then peel off and attach it to the wall. As we
ultimately, we have to find a way for art to live in the interstices
                                                                              go out to look at the altar and enjoy the rest of our evening,
of stress and change and chaos, because that’s what it was when
                                                                              I leave you with one of the ancient poet king Nezacoyotl’s most
artists made it even 100 years ago or 1,000 years ago. We choose
                                                                              important sayings. He says, “We come only to sleep, only to
to see it differently, but they made art in a time not too different
                                                                              dream. It is not true, it is not true that we come to live on this
than ours in terms of its chaotic and global meanings.
                                                                              earth. We become as spring weeds, we grow green, and open
I think that the pedagogies and the practices that have been                  the pebbles of our hearts. Our body is a plant in flower, it gives
created in these partnerships have to do with mutuality, respect              flowers and it dies away.”
and equality of relationship. But most of all, we have to be willing
                                                                              And each of us someday will reach that point, but in the
to entertain the lives of others different from ourselves. We have
                                                                              meantime, let us feel the joy of the duality of life and death.
to be willing to deepen the art histories that we know so well.
                                                                              Let us have a moment of camaraderie and esprit de corps
We have to be willing to expand the faculty expertise that come
                                                                              because the days ahead will only animate them further.
through those interview processes that we know so well, and that
retention, tenure and promotion process. We have to be willing to
give our students and ourselves a sense that art can provoke and
inspire and renew.

In the days ahead, that’s what we will do for ourselves, and we
have to start with ourselves in this process of inspiration and
renewal. I really believe you are just as good a teacher as you are a
person. If you’re willing to be uncomfortable sometimes, if you’re
willing to entertain something beyond your realm, then you can
get your students to do it, and you will have that capacity for new
thinking, renewed energy and the spirit of collaboration.

I want to thank you for giving me a chance to talk to you today,
and I want to remind you that today is a very special day. This
is the Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos; this is the day of the
adults. Yesterday was the children’s altars. I have been doing one
for my father, Lawrence Mesa, at the San Jose Museum of Art.
I gave a lot of my heart and memory into these other pieces that
I worked on. But I made a modest ofrenda or offering here at

                                           10       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
                                                                             Claudine K. Brown
                                                                             Director of the Arts and Culture
                                                                             Program, Nathan Cummings
                                                                             Foundation New York, New York

         I am a truly blessed person who has worked throughout my life on
         projects that have captured my imagination, challenged my intellect
         and reaffirmed my values. I have worked with smart people, crazy
         people, brave and defiant people, insecure people who were willing
         to put aside their fears for the benefit of others, shy people who
         chose to assert themselves when they were most needed, and young
         people who didn’t live long enough to grow old and wise, and
         I learned from them all.

Building the Field: Art and Social Justice                                   Everyone of those opportunities provided me with experiences
                                                                             that have shaped my values and allowed me to be consistent
In order to do this work that I have come to love, I first worked
                                                                             in my belief that art is the spirit made manifest. Art heals, and
for no compensation. I worked as a volunteer in a freedom                    art creates pathways that lead to understanding. It inspires us,
school were I taught art and jewelry making. I worked for fresh              transforms us and makes us hungry for more. However, today’s
produce at an independent nationalist school where I taught                  talk is about you and your journey. The title of this talk could
young children about ancient Egypt. I interned at a progressive              easily be: Everything that I Know About Art and Social Justice,
private school and I was a CETA worker at a major museum.                    I Learned From You.

                                             Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   11
Art, Equity and Civic Engagement                                            programs’ successes, both were being phased out as we were
                                                                            conceptualizing our program. This was not because of any failures
Why Art and Social Justice? The Nathan Cummings Foundation is
                                                                            on the part of these programs. It was because most foundation
a family foundation that was the dream of Nathan Cummings, the
                                                                            initiatives have a three-five year life span—which many believe is
founder of Sara Lee Foods. One of his stated reasons for creating
the foundation was to create an opportunity for his children and            inadequate for changing and growing fields. More often than not,
grandchildren to continue to live the values that he cared deeply           we are just refining models and generating broad interest in the
about. Accordingly, the program areas that we support today are             practice, when these programs end.
those that he supported throughout his lifetime. He cared about             We then looked at arts groups that were already doing this work.
health issues, the environment and Jewish education. He was also            Though the field is just becoming more structured, it has been in
an important collector of art and he wanted his foundation to               existence for a very long time. Many of the groups doing this
make a meaningful contribution to the cultural community.                   work have had difficulty getting support from arts funders
From its inception, the Arts and Culture Program supported                  who ask: “Is this art, or is it social work?” It was important for
community-based programs; however in 2001, it was determined                board and staff to understand that an invitation to groups to
that all of the foundation’s work would be implemented                      apply for support under our Art and Social Justice guidelines
through the lens of social and economic justice. We spent a                 was encouraging them to “out” themselves as social justice
year attempting to define what we meant by “social justice” and              practitioners. Many of the groups that we identified had missions
examining how our respective fields would implement programs                 that were very similar to the foundations. Our work is their work
that embodied these beliefs.                                                and their primary intent—in some cases, for twenty years or
                                                                            more—has been to use art to meet the needs of the underserved,
Ultimately, we returned to the basic themes, which have been a              empower communities and give voice to those who are unheeded
part of the Foundation’s mission statement since its inception.             and unheard.
Our definition of Art and Social Justice is:
                                                                            Our Charge Today
The projects of artists and community members that:
                                                                            Today, I’d like to share with you what I have learned. Then I would
 • show concern and give voice to the poor, disadvantaged and               like to hear from you. I would like to hear your thoughts about
   underserved;                                                             how we can build and sustain this community of artists who care
 • exhibit respect for diversity;                                           about transformation and change in society.

 • promote understanding across cultures; and                               The State of the Field
 • empower communities in need.                                             The community of artists creating projects with, for and about
This is by no means a definitive definition. However, it embodies             communities concerning issues of social significance has been
a set of beliefs and values that represent the board and staff’s            with us always. Author Page Dubois provides us with accounts of
understanding of the basis of the foundation’s work.                        citizens demanding a voice in the selection of public art in ancient
                                                                            Greece and illustrative graffiti in ancient Egypt and Rome was
The process for creating new guidelines is about research and               often a call to activism.
development. We first looked at the state of the field. We
researched the history of the field and identified historical and             From the satirical writings of Mark Twain and Nathanial
contemporary issues and challenges. We identified individuals                Hawthorne to the cultural commentary of James Baldwin and
who have developed theories and practices that strengthen and               Augusto Boal, artists have been engaged with issues of social and
perpetuate the work. We looked at public polices that create                economic justice. The works of artists committed to social change
impediments or facilitate the work; and we identified institutions           and economic justice include songs of protest made famous by
in the private, public and corporate sectors that support and               Peter Seager and Bernice Johnson Reagon as well as popular
sustain the work.                                                           artists such as Buffy Saint Marie and Marvin Gaye. Plays like
                                                                            Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America
We looked at other Foundations whose programs addressed some
                                                                            have provided the citizens of this nation with an opportunity to
of our issues of concern. I was most impressed with the Ford
                                                                            openly discuss issues that were once shrouded in silence.
Foundation’s Animating Democracy initiative and the Rockefeller
Foundation’s project, Partnerships in Art and Community                     All over America—and indeed the world—fledgling, emerging and
Transformation. Though we learned important lessons from these              well-established artists grapple with issues of social and economic

                                         12       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
justice. More often than not—they have no contact with                        They have engaged in innovative community practices, and
like-minded individuals outside of their age cohort, or their                 their staffs create, teach, perform and share their expertise. Our
geographic community. It has been the intention of the Arts                   grantees are recognized as leadership organizations in this field.
and Culture program to support and document the best practices
                                                                              We have had failures and successes. In 2001, we were committed
of artists who work with their communities to structure change
                                                                              to working with social justice organizations that were working
and foster cross-cultural and cross-generational discourse. The
                                                                              with artists. However our early efforts were not successful. We
Nathan Cummings Foundation seeks to support this work and
                                                                              found that many groups didn’t know how to identify artists who
broadly disseminate their processes and acquired knowledge of
                                                                              could meet their needs. The work was often not strong and in
these artists and arts organizations.
                                                                              some cases the process was not satisfying. We learned from these
Though artists have worked in this area unceasingly and                       failures and later identified partnerships that were successful.
consistently, the very construct of the arts community has made
                                                                              We currently support social justice organizations that specifically
it difficult for artists to find and establish relationships with
                                                                              serve workers in service industries. These groups have created
like-minded peers. Artists tend to be organized around discipline
                                                                              literacy programs where workers’ stories are being turned into
and they are usually convened by service organizations that
                                                                              plays, films and books. An example of this work is The Bread
understand the needs and issues of their specific discipline.
                                                                              and Roses Cultural Project, unseenamerica, an award winning
Visual artists often don’t know performing artists, and they are
                                                                              photography and writing program. Bread and Roses has hosted
not acquainted with media artists in their own communities.
                                                                              more than 250 workshops and exhibitions, and they have directly
There was a time in the not-so- distant past when it would
                                                                              served more than 7,500 individuals, including hotel and hospital
have been a rare occurrence for these artists to have brokered
                                                                              workers throughout the country. The Association of Joint Labor
relationships with educators and organizers from other disciplines.
                                                                              Management is in the process of institutionalizing a writers
Additionally, scale is a problem. Musicians who work for
                                                                              program for steel workers, painters, health care workers and
symphonies don’t come into contact with their peers who
                                                                              corrections officers. In October, they premiered a performance at
perform in small ethnic bands; and the leaders of large museums
                                                                              Harlem Stage based on a series of short stories by steel workers
may not know the directors of small cultural centers. Yet they
                                                                              called, The Heat: Steelworkers Lives & Legends.
may share the same values. An important component of our
work is cross-fertilization and considering economies of scale.               Training at Universities – The Universities that the Arts and Culture
                                                                              program has supported have collectively brokered effective
How We Have Implemented                                                       partnerships that have included approximately 1,500 students,
our Guidelines                                                                75 partnering institutions and 2,500 community members.
In an effort to build the field of community based art, document
                                                                              The Arts and Culture Program chose to support universities
the practice, and identify influential practitioners engaged in art
                                                                              developing degree-granting programs because universities have
and social justice, we have culled from our guidelines a three-
                                                                              the resources to broker meaningful relationships between students,
pronged strategic approach to this work.
                                                                              faculties and communities. Universities can also stimulate a
 • We support the exemplary work of artists and their partners;               much-needed pedagogical approach to this work. Additionally,
 • We support the development of research, resources and                      their willingness to cooperate and share resources strengthens all
   educational materials that inform others about the work; and               of the communities that are being served. We believe that building
                                                                              the field of community-based arts has to be an intergenerational
 • We support policy initiatives that sustain, protect and assure             engagement. These programs have demonstrated that college
   that there is access to the work.                                          students have the ability to inspire their peers, teens and younger
The Art                                                                       children, and that working with those whose experiences are
                                                                              different from our own can engender empathy, compassion and
Creating Art with Communities – The Arts and Culture Program
                                                                              a steadfast commitment to social change.
has supported more than a dozen organizations that have evolved
practices for communicating the conditions of underserved                     When we first heard about the cohort of universities involved
Americans in plays, books and film. Collectively they have worked              in the Community Arts Program, the Wallace Foundation was
with more than 1,500 partnering organizations in more than                    funding them. Though many foundations seek to create brand new,
thirty states. Media and performing artists have made some of                 signature programs, we believed that the Wallace Foundation’s
the greatest contributions to the art and social justice movement.            investment could be built upon. In fact their exit created an

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   13
opportunity for us to see the project through to its next phase, and           Community Arts Network website is a lifeline for individuals who
we are hoping that when we exit, we will have identified a group of             are committed to a community arts practice.
funders who will help sustain this work over time.
                                                                               We also acknowledge that sharing information has bilingual and
Training at Arts and Media Centers – The Arts and Culture Program              bicultural implications. Radio Bilingue’s digital archive of interviews
acknowledges that many of the individuals who want to engage                   with activists and artists is one of the most comprehensive
in the work of creating art with communities to affect a positive              collections of scholarly materials documenting the arts and social
social outcome will not choose to attend an institution of higher              justice in the Mexican American community. It is a highly valued
education. Artists and community members of all ages have                      resource for students, scholars and listeners. Cultural history projects
acquired skills in artistic technique and practice, community                  that involve the documentation of Asian American Social Justice
organizing, leadership development, and conflict resolution at                  Leaders and the Native American Arts’ database of artists, speak
workshops being offered by artists.                                            to a compelling need in marginalized communities to capture
                                                                               information and use it to advance the work of artists and activists.
The digital age has placed a burden on the poor who need access
to technology and new skills if they are to obtain information                 Art and Social Justice /
and tell their stories effectively. Art and community organizations            A National Movement
have worked with media organizations to provide communities                    Though we are a national foundation, we rarely receive proposals
with skills in digital storytelling, videography and filmmaking,                from the deep South, rural communities, the Heartlands or the
website design, marketing and distributing media as well as the                Southwest. Service organizations enable us to reach artists in
development of interactive games. In many of these organizations               communities that are small and have few resources. They also
the trainees have become the trainers. These organizations have                convene the field, convey our messages and showcase the works
also made a commitment to intergenerational work. Seniors                      of our grantees and other exemplary artists whose works are
appreciate forming relationships with, and learning from, young                concerned with issues of social and economic justice. Though we
people. They want to know that the world that they leave to you                are impressed with the power and reach of new technology, we
will be a better world because you are in it. Young people have                believe that one-on-one encounters and in-person engagements
taught seniors to connect with family and friends across the globe.            are going to be essential in building this movement.
Seniors have learned skills that have allowed them to tell their
                                                                               And so I return to the question of how we grow the Art and
stories, preserve their memories, document their art and share                 Social Justice movement—and to what end? After someone
their wisdom. I don’t know if there is a My Space for seniors, but             comes to a program that you have designed and he or she has
there should be one.                                                           had a great experience, then what? Are we doing this work to
Media groups also have the ability to disseminate information of               create a memorable first encounter or are we doing it for long-
significance to constituents throughout the globe and generate                  term impact? What should happen as a result of these encounters?
acts of engagement. Collectively, our arts and media grantees have             What do we want to do to make sure that these events make
worked with more than 1,000 partner organizations. They have                   our communities feel uplifted and fulfilled? In what ways do
trained and taught lessons about art and social justice to more                we, the makers, creators and teachers believe that we are making
than 1,000,000 individuals in libraries, museums, small cultural               a difference in society? And how can we share our skills with
institutions and social service agencies; and more than ten million            others who value this work? How do we grow this field and make
                                                                               sure hat the experiences that we value are not just our own, but
individuals have viewed their films, plays and performances.
                                                                               experiences that others can share throughout our society?
Communications                                                                 I believe that you have the answers.
Our grantees document the field and publish websites, handbooks
and casebooks that are being used in universities, high schools and
cultural centers across the country.

In many communities, we are facilitating opportunities for
collaboration where mechanisms have not existed in the past; and
in doing so we have created synergy and cohesion. Our grantees
collect and facilitate access to information and scholarship that
is then shared with the field. The Art and the Public Interest/

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   15
                                                 Marcel Diallo
                                                  Chief Creative Officer, Black Dot Artists, Inc.,
                                                  Oakland, California

Good morning. This is icebreaker time of the day for me. I’m usually
taking my son to school right now, in a mad situation. Anyway,
like she [Sonia Manjon] said, I’m previously from the front lines,
basically over in the East Bay in West Oakland in creating a black
cultural district. West Oakland, for those of you who don’t know,
was one of the oldest black neighborhoods on the west coast. And
because of that, in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it suffered terribly at the
hands of urban blight, redlining, the taking away of resources, no
tax base, as all the white folks moved out to the suburbs, you know,
our suburbs are Pleasanton, Antioch, places like Walnut Creek—they
took the money and the tax base with them and the businesses.

                  16   Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
So, West Oakland pretty much suffered to the point where when                   in the next line of yuppies and the next line of developers that are
we started this struggle in West Oakland over a decade ago, you                 going to come take your neighborhood.
could buy property out there for like $3,000 for vacant land,
                                                                                What we deal with is art for the sake of protecting our
$15,000 for a house. You could literally buy it for a song. You
                                                                                neighborhood, art for the sake of calling on the spirits of our
know how they had that saying “I bought this for a song”?
                                                                                ancestors. Like, say my brothers and sisters in New Orleans, we
So, what I actually did at the time I was singing—I was rapping.                had a thing, we did the Second Line Jazz Mardi Gras parades and
I had my band, you know, and I would make $500-600 here and                     things of that nature, where the spirits are constantly walking
there, $1,000 here and there coming to conferences like this,                   the street, warning the neighborhood, letting the people of the
doing I’m about to do, rapping. So, I took my little $3,000 and                 neighborhood know from every generation what happened in
bought my first piece of land in West Oakland, at a time when the                previous generations.
gentrification hadn’t really started yet, from an old, old black
couple—a, black woman, she was a widow, her husband had died
and left the land, and she didn’t want it anymore.

So, I actually bought the cornerstone of what became this
cultural district vision, which is the Village Bottoms Cultural
District. I bought it for a song. And that’s kind of the essence,

                                                                                I mean, we are far away from our southern roots here in the wild,
                                                                                wild west, but we attempt to embody that in the things we do
                                                                                here in this outpost, you know, in the richest region in the richest
                                                                                nation in the richest state in the world, this Bay Area we got,
                                                                                where San Francisco, you can, you have to have $1.5 million to
                                                                                get a condo, to get a space up in the sky.
to me, of what community cultural development, community                        You know, this is a very expensive place that we’re in, attempting
arts; community-based struggle through arts is really about.                    to be a community, you know, a community that, quote-unquote
It’s like, if this art, if this art ain’t a hammer, if this art ain’t a         is “poor,” quote-unquote is “disadvantaged,” quote-unquote is
                                                                               “at risk.” You know, it’s a hard thing being that in the Bay Area. It
Bobcat that I could dig the ground with, if this art ain’t a pen that
                                                                                may be a little easier to be poor where you’re surrounded by other
I can write my name on the deed for to transfer land into the
                                                                                poor people, but to be poor here, where you’re with the masters of
hands of my folks—I mean art’s for the art’s sake on the wall is not
                                                                                society, the plantation owners of society, it’s a serious struggle.
doing too much for me in the community that I’m working with,
the community that I’m representing.                                            So, when we speak about creating a black cultural district—and
                                                                                when I say a black cultural district these are the descendents of
 So, the word “art” in itself, “arts” in itself, and even the words
                                                                                working-class black folks. Working-class black folks that came
“community arts” in itself don’t mean too much to me unless it
                                                                                here in the ‘30s and the ‘40s and ’50s to come work on the
 gets more specific into it’s serious, you know, minutiae of what we
                                                                                shipyards out here. You understand what I’m saying?
 are as a people. Because a lot of folks in this Bay Area, where I do
 most of my primary work, they come in the guise of artists, but                The working-class people that came out looking for jobs, ended
 their art that they may be speaking about is art for the gentry’s              up, a lot of them living in north Richmond in tents in the mudflats
 sake, art for the sake of gentrification, art for the sake of ushering          of north Richmond, a lot of my great aunties and great uncles,

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   17
and, you know, we’re the descendents of those folks, and we’re                   same, from non-profit organizations, getting money from the
here still trying to get it together 70 years later, of a promise                same foundations.
that was pretty much broken by all of the private sector and the
                                                                                 That’s the hustle that’s going on here. So, the real people that’s
government of this place, that lured us here in the first place.
                                                                                 doing the real work, like myself, from like little—they used to call
So we’re sitting here, still trying to work it out. The way I chose to           us fledgling, emerging arts groups—that was us, we’re always
do it is through this community cultural situation. The beautiful                fledgling and emerging, even though we’ve been here for ten
thing is that I actually have things to look back on in my past                  years now, we’re still fledgling and emerging, you understand
that were kind of positive examples of real community-based art                  what I’m saying?
centers, like I see Jordan [Simmons] in the audience from the East
                                                                                 It has something to do with what culture we’re from or how we’re
Bay Center for the Performing Arts.
                                                                                 carrying ourselves, or what generation. I mean, what makes us
My uncle went there, learned how to act through O.G. Blackston.                  fledgling and emerging? I’ve emerged. I’m here since the beginning
I was there because there was a guy named Reggie, you know,                      of time, you know? Before a lot of these new coming ‘gentrifiers’
Reggie in the Wheelchair, that’s what we used to call him, you know,             who just come out and get the grants outright, who come out and
but Reggie was from our neighborhood. So, Reggie was a teacher                   get the city support outright, you understand what I’m saying?
there, and so he pulled a lot of us community kids into that.
                                                                                 So, there is a dynamic of racism still embedded in the way this
So, that was a situation where it was actually a community arts                  hustle is going down, ‘cause that’s what it is. It’s an academic
center being engaged with the community. On the other hand,                      hustle; it’s a foundation hustle. Come on. Let’s be honest. So,
you’ve got the Richmond Art Center that I didn’t hear about                      what it did with us as the Black Dot Artists Collective, that
until I was a grown person going to JFK University in Orinda.                    was the collective I founded ten years ago, what we ended
I never knew there was a Richmond Art Center. You understand                     up doing, since we could hardly get the respect from that
what I’m saying?                                                                 non-profit sector, is it forced me to be a serious, like cutthroat
                                                                                 capitalist on a lot of levels.
So, you had these two polar things that’s going on. You have
arts that usually for a community artists in more of a abstract,                 I had to go out, speculate on land, buy land; I ended up buying
I don’t even know if it’s abstract, really, it’s like they have their            a whole block. You know, I had to go out there and get in the
own audiences, their own target audiences, and maybe that                        hustles, buy a whole block, become a bird-dog, go down to the
audience wasn’t me, but I didn’t hear about it until I became                    county, look through the records, find out which people was
grown and started coming to conferences like this.                               about to lose their property, help them out, kept the property,
                                                                                 leverage that property against some other things, and start
But it was in the neighborhood that I grew up in, right across the
                                                                                 getting in a lot of money to the point where I became a financial
street. So, there’s that dichotomy, juxtaposition thing right there.
                                                                                 person myself, and started giving money, micro-loans to my
The purpose of a real community art center I think relies on it
                                                                                 own friends who are artists to do their own art production, buy
being driven by the people. It’s got to be driven by the people, it
                                                                                 houses and convert those houses into galleries, you understand
can’t be driven by the academics, it can’t be driven by the 501c3
                                                                                 what I’m saying?
middle managers of foundation money, you understand?
                                                                                 And at the end of the day, and the end result, it was a lot better
It can’t be driven by the trustees of the foundations or the people
                                                                                 because then you’re walking around as a full human being with
that give the foundation money. So, it has to be grown from the
people, or to me it’s kind of fake, it’s kind of paper mache, you                integrity, with, like being able to just walk into a room and
know what I mean? It’s kind of combustible in the true sense of                  not have to beg from somebody because you have the same
the word, because where we are, there’s a lot of these institutions              resources as them.
kind of fronting like they’re doing community-based arts, like                   So, the bottom line is about resources, equity, wealth building,
they’re there for the folks, and they get pictures of our kids.                  and access to the seats of power. So, we’re talking about this
You know, it may be 30 kids that are in the same programs, and                   community art thing, I mean it’s beautiful, it’s aesthetics, and talk
it’s like 300 programs. There’s 300 programs, 200 non-profit                      about beauty, but at the bottom line it’s resources and how we’re
organizations getting money from 50 foundations, and there’s                     going to split these resources up to further our culture, because if
only 30 kids that they’re serving, you understand what I’m                       you don’t have the resources behind your culture, somebody else’s
saying? So, each one of these non-profit organizations got the                    culture that’s heavily funded is going to pretty much wipe out
same 30 kids on their brochure, trying to get money from the                     your culture.

                                              18       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
That’s what we’re dealing with in West Oakland right now. Every                 your parents, they left some unfinished business. So, the anger and
day there’s seven or eight new folks coming to the neighborhood,                all that stuff that you’re walking back into, you’ve got to really
moving in that don’t look like us, and that would be okay because               deal with it.
we’re not xenophobic people, but what tends to happen is these
                                                                               “It ain’t something that’s just coming out of nowhere.” Like,
new generation of folks who are coming, they’re coming with an
                                                                               “Why are black people so…?” No, your folks left some debris here.
arrogance, they’re coming with a disrespect, they’re coming to run
                                                                                So, now that you want to return with the whole gentrification
shit, not to participate, not to collaborate in any kind of true level,
                                                                                thing, it’s time to pay the piper, it’s time to figure out how to truly
to run shit, basically.
                                                                                collaborate, not from your position of privilege, but on a serious,
I mean, I say that. I’ve heard it said more eloquently, like, “A new            equitable level.
generation of white middle-class is coming to assert itself.”
But assert itself on what? They’re not asserting themselves in                  …at the end of the day, and the end
the neighborhoods of their parents. They’re asserting themselves
in the neighborhoods of my parents.                                              result, it was a lot better because then
So, that’s where the [hits palm with fist] comes in, because we’re
part of this, what, 70-year conversation, I say, of, there was a                 you’re walking around as a full human
white flight, you understand what I’m saying? There was a white
flight from the urban situation, at least here where we are, and                  being with integrity, with, like being
now there’s a white return. We’re the children that was kind of
left by that white flight, abandoned.                                             able to just walk into a room and not
We had to create hip-hop, things out of junk. Hip-hop was
basically a post-modern art that we created out of junk. “Oh,
                                                                                 have to beg from somebody because
records? Oh, [record scratching sound] oh,” you know? No, we
                                                                                 you have the same resources as them.
                                                                                And that might mean giving up something. That might mean
                                                                                dealing with the issue of reparations, either through community
                                                                                arts and that sector, if you don’t want to deal with the whole
                                                                                national issue of reparations because it’s too big; how are we
                                                                                going to pay back all these black people for slavery? Well, you
                                                                                can start in this world of community arts, in community cultural

                                                                                First of all, I mean I guess I got to speak towards here, I see a lot
                                                                                of different kind of faces. So, the first thing is not to come in on
                                                                                some missionary stuff, you understand what I’m saying? Because
                                                                                I can’t stand missionaries. I view that as just neo-colonialism at it’s
                                                                                finest. You’re coming right back in to instill the principles and the
                                                                                mores of the dominant society, whether you see it or not.

didn’t have no art programs or no music programs in the schools?                You may be coming in thinking you’re doing the most beautiful
We just about to do what we do. So, this hip-hop thing came                     thing, helping plant the most beautiful gardens and doing the
together out of like a found art, a found object art on more of a               most beautiful mural projects. But to a lot of us, we already know
vocal and musical landscape, and we did that because we were                    how to do a lot of that stuff, so you need to check in and find out
abandoned by the powers that be, we were abandoned.                             what we’re already doing in our neighborhood, before you come
                                                                                just project yourself in a big way with all your money that you got
And so now, those, the children of those folks are coming
                                                                                behind you on it.
back, just juiced off hip-hop, though, “Oh yeah,” thinking that
everybody’s supposed to be friends. And it’s like, “Man, when you               So, that’s a few things to just think about as we’re talking about
left, there was some stuff going on here. Your grandparents and                 cultural community development, equity, art, and the like.

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   19
                                                                            Marta Moreno Vega, PhD
                                                                             Founder and President of the
                                                                             Caribbean Cultural Center African
                                                                             Diaspora Institute, New York

             The following is a slightly expanded version of the presentation
              I made at the symposium Crafting A Vision for Art, Equity
              and Civic Engagement: Convening the Community Arts Field
              in Higher Education. The focus of the presentation is to
              contextualize what has now developed into a field in higher
              education – Community Arts.

As I attended the varied activities of the symposium it was evident         The Community Cultural Arts Movement is the creative narrative
that the interest and commitment of the participants in this                in challenging inequity and motivating the creation of community
growing field needed to understand the history of the emergence              institutions to address social justice and cultural equity and
of the Community Arts field. There was a disconnect between the              address democratic principles that our nation had yet to
past experiences and that which is emerging as the Community                address. In other words, the Community Cultural Arts Movement
Arts in higher education. The necessity of envisioning the United
                                                                            is grounded in aesthetic and social justice. It is an activist
States in the 60’s and 70’s where the battles for desegregation,
                                                                            movement to make the nation see its racial and cultural diversity
civil rights, the end of racism and discriminatory practices
                                                                            as valuable assets that must be protected. As the Community Arts
towards women, gender preferences, and cultural and economic
                                                                            Field continues to define itself it cannot be devoid of what birthed
disenfranchisement were being challenged at all levels of society
is critical to understanding the power and continuing object of             its creation - it is and should be an extension of the activism
the Community Cultural Arts Movement.                                       assuring cultural and social equity for us all.

                                          20      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
Marta Moreno Vega: Buenos dias. Good Day. At the risk of being                   In retrospect I now realize that my parents were cultural activists
drummed out of the auditorium, I must say I don’t talk about art.                and were an active part of creating and maintaining the aesthetics
And I know you are all “art people.” Art to me is an expression                  of Puerto Rico in an urban New York community using their home,
of culture. We all have culture! In my aesthetic framework a                     as did others, as the canvas of cultural resistance.
discussion on art must first address the cultural historical context
of the art expression being discussed. Since I have the podium
I will proceed to reframe the question posed.

Let me start by asking a question. You can only answer in one
sentence! What is community art? There has been a two-day
discussion on community art? What is it?
Male Voice 1: People recreating the world.
Male Voice 2: Art with shared values.
Marta Moreno Vega: And how do you do that?
Male Voice 2: That was one sentence.
Female Voice 1: Art that is easily accessible.
Male Voice 3: The beauty of everyone’s voice.
Male Voice 4: It’s a verb that imagines plurality.
Female Voice 2: People coming together to make cool stuff.
Female Voice 3: Art of, by and for the community.
Marta Moreno Vega: That’s the second question. Who’s the
                                                                                 Growing up in El Barrio - East Harlem, the vibrant tropical colors
Female Voice 4: The community is us. It changes.
                                                                                 that I saw on my wall, the images that reflected my complexion
Marta Moreno Vega: Is that the same for everyone?                                that looked like my people, daily embraced me. As an art student
Female Voice 5: It’s people you have a soul connection with.                     at the public school - Music and Art High School, today La Guardia
Soul!, Not sole as in one.                                                       High School—and New York University as an arts in education
                                                                                 major, the art history books used, rendered my history and cultural
Marta Moreno Vega: S-O-U-L! What is this community that                          traditions and therefore creative art expressions, invisible, non-
you’re working with? Is it a collaboration or a partnership?                     existent! Puerto Rico was not reflected, the Caribbean was not
Female Voice 5: A group of people who can benefit                                 reflected, the whole history of the African continent received one
from art.                                                                        class session, as did Asia. I dared to ask the question of my art
                                                                                 teachers “Where are the artists of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican
Marta Moreno Vega: And how do you determine that people can
                                                                                 Republic, West and Central Africa, China, India, etc.?” The response
benefit from art?
                                                                                 was generally “Those areas are not part of the class curriculum.”
Female Voice 5: Ideally, they create the art and seek the art                    Somehow my experience was never part of the themes covered
themselves, not that it’s someone else telling them that they                    in art history and education classes.
need it.
                                                                                 I was invisible throughout the “higher education” I received
Marta Moreno Vega: I like that! I grew up in El Barrio, East                     at NYU and the cultural anthropological courses that I took
Harlem, of Black Puerto Rican parents who came to New York                       at Columbia University. I reasoned that cultural anthropology
seeking, racial, social and cultural equity. As you may already                  certainly had to talk about the history and cultures of people of
know, the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 and it is still              color. Therefore I decided to make cultural anthropology my area
a colony of the United States. The attempt by the United States                  of study. I looked forward to learning more about the experiences
to destroy the culture of Puerto Ricans by imposing “American”                   of my people. What did happen when a class focused on the
culture failed and the resistance to this imposition continues.                  Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Asia and other geographic areas

                                                 Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   21
populated by people of color? I became the “target” of questions              I was assigned the “problem class” the one that students were
that reflected an ignorant bias that viewed all cultures of color as           considered to be behavior problems. My lack of success with
one and as the “exotic primitive other.”                                      the students almost convinced me that they had been correctly
                                                                              labeled. After two weeks, I would come home crying because the
Being the only one of color in the room, everyone would turn
                                                                              students didn’t understand what I was talking about. Some flew
to me expecting me to response to the professor’s presentations.
                                                                              paper airplanes in class, ignored what I said and pulled out comic
I was supposed to be an expert on Native American, African,                   books. Most didn’t understand English, the rest were bored by the
Caribbean, Latin American, Asian and all the diversity of cultures            lessons. The principal had given me an art handbook with lesson
that were “shades of brown, amber and terracotta.” After a year               plans that focused on lines, forms and spatial relationships. The
of study it became clear to me that the Eurocentric dominant                  lessons led to abstract designs as a result which had no meaning
aesthetic paradigm was forced onto the creative expressions of                to the students. The resulting designs had no connection to
                                                                              anything with meaning for the students. I knew that I was a total
                                                                              failure as a teacher and wanted to quit.

                                                                              Being the first college graduate in my family the pride of having
                                                                              a teacher in the family was a source of tremendous pride. My
                                                                              mother was in shock when I said that I would quit.

                                                                                   “What is wrong?” she asked.

                                                                                   “I’m the worst teacher in the world. The students don’t
                                                                                    understand me.”

                                                                                   “Why don’t they understand you?” She asked.

                                                                                    I said, “Most of my students speak Spanish. The majority
                                                                                    of my class don’t understand English. Since they don’t
                                                                                    understand, boredom quickly sets in and they pull out
others, disregarding the meanings and criteria their traditions                     comics.”
and art forms represented. I realized that imperialistic colonial                  “What are you teaching them?” She asked.
cultural frameworks are imposed through systems of education by
                                                                                    I showed her the lesson plan book. She said, “You’re
eradicating the existence of the “other” and creating a history that
                                                                                    teaching them about boxes and lines? What’s wrong
praises that of the imposing culture.
                                                                                    with you?”
This was also true when I became a public school junior high
                                                                                   “That’s what I’m supposed to teach. They said to follow
school teacher. When I started teaching, the first instruction I got
                                                                                    this, this is the curriculum.” I responded with much
from the principal spoke to my subordinating my cultural being. In
a confrontational tone I was asked,
                                                                                    Mami said, with a disapproving, special “are you crazy
    “Are you Puerto Rican?”                                                         look?” that sent chills down by spine. “Do you have a
    “Yes, I responded.”                                                             door in your room?”

    “You can speak Spanish?”                                                       “Yes.”

    “Why?” I asked.                                                                “Do you know how to close that door? My mother’s remark
                                                                                    still questioning my sanity. “Close the door and talk to
    “We want the students to learn English. Don’t speak
                                                                                    your students in Spanish. Tell them that when they see the
     Spanish to them! Do you understand?”
                                                                                    principal, you will switch to English. Talk to your students;
 His voice got louder with the last question as if I didn’t understand              make a pact with your students so they can learn. Most
 English. I guessed the principal felt that by raising his voice                    important let them know and feel you are them.”
 somehow I would more clearly comprehend his message.                         My mother had a high school education, my father a third-grade
“Okay.” I whispered.                                                          education; however their intelligence and common sense broke

                                            22      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
the misguided, so called, higher education I had received and                  An immediate example is Amalia Mesa Baines’ altar that is in
re-centered my cultural self and sensibilities. My mother with                 the outside gallery. In an “art context would be viewed as an
her intelligence and wit insisted that I understand and respect                installation. It is an altar that is similar to the altar that lives in
my cultural foundation and incorporate it into my teaching                     our homes. Altars are a vital force when activated to talk about
practice. She understood that it is essential to share with others             the past, the present and the future of that family, the friends
the fundamental elements that make you see the world through                   and the community. In the private context, that altar represents
particular lenses.                                                             spirit, represents art of meaning, in a public context it is often
                                                                               viewed as “art.” An art terminology is applied it is considered an
Instinctively I knew my mother was right and the next day
                                                                               art installation.
followed her advice.
                                                                               I came to this understanding when I had the good fortune of
    “Who wants to learn?” I asked the students in Spanish.
                                                                               being hired by parents to run a State Arts Program part of the
    “Students who don’t want to learn to the right of the                      public school system entitled El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem.
     classroom. Those that do want to learn to the left of                     I was honored because the parents had asked me to develop
     the room.”                                                                an institution that made their history and culture visible to
                                                                               their children. They fully understood the power of culture and
    The students sat wide-eyed as my words swept over
                                                                               creative expressions as an empowering vehicle to maintain
    them, healing the weeks of havoc that incomprehension
                                                                               the arts of the community as the cultural foundation for their
    had created.                                                               young. They wanted a neighborhood? arts institution that directly
    “She speaks Spanish just like us” one student remarked.                    connected to the history and the traditions of their community.
                                                                               The empowering vision of the parents was directly connected to
    “I told you she was Puerto Rican” another remarked.
                                                                               the advent of the Civil Rights, Black Power, Feminist, Gay, Latino,
     When the initial excitement came to an end, the                           movements the swept the United States in the 60’s and 70’s that
     students sat eagerly awaiting. All of them wanted                         spoke to the empowerment of communities that had historically
     to learn!                                                                 been rendered invisible and marginal within the nation.

    “I’ll speak in Spanish, but when you see somebody at the                   The rights of communities became a priority issue as we sought
     door, give me a high sign, and we’ll switch to English.”                  to receive equitable resources to strengthen our communities by
                                                                               demanding improved educational systems, housing and health
They loved it! What did we talk about? We talked about art as lived            resources, job opportunities etc. The community arts movement
experience. We talked about art that they lived with every day. We             is a direct result of the struggle for equal rights in all sectors of
talked about their homes and their Mamas and their Grandmothers,               our lives. Our parents and general community understood that
their Fathers, Uncles and Grandfather’s creative work. How the                 the children needed to be part of the time clock of history, had to
bondillo bobbin weaving techniques of their aunts created the                  understand their place in the globe so that they could look at the
beautiful doilies that covered their sofas. The woodcarving of their           world through their experience not anyone else’s location.
fathers gave us the santos de palos that were honored in our homes.
                                                                               For those of us in the cultural movement it was important to
The joy in the eyes of my students soon translated to a classroom              build community arts institutions that reflect our people, our
buzzing with creativity that spoke to the creative aesthetic forces            communities that for too long had been ignored. This is how the
that make the art of the Caribbean what it is. The cultures of the             community arts concept and term evolved. In the ‘90s the concept
Caribbean, the cultures of Africa, the cultures of Central and Latin           is more clearly articulated in the essays that formed the publication
America and Asia, Native American cultures, and any group that is              Voices From the Battlefront: Achieving Cultural Equity, which is a
grounded in their own cultural traditions, regardless of where you             book that the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Instituted
come from, understand that there are creative expressions, cultural            published in collaboration with Africa World Press.
expressions that you call art in academia, but are lived aesthetics
                                                                               I was so naïve that I never asked to see this museum. And when
expressions and art history of a people that are contributors to
                                                                               I was given the job and showed up to work, a closet was opened
world cultures. The stories of a people are their history, the record          and there were three boxes, and they said, “This is the museum,
that they have a past that contributes to their present lives. What is         go ahead.” The wonderful part is that the museum was created
called art by most is simply that—creative cultural spirit actualized,         by the parents as a result of the Civil Rights, Black Power, Latino,
vibrating from the past to the present.                                        Native America, Chicano, Women’s Movement, and Gay Movement,

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   23
all of the movements that were spurred by the Civil Rights                   in a cultural diversity conference where the three visitors from
Movement. The movement gave voice to the invisible. They gave a              the United States were of color, and represented the diversity. The
space for people to articulate what they were not able to publicly           second day of the conference artists of color from London raised
articulate, and the media didn’t pick it up. But the opportunity for         the money to attend. And a young man by the name of David
parents to get resources from the State Education Department to              Ryan, who contributed an essay to Voices from the Battlefront,
develop a project called the Museo – the museum was a dream                  was the only Afro-Briton in the room. We later learned that about
come true.                                                                   ten people had gotten together to pay his admission ticket, which
                                                                             was about $350, an amount that most people could not afford.
The problem envisioning what it should be was difficult; they had
not a clue, because they lived art. When we started talking about            The conference was dedicated to talking about “the Other”
the museum with the parents, they said, “Well, we know nothing               without the Other being present, to discuss cultural diversity
about art, we know nothing about art, but my grandmother did                 without the input of anyone from the varied immigrant
bondillo. My father carved santos de palos, etc. I said, “But that           communities that reflected the changing demographics. Amalia
can go into the museum,” they said, “Oh no, that can’t go into               and I would look at each other from across the room, and then
a real museum.” “Yes, it can go into the museum because they                 AB Spellman, then with Expansion Arts [National Endowment
already are in a museum – your home                                                                of the Arts] – another term that defined
museum.” When we went to the Museum                                                                us – said, “Well, this is just impossible.” We
of Natural History to borrow Taino objects                                                         were viewed as outsiders from the United
we were shocked to find them stockpiled                                                             States being rowdy, and belligerent and
mislabeled in the basement because the                                                             not understanding what cultural diversity
curators knew little about the collection.                                                         meant in England. We were clear what
                                                                                                   the issues were since we were living the
We were dismayed when we learned that
                                                                                                   reality of exclusion in the United States, the
we could not borrow the objects that they
                                                                                                   exclusion of our experience, the exclusion
had piled on top of each other, because
                                                                                                   of the creative expressions that made us
we were not a legal museum. The whole
                                                                                                   part of the global cultural world.
process of getting the cultural arts of
our communities recognized by other                                                                   As activists we understood that our struggle
institutions, the National Endowment of                                                               was not only about culture, or art, but one
the Arts, the National Endowment for the                                                              of racial and social justice, of civil rights
Humanities, was almost impossible. At that                                                            and human rights, of cultural rights. We
time, the New York State Council of the                                                               used the UNESCO model and declaration to
Arts had a division we was designed for                                                               form a position paper that was presented
institutions like ours called Ghetto Arts. This                                                       and sent to then-President Clinton, because
is why I started with the question, “What is                                                          in these United States we realized in not
community arts?” When we started it was                                                               having a cultural ministry by default the
termed “Ghetto Arts.”                                                        National Endowment became the articulators of what was/is Art.
Ghetto Arts identified us until we protested and had the name                 The United States does not have a cultural policy. This absence of
changed. So, thanks to the movement, thanks to a consciousness               a cultural policy that defines what is the United States and the
across the country that received significant media coverage we were           multiplicity of cultures and racial groups that make up the United
able to open the door of resources slightly to have funding directed         States, allows the space for Eurocentric dominance to continue
to art expressions that spoke to our cultural communities. Art that          dominating, although the country’s demographics speaks to
defined a history showcased the present and looked to the future.             diversity. The lack of a cultural policy allows that immigrants be
It was the activism of many that opened possibilities and created            viewed as the Other and undesirable, ignoring the fact that the
community relevant cultural institutions across the country.                 country is an immigrant nation since its inception. We understood
It was in England that I met Amalia [Mesa Bains]. I was                      that the First Nation communities are the original American, the
consistently told that there’s was a sister on the other West Coast          ordinary experience so that then you can pass it on to others
that was similar to me in her perspectives. When I met Amalia                in the framework that it should be passed on. Color is not color.
she said that people spoke to her about me. We met in England                Dance is not only dance, music is not only music. For some groups,

                                             24    Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
it is more than music. Because if you’re looking at the Caribbean,             that scholarship and expertise was present beyond academic
Latin America, Africa, it is a way of calling spirit.                          walls that the keepers of our traditions were community scholars
                                                                               and community artists that were immersed in the living of their
And when you talk about Tito Puente, when you talk about Dizzy
                                                                               art forms. The interaction, exchange of community experts with
Gillespie, if you don’t understand that he had Aruba rhythms in jazz
                                                                               academic experts provided the programming that our institutions
and influenced jazz with “ding-ding-dayo Manteca”, right? There
                                                                               organized. The exchanges gave birth to new thinking, new ways of
was a marriage between the Aruba traditions, African-American
                                                                               understanding and presenting. It is critical to have as many voices
traditions that come together, right? In an Afro-Cuban context.
                                                                               in the room as possible contributing to the articulation of what
That if you understand the music of Tito Puente and Pedro                      best reflects the expressions of a particular community. This is the
Coval, you see that multiplicity of influences that are African                 foundation of the community arts movement.
native, European, right? Cultural expression, popular expressions,
                                                                               These collaborations and these connections are the electricity that
but they’re all grounded in the spiritual context, coming from
                                                                               ignites creativity. In my opinion it is not possible for an academic
indigenous, traditional cultures. So that if you’re going to
                                                                               experience devoid of direct community involvement over time to
understand going into the public schools with the diversity
                                                                               provide this vision and approach. It is an issue of how you learn
that’s there, and talk about a creative expression that hits home,
                                                                               and the context in which you learn. And you cannot pass on that
that relates to the young people’s experience, then you have to
                                                                               information and that reality; it must be experienced.
understand that experience. And that experience is not only one
based on economic differences, because we also have to talk about              I would propose that in establishing programs that have to do
the economic differences that exist in this country, and what                  with the communities that comprise this nation, as we go out into
dominates, right? But it is grounded in the experience that these              public education and cultural centers and other places, that we are
young people have had, and are having. And how those experience                very clear, that we go as learners, that we don’t go as the experts.
of the past connect to them now, living in the United States. And              Because culture is constantly shifting, realities are constantly
what is that art of meaning, and what is that culture of meaning               shifting. For different groups, different realities exist. The challenge
that they bring with them, and their parents bring with them, and              is to be present, is to be in the moment of understanding that
their grandparents bring with them? It’s one that speaks, and the              shift. Because rather than developing artifact, you want to
issue here is do you speak, listen and understand the language                 develop fluidity; what one group labels as art doesn’t necessary
that is being spoken by our young people? And I don’t mean                     define art for another group. If we’re going to positively influence
Spanish to English. I mean that experience and that history and                lives, then we have to change ourselves, because my mama told
that dislocation that they have had, being torn out of their native            me you can’t give what you don’t have.
traditions into another tradition, and how that translates. And it
                                                                               If you have something to offer, you have to assume that others
seems to me that my training, at least, at NYU and at Columbia
                                                                               have something to offer. So, it’s an exchange, it’s always an
didn’t prepare me to do that.
                                                                               exchange of experiences and information. It’s never a top-down or,
So it’s not an issue of color; I want to be very clear. It’s not              “I’ve gotten the degree and she or he doesn’t.” These approaches
an issue of color. It is an issue of how we define and “see                     reflect what many of us understood as community grounding
and understand creative expressions.” I was always confused                    and community arts. In fact I would propose that we need to
throughout my educational art experience that divided what                     expand the notion of community arts – because we have always
should be naturally connected. We departmentalize experiences                  understood that the cultural element is central to the work. The
that are holistic. And if we understand that the division is a false           term should be Community Cultural Arts.
one that someone created, I don’t know why, maybe to have a
                                                                               It is important that as a result of this conference we take the
proliferation of job opportunities that separate an art teacher,
                                                                               opportunity to examine the development of this movement,
from a cultural worker, and artists and humanist. In my world they
are all connected, interrelated and are one.                                   where it is today and where we are going. It is important that
                                                                               the academic institutionalization of community arts does not
When cultural arts institutions in the community arts movement                 decontextualize the essence and purpose of its creation. We must
came together we saw ourselves reflected in each other. The range               understand that the interest in community arts must carry with it
of racial and cultural experiences united us rather than divided
                                                                               an understanding of racial, social justice and cultural equity. We
us because we all understood that our role was to be facilitators
                                                                               are involved in work that transforms this nation making it live up
for the creative manifestations present in our communities. That
                                                                               to its promise to us all.
our institutions were the vehicles that helped make visible what
too often was unseen by broader communities. We understood                     Thank you for listening.

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   25
“The Community Cultural Arts Movement is
the creative narrative in challenging inequity
and motivating the creation of community
institutions to address social justice and cultural
equity and address democratic principles that
our nation had yet to address. In other words,
the Community Cultural Arts Movement is
grounded in aesthetic and social justice. It is
an activist movement to make the nation see its
racial and cultural diversity as valuable assets
that must be protected.”

                        Marta Moreno Vega

                                   Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   27
                   I, Too, Sing America

        “WritersCorps – a project of the San Francisco Arts Commission –
         has for twelve years worked with youth throughout San Francisco.
         Our model is long-term/in-depth, and allows for building the
         relationships that sustain deep development and growth for our
        youth and our communities.”

WritersCorps at the Symposium – Judith Tannenbaum, Writer,                    T.J.’s well-worded insistence on inclusion includes: detailed
San Francisco Art Commission                                                  description, a tribute to the Langston Hughes’ poem that served
We called our symposium presentation “I, Too, Sing America”                   as its model, and the young poet’s ability to both praise and
in order to highlight the expanded notion of democracy and                    express pain. Developing such vision and skill most often takes
participation that lies at the heart of community arts work in                time and the opportunities time gives to go deep. WritersCorps –
general, and our program in specific. The most accurate way to                 a project of the San Francisco Arts Commission – has for twelve
share WritersCorps’ work is through poems by the young people                 years worked with youth throughout San Francisco (in public
we work with, so our presentation description began with the                  schools, afterschool programs, affordable housing projects,
following poem written by T.J. Williams when he was thirteen                  libraries and juvenile lockup). Our model is long-term/in-depth,
and a student at San Francisco’s Everett Middle School:                       and our symposium presentation focused on this aspect of our
                                                                              vision and practice.
    I, Too, Sing America
                                                                              WritersCorps teachers Mahru Elahi and Gloria Yamato; young
    I, too, sing America
                                                                              poets Andreya Dodson, Eric Foster, and Indiana Pehlivanova;
    I, too, hear gunshots each night                                          project manager Janet Heller, and myself (training coordinator)
    I, too, hear police sirens in my neighborhood                             demonstrated and detailed the specific ways our model allows
                                                                              for building the relationships that sustain deep development
    I, too, see candles, flowers and balloons on my block
                                                                              and growth for our youth and our communities. Joining us were
    where people died
                                                                              conference participants Linda Burnham from Community Arts
    I, too, touch my family members that died on my block                     Network; Don Adams, director of Arts & Humanities Programs
    I, too, smell McDonald’s/Chinese food in Fillmore                         for UC Santa Cruz Extension; Olivia Gude, community artist
                                                                              and educator at University of Illinois; and a wonderful group of
    I, too, wish that they didn’t shoot Ray Bass
                                                                              university students from Minnesota and elsewhere.
    I, too, like living in Fillmoe even though there’s
                                                                              We began, as we at WritersCorps most often do, with poems. This
     violence and drugs
                                                                              reading showed the range of the young poets’ interests and styles.
    I, too, wish that everyone can live and not die                           Mahru and Gloria then talked about their work as WritersCorps
    I, too, am America                                                        teaching artists, and Andreya, Eric and Indiana talked about their

                                           28       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
experiences: with their specific WritersCorps teachers, with the                work and journals. If they forget, I show their own work to them.
program, and with writing itself.                                              In some instances belief in oneself can be established in three
                                                                               or four workshops, in others it takes three or four years, but the
We shared the specifics of our program model in which teaching
                                                                               outcome has always been well worth the wait. I think the most
artists work at least 25 hours each week, at one or two sites, for
                                                                               important thing is that long-term/in-depth allows me to provide
eight or nine months of the year, sometimes for multiple years.
                                                                               continuity in the midst of the constant upheaval that my students
Teachers work with each student a minimum of ten sessions,
                                                                               often experience.
and most often for much longer. Most of our sites have had
a WritersCorps teacher for many years, so in addition to the
relationship between each current teacher and his or her site
liaison, there is often a longer historical relationship between
that site rep and the program.

In practice, many youth work with a WritersCorps teacher for
more than one year, and many young people have worked with
one teaching artist at their middle school and another at their
high school, or one at Newcomer High School and another
when they move on, or one in school and one at an after-school
program. Many youth also have a multi-year relationship with
WritersCorps as a program through our publications, readings,
special events, internship program, and media attention.

                                                                              “Over the course of a nine month period, I have an opportunity to
    “WritersCorps allows me the
                                                                               work with a consistent group of young people. We have time to
                                                                               get to know one another, I have time to really understand each
     opportunity to develop small
                                                                               young writer’s strengths and interests, and where each needs
                                                                               reinforcement. I have the luxury of being able to tailor exercises
     communities of young writers
                                                                               to build confidence and skills for each of my young friends. I have
                                                                               had the pleasure of seeing young writers blossom, sometimes even
     with whom I can share skills
                                                                               a young person who previously indicated that she had no desire
                                                                               whatsoever to share her thoughts with others.
     and information, but equally
                                                                              “With Sistahs 4Life, I was able to expand our activities as the
     important, whom I can teach to be                                         writing relationship matured. I took small groups of girls with
                                                                               me to dance and drumming classes, to the symphony, the
     a community of consciousness.”                                            beach. Encouraging them to take risks, and make real things
                                                                               they dreamed of starting by writing them down and making
 As Gloria Yamato described in our symposium presentation,                     that writing as powerful as possible, resulted in one of the most
“WritersCorps allows me the opportunity to develop small                       valuable teaching tools I have at my disposal: trust. With students
 communities of young writers with whom I can share skills and                 who are typically running into problems with ‘authority’ the fact
 information, but equally important, whom I can teach to be a                  that I have an extended period of time to work with them allows
 community of consciousness. I work to encourage young writers                 us to build trust.”
 to recognize one another’s skills, and to encourage and support               Gloria and Mahru, in conversation with Andreya and Eric,
 one another’s growth as writers. I couldn’t do that in a day or               discussed and demonstrated mentor/mentee relationships
 two nearly as well and as deeply as I might over the course of an             that have been built over years. Indiana talked about her own
 entire school year, or in many cases, over a number of years. I get           work with teaching artist, Chad Sweeney. Taken together, these
 to remind the young writers I work with that they can write. I get            conversations showed qualities both of each specific relationship,
 to insist that I remember their skills when they forget they have             and also how these relationships differ from each other depending
 them. I have the proof: copies of art, and in some cases original             on individual teachers and students.

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   29
We made clear that our teaching artists are independent at their             works. San Francisco’s Aunt Lute Books published City of One, an
sites. They design a program that addresses the needs and realities          anthology of poems WritersCorps youth wrote on the theme of
of the particular youth and staff they work with, as well as their           peace, in 2004, and Solid Ground at the time of the centennial of
own teaching style and intentions. WritersCorps teachers come to             San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Jossey-Bass published our book
the program with experience, and are not asked to teach from a               of lessons, Jump Write In!: Creative Writing Exercises for Diverse
predetermined curriculum or to submit lesson plans for approval.             Communities, Grades 6-12, in 2005.
They have time – each week and over the year – to get to know
                                                                       WritersCorps’ community of youth and adults – at the sites
many of their students as people and artists. From this solid base,
                                                                       with which we partner, in the audiences for our performances,
WritersCorps teachers are able to become real mentors to the
                                                                       on our email poem-a-month list, as visitors to our website, as
youth that they work with.
                                                                       readers of our publications – are always involved in what we
But our teachers are not only independent. They are also part of       do. Of course, WritersCorps is one in a field of programs – run
a group (one that includes other teachers and WritersCorps staff),     by non-profits, universities, and governmental agencies – that
and this whole group meets frequently. Our bi-weekly meetings          spring from a vision of art as an activity that belongs to all of
help develop the relationships that allow teachers – and teachers      us, an activity that is a human birthright. Many such programs
and staff – to work as a team. The knowledge is definitely in the       were represented at the symposium, and it was a true gift
room, and as training coordinator, to the extent that I can, I design to be able to hear about all the good work being done, the
the meetings so that teachers share what they know with each           variety of models, and issues current in the field. I found it very
other. Meetings also allow us a brief glimpse of each teacher’s        encouraging that – whatever has necessarily changed over time
students, classroom, and neighborhood, thereby giving us a            – in new programs, too, university students or practicing artists
window in which we can see the WritersCorps whole we’re each           go to the places in our communities where people are already
working individually to create.                                        gathered. I was encouraged, also, to note that the belief that
                                                                       each of us is the expert about our own life and story remains
A lot is asked of our teachers. In turn, they are given what’s
                                                                       central to this work.
required to do their job. Elements include:

 • Adequate pay for all hours worked, including the non-
   classroom work necessary to program success: preparation
   (class prep, reading and responding to student writing,
   preparation of material for publications and events,
   research, etc.); one-on-one mentoring with individual
   students; meetings with staff on site, WritersCorps trainings,
   consultation with program staff and other teachers;
   evaluation and paperwork;
 • Funds for materials, supplies, and guest artists;
 • Funds, program support, and group knowledge to create both
   site and program wide publications and events;
 • Recognition of teachers’ lives as practicing artists, including a
   small stipend to allow time for their own writing;
 • Health care.
As is true for most community-based literary arts programs,
WritersCorps is committed to putting student writing into the
world. We publish site publications and program anthologies, and
have also partnered with publishing houses who have wanted
to share our work with a larger audience, and we shared these
publications during our symposium presentation. In 2003 Harper/
Collins published Paint Me Like I Am, an anthology of work
from all three WritersCorps cities, and a second volume is in the

                                          30       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
          Fostering Reciprocal Relationships

        “Curriculum is based on the importance of community arts to civil
          society and the corresponding belief that community arts workers
         must be familiar with the aesthetic, social, cultural, economic,
         political, technical and ethical contexts of the arts.”

Research Centers, Universities, and Community Based Practioners –               The UO Center for Community
Doug Blandy, PhD, Director and Lori Hager, PhD, Assistant Professor             Arts and Cultural Policy (CCACP)
& Associate Director, with Sterling Israel, Rachel Johnson, Reed Davaz
McGowen, Thea Vandervoort Arts and Administration Program,                      The University of Oregon’s Institute for Community Arts Studies
Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy University of Oregon              (ICAS) was established in 1965 by a founding gift from the Lila
The Arts and Administration Program (AAD) at the University                     Wallace Foundation as a research and public service organization
of Oregon (UO) is built upon over three decades of academic                     within the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. ICAS exists
programming, research and publication in the areas of cultural                  to promote and implement research, professional education,
policy and community arts services. Constituents served                         and community programs concerned with public participation,
by the Arts and Administration Program includes graduate                        appreciation, and understanding of the arts. Toward this end, ICAS
students in arts management with a community arts focus and                     has supported such statewide research projects as the Community
undergraduate community arts minors. Curriculum is based                        Arts Study Program (1966-1968), and the Study of Arts Education
on the importance of community arts to civil society and the                    in the Community (1984-1986). In 1995, the Institute established
corresponding belief that community arts workers must be                        a renewed focus on community arts and cultural policy, in
familiar with the aesthetic, social, cultural, economic, political,             collaboration with the newly formed arts management graduate
technical and ethical contexts of the arts.                                     degree of the Arts and Administration Program (AAD). ICAS
Community arts programs located within Research I public                        On-line, which consists of an electronic forum for discussion and
universities, like the UO, require that students and faculty be                 dissemination of current community arts and cultural policy issues,
involved in research that adds significantly to the body of                      CultureWork, a periodic broadside, as well as an Institute archive,
knowledge associated with the field. This essay will focus on the                were created. In 2005 Doug Blandy, Patricia Dewey, and Lori Hager
research center that is associated with AAD, activities and research            identified opportunities to re-envision ICAS as the Center for
generated by faculty and graduate students associated with the                  Community Arts and Cultural Policy (CCACP) – an interdisciplinary,
center, and conclude with questions raised and discussed about                  regional research and development center dedicated to sustaining
the relationship of research to community arts practice at the                  and strengthening the arts, culture, and heritage sectors of the
Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity, and Civic Engagement conference              West. What follows is drawn from a concept paper authored
that were a part of our session.                                                by Blandy, Dewey, and Hager (2005) that describes the mission,

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   31
purpose, and organization of CCACP. Also following will be an              Center faculty, students, and affiliate members conduct and
excerpt from CCACP’s most recent annual report that details                disseminate policy-relevant research, and create and provide
accomplishments and activities for 2005 and 2006                           professional development opportunities to address the needs of
                                                                           current and future leaders in a broadly defined cultural sector.
CCACP Mission and Concept
With an interest in and commitment to cultural resource                    Activities in Research, Education,
development throughout the American West, CCACP focuses                    and Community Engagement
on the Pacific Northwest region. The Pacific Northwest of North
                                                                           CCACP’s activities focus on three broad areas of activity:
America is comprised of the major urban centers of Portland,
                                                                           Community Arts, Cultural Heritage, and Cultural Policy. Within
Seattle, and Vancouver – in addition to innumerable, diverse
                                                                           each area, activities of research interest groups continue to reflect
communities throughout the vast geographic area of Oregon,
                                                                           the original mission of ICAS: to promote and implement research,
Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia. Although cultural
                                                                           professional education, and community programs concerned with
policy centers exist in the Midwest, South, and Northeast, no
                                                                           public participation, appreciation, and understanding of the arts.
academic research centers with a focus on regional arts and
                                                                           Each area of activity includes research, educational initiatives, and
cultural policy and heritage issues currently exists in the West.
                                                                           community engagement as determined by each area’s respective
The Center is modeled after cultural policy research centers
currently flourishing at Princeton, Vanderbilt, and the University          research interest group members.
of Chicago, Columbia College, Maryland Institute College of Art,
                                                                           Overview of 2005-2006
and California College of the Arts.
                                                                           Accomplishments for CCACP
                                                                             • We hosted the 31st annual international conference on
                                                                                Social Theory, Politics and the Arts (STP&A) from October
                                                                                6 to 8, 2005, which involved presentations of 88 research
                                                                                papers and the participation of approximately 140 attendees,
                                                                                representing 10 countries and 20 U.S. states. We launched the
                                                                               “revitalization” process of the Institute for Community Arts
                                                                                Studies at the opening reception of the conference.
                                                                             • We launched research initiatives in four major project areas:
                                                                               Community Youth Arts, Cultural Development in the Pacific
                                                                               Northwest, E-Portfolios, and European Union Cultural Policy.
                                                                             • Our commitment to integrating teaching, research, and
                                                                               community engagement was exemplified through extensive
                                                                               visiting scholar participation in two graduate-level courses:
                                                                               Community Arts, Education and Partnerships and Cultural Policy.
Mission Statement
The University of Oregon Center for Community Arts and Cultural              • Two Fulbright research awards (one faculty, one student)
Policy (CCACP) sustains and strengthens arts, culture and heritage             were granted for research in international cultural policy, to
in the American West through research, policy, education, and                  commence in fall 2006.
community engagement.                                                        • Faculty and graduate students associated with ICAS received
In its main objective to foster civic engagement and cultural                  national and international recognition throughout the year
resource development in the American West, CCACP, through                      through presenting research at conferences and through their
research and education, supports policymakers and cultural sector              publications.
professionals to:                                                            • We established essential basic infrastructure support systems
 •   Cultivate public participation in the arts                                and communications vehicles to be able to leverage the ICAS
 •   Foster creative activities                                                structure for continued research, professional development,
 •   Preserve cultural heritage                                                and fundraising initiatives. (Blandy, Dewey, Hager, Heath, &
 •   Develop sustainable community cultural development                        Young, 2006)

                                         32      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
Overview of Community                                                          Community Arts and Best Practices in
Arts Research                                                                  Environmental Resource Management
CCACP Community Arts research and programs include three                       BY STERLING ISRAEL
initiatives: Community Youth Arts, Arts-in-Education, and                      Environmental issues are complex and the arts are adept
Intermedia. Each area is linked to course development, and                     at imagination and invention. Artists are visionaries whose
student professional and academic preparation in the various arts              participation in the democratic process can lead to creative
areas related to each initiative area. Areas also have associated              solutions. Art embodies public hopes, vision, and dreams. The
initiatives, which include opportunities for external funding, and             eco-art movement is thriving, and has a noticeable role in
long-term interdisciplinary collaboration potential.                           contemporary artwork. I believe that community art reuse centers
                                                                               are vital respondents to environmental challenges.
Community Youth Arts (CYA)
                                                                               My research project is the facilitation and critical analyses of
This initiative has two broad goals: to work in conjunction with               a community art exhibit for the March 2007 Public Interest
state and regional partners to develop research agendas and                    Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, Oregon.) I am working
related policy priorities in community youth arts; and, to establish           with artists and law students to design an exhibit that provides a
a baseline and needs analysis of teaching artists as a model for               space for visitors to interact with art objects and concepts reflecting
research in the rest of the state.                                             the environment. The value of the art experience in this context is
                                                                               that visitors have an opportunity to debrief some of their intensive
                                                                               workshop activities by an exchange with visual art. The exhibit will
In the area of arts education, professional development workshops              provide conference attendees an opportunity to learn about Eugene’s
were introduced through the office of Continuing Education,                     environmental art scene through a multi-sensory experience
including a curriculum development workshop offered by Dr. Greg                complementary to the conference’s workshop programming.
Gurley addressing the U.S. Department of Education initiative in
                                                                               Increasing artist participation in the format of this national
Character Education.
                                                                               conference is significant and appropriate. There is a growing
Intermedia                                                                     presence of four hundred creative reuse centers internationally.
                                                                               There are also over a dozen centers within the US that focus on
The ePortfolio project was piloted in AAD through linking the
                                                                               providing low cost art materials to the public. Including Eugene’s
internship course series with the course series in Informational
                                                                               Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (Mecca for short),
Technology, and is currently in its second year of funding.                    these arts organizations are cutting edge participants in reuse
ePortfolio seeks to serve as a communication hub between                       and recycling practices as part of conservation and economically
students in the academic environment and the professional arts                 sound resource management.
fields. During the second year, the project will work other AAA
departments and across academic departments to serve students’                 Independent Artists and the Web
professional and academic development through providing                        BY RACHEL JOHNSON
workshops, tutoring, and a dedicated ePortfolio server and website.            There are many online resources that independent artists and                                                 crafters can utilize to promote and market their businesses. This
                                                                               proposal describes how the researcher will explore these resources,
Graduate Student Research                                                      as well as interview and observe artists who already use the
Associated with CCACP                                                          Internet successfully, in order to gain a deep understanding of
All graduate students enrolled in AAD are required to complete a               this phenomenon. The final result will be a project, in the form
research project. Research projects are distributed evenly across              of a handbook, which will aim to help artists and craft persons
the four areas of concentration associated with the program                    by making suggestions, based on the research, for how to use the
with approximately four to five students each year completing                   Internet effectively to grow an art or craft business.
community arts oriented research. All research, when complete, is              The purpose of my study of independent artists and crafters is to
disseminated through CCACP. It is not unusual for such research                fill the gap in research regarding the Internet marketing strategies
to be published in CultureWork. Abstracts for four research                    of this niche group. I also hope to synthesize the information I
projects currently underway follow.                                            gather in order to make suggestions for how artists and crafters

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   33
can successfully use the Internet to grow their businesses. I would           My research includes a survey and analysis of the administrative
like to incorporate the most salient information and suggestions              strengths and weakness of the program using the twenty-two
into a final project in the form of a handbook that could be                   university ArtsBridge sites. The outcome of this research will be a
distributed to independent artists and crafters interested in using           handbook for model program directors addressing strengths and
the Internet to promote their business.                                       weaknesses; also containing recommendations for improvement
                                                                              and increased longevity
Youth Volunteer Service in the Arts
BY REED DAVAZ MCGOWEN                                                         Conclusion
The intent of this research is to determine what types of benefits             At the conclusion of our conference presentation we discussed
result from youth volunteer service in the arts, as well as the               with session participants four questions that arise regarding the
motives of youth for choosing service in the arts. Youth volunteer            relationship between research and community arts. Questions
service will be assessed both within and outside of mandated                  were considered in pairs within two groups with approximately
educational service requirements, focusing specifically on                     twelve members each. What follows are those questions with
volunteers aged 14-19 years. Interpretive, qualitative research will          selected quotes from participants as recorded in the notes taken
be conducted through case studies followed by questionnaires,                 by Sterling Israel, Rachel Johnson, Reed McGowan, Sterling
interviews, and field observation of youth volunteers. An initial              Israel, and Thea Vandervort. The range of concerns raised by
literature review drawing from related fields will introduce available         the participants impressed us as well as the significance of the
scholarly research on youth volunteerism to the project. However,             questions raised in relationship to the questions that we presented.
                                                                              This was particularly true in relation to those questions that dealt
there exists a gap in the research area of youth volunteerism in the
                                                                              with the research priorities.
arts. Therefore, the outcome of this research will be a project in the
form of a handbook for arts organizations to better understand and
develop youth specific arts volunteer programs

University-School Arts Education
Partnerships and Curriculum-Based
Model Programs
The development of reciprocal approaches to curricular and
community building through the arts is facilitated through
university-school partnerships and collaboration with the
K-12 education system. Current trends and models indicate
the importance of shared leadership, parent and community
involvement, and programs that are responsive to the needs of
the community. Increased implementation of school-based and
curriculum-related model arts education programs that can be
                                                                              What is the role of an academic center [proliferation of centers] in
easily replicated is of paramount importance. There is a gap in
                                                                              facilitating communication between academic and professional
the research regarding financial and longitudinal sustainability
                                                                              sectors, between research and practice? How should we do it?
of model programs. Elements of sustainability include strong
program evaluation, effective training methods for teaching-                  What would the role of a professional organization for the CA/
artists, and long term funding solutions.                                     CCD field be? Where would it exist? Who would its membership
                                                                              be? What would be its purpose? How would we identify who
ArtsBridge America is an example of a research-based model
                                                                              would be essential in its start-up?
program. This program is responsive to the needs of individual
                                                                                • Develop toolkit for leadership/research skills
K-12 schools and provides a service-learning opportunity for
university students. Research into the effectiveness of training                • Arts managers are intermediaries between different sectors
methods, consortia funding opportunities that facilitate growth                 • Recognize importance of participatory action research
and stability, and assessment of program evaluation techniques                  • Academic training should take place while doing the work
is necessary.                                                                     (ongoing training)

                                            34      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
 • Academy/codification vs. real world community experience?                      • Society seems to require quantitative research to prove /
 • What are students learning through practicum and                                confirm benefits of the arts
   internships?                                                                  • Interrogation of essential terms used in research
 • Necessity to identify and join together available resources                   • The university should not appropriate community arts voice?
 • Instead of policy being top down, is there anything we can do               REFERENCES
   as community arts leaders to really change and affect policy                      Blandy, D., Dewey, P., Hager, L. (2005). University of
   from the bottom up?                                                               Oregon Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy:
 • Administrators need to be at the policy-making table locally                      Concept paper. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon

 • Interrogate every term you use                                                    Blandy, D. Dewey, P., Hager, L., Heath, K., & Young, L.
                                                                                     (2006). Institute for Community Arts Studies (ICAS): A
 • Multiplicity of voices should be cultivated
                                                                                     Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy: Annual
 • Learning how to ask the right questions comes with                                report 2005-2006. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon.
 • A dichotomy exists between academic and the public/
   community artist
 • Be aware of the standards of your community, be respectful,
   honor and engage in the needs/culture/standards of
Given the current state of community arts activities within the
United States, what specific research is needed to sustain and
strengthen public access to the arts?

Given the breadth and depth of community arts oriented research
that could occur, should the field identify priorities and through
what process should those priorities be identified?

 • Discover the means to bring about economic sustainability for
   community arts programs.
 • What things prevent effective community artwork?
 • What are the regional differences in community arts?
 • “To what end?” should be community arts workers be aiming?
 • How should community arts workers use the mass media?
 • How can community arts workers collaborate with
   professionals in other fields? What collaborations are
 • What is the impact of coalition building?
 • What other ways do community artists inform and interact
   with their community?
 • What good and positive things are happening in community
 • How can we promote and gain followers? Critical Mass!
 • Need analysis and explanation of public policy
 • What is the shadow of community arts, or the unseen part?

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   35
                Breaking Tradition,
                           Breaking Making

Collaboration between Francis                                                                              collective effort. The creation and
McIlveen, California College of                                                                            destruction of the game grows out of
the Arts Alumni, Yuki Maruyama,
                                                                                                           the perennial, yet radical, concern of
Michelle Lieberman and the
students of the OBUGS (Oakland                                                                             contemporary art with the idea of art
Based Urban Gardens) Program                                                                               as a means of revising life.

                                                                                                         Since 1998, OBUGS, a grassroots
Breaking Making
                                                                                                         nonprofit in West Oakland, California,
Lead artists, Francis McIlveen                                                                           has been working to build healthy
and Yuki Maruyama, met with                                                                              communities through programs for
students from OBUGS over a                                                                               children, youth, and families in a
three week period to create                                                                              network of neighborhood gardens,
symbolic bowling pins from                                                                               green spaces, and farmers’ markets.
clay, functioning as fetishes for                                                                        OBUGS has built, and maintains, four
elements of their lives that they                                                                        food-producing gardens in West
would like to break down or change. Students also built trophies to         Oakland, which are used primarily for hands-on, educational
themselves, or to things in their life which they felt deserved one.        activities with children and youth. During the 2006-2007 school
Their work ranged from figurative/symbolic to completely abstract.           year, 400 students from four West Oakland elementary and middle
The project culminated in a ceramic bowling tournament during               schools are attending OBUGS programs each week.
the symposium’s plenary session, with the students bowling, and
thus obliterating the pins, which they had made. After all the pins         OBUGS educates these children from low-income families about
were completely destroyed, the students awarded each other the              nutrition, health, and life-sciences, and ecology starting at a
trophies they had made.                                                     young age, while: 1) providing safe venues for physical activity;
                                                                            2) growing fresh produce for the community and teaching
The driving motivation of the project was to create a communal              children how to cook healthy meals using what they grow; and
spectacle, which seeks through its own destruction to evoke                 3) helping participants excel academically and become leaders
an awareness of the power and agency of individuals and their               in their community.

                                          36      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
MAKING BREAKING:                                                                                                        activities. When a participant
Some Thoughts on Catharsis                                                                                              is ‘on stage’ in front of
                                                                                                                        spectators, there is the
Destruction is the unsung hero of the creative
                                                                                                                        opportunity to step outside
process—not just of artistic creative processes,
                                                                                                                        of oneself and become a
but of the process of creating life itself, perhaps,
                                                                                                                        different person, to explore
because we so often fail to connect it to the
                                                                                                                        alternative personalities,
rest of the transformative process. The unborn
                                                                                                                        emotions and ways of
fetus wreaks havoc upon the mother’s body by
                                                                                                                        thinking. Such exploration
leaching her very bones of essential nutrients
                                                                                                                        is critical to personal
and minerals; plants, fungi and insects destroy
                                                                                                                        development within non-
and feast upon the bodies of others and
                                                                                                                        traditional society, where
in the process re-create life. It’s a cycle so
                                                                                                                        people grow up within a
primordial that humans, thousands of years
                                                                                                                        state of permanent crisis of
ago, recognized and canonized in such tropes
                                                                                                                        social meaning. Children (and
as Shiva’s dance of simultaneous destruction
                                                                                                                        adults) must either regress
and creation.
                                                                                                                        to a rigid moral stasis or
In education, and particularly in pedagogic models concerned                      they must navigate a constant conflict of competing values and
with enlightened social practices and engagement, there is                        social forces (peer pressure, models of gender, economic stressors)
an important emphasis on empathy, on cooperation, and                             and the conflict between seeking to find one’s own voice versus
discouragement of negativity. However, what is often lacking                      wanting a community and wanting to fit in and belong.
in this model is a way to help students integrate their negative
                                                                                  On the social level, we have a tremendous treasure trove of
feelings (of frustration, of being overwhelmed, of despondency)
and to come to productive terms with them. We are teaching                        traditions, rituals and games to mine for inspiration. Just as in
our young to behave, to fit in, to find a niche, when perhaps we                    nature (where matter is neither created or destroyed, but rather
ought to also be teaching them productive ways to honor their                     transformed) so too in social structures our human processes of
anger and disgust. Perhaps we are afraid of the potential for                     cultural transformation dictate the recycling of bits and pieces of
true, fundamental change, or perhaps we have forgotten the art                    cultural detritus in fashioning new rituals and traditions which
of destroying society to make way for new worlds. You, reading                    give meaning to our coming together in community. There is a
this, might even mistake this plea as a call for violent force                    plethora of examples of communal events in which the personal
when it really is a call for subtle and sophisticated strategies,                 moment of a psychic or spiritual breakthrough is channeled
tactics, subterfuge, monkey-wrenching—a plea for the                              into a cathartic ritual. Through destruction, a group reinforces
evolution of a full repertoire of end-run-arounds to outmoded,                    interpersonal connection. And through appropriation, we too
totalitarian social models.                                                       can re-invent the language of our social rituals. There is power
                                                                                  in the realization that one can create and re-create—that through
One start for re-learning our forgotten capacity to tear
                                                                                  destruction, by ‘wiping the slate clean,’ one can completely
down social structures, is to personalize a moment of crisis
                                                                                  re-invent and re-image the world through the microcosm of art.
(or ‘dangerous opportunity’), thereby testing the limits of an
                                                                                  Artistic practice is a laboratory for experiments with revolution,
individual’s own concept of her or his capacity to take action.
                                                                                  annihilation and utopia.
Destruction is a sort of catharsis, which is itself an emotional
venue for not only venting and moving beyond frustration, but                     To destroy one’s own creation is to experience on a corporeal
also for clearing the mind and setting the stage for action, for                  level the temporality of existence. There is a sweet poignancy
stepping over apathy and numbness. With cathartic mental                          to intentionally destroying something one has made: a hint of
clarity, there is room for imagining constructive channels for new                liberation from material possessions; of unburdening oneself
social modes, for new interpersonal strategies. It is, in short, an               from attachments to things, and liberation from the tyranny of
opportunity to engender the somatic experience of shifting from                   the extant (and of all that precedes this moment). It is the great
spectator to instigator.                                                          possibility of starting anew with agile mind and alert creativity.

 On the personal level, there are tremendous possibilities for the
‘theater of art’, i.e. the inherent theatricality of performative

                                                  Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   37
   Building Community
          Through the Practice of Enso

          “The youth come to our college campus to make art and explore their
           individuality in a new, challenging context. They get to experiment
           with new artistic techniques and learn to successfully collaborate on
            a community art project.”

Virginia Jardim, Faculty, Community Arts Department, California                               Movement goes forward, not backward
College of the Arts
                                                                                              It is an act of negotiation, collaboration, joy and beauty
“Ensos are easy, but hard.” Dejanee Boyd, Emery school youth                                  It is an expression of the moment that one has shared
 participant.                                                                                 with another
The “Building Community Through The Practice of Enso” workshop                          The Enso activity is successful with any age group because it
was attended by ten Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic                         so simple – participants need no previous training and there is
Engagement conference participants and five local youth from the                         low risk for failure. The activity is a unique, socially engaging
Emery Middle School in Emeryville, California.1 The purpose of the                      yet meditative approach to art. The quiet focus during the act
workshop was to share a successful community building activity                          of making Enso creates a calm environment conducive to clear
based on an adaptation of the ancient Japanese spiritual practice                       communication and learning.
of making Enso circles. This article will cover the content of                          THE ENSO WORKSHOP:
workshop as well as a how-to approach so readers can successfully                       Background Context: Athena Project /
use Ensos in their classrooms.                                                          Mentorship Studio Class
Virginia Jardim, Community Arts Faculty, and Minette Mangahas,                          The workshop began with a power point presentation that provided
artist and former Center for Art in Public Life staff member, have                      an overview of the curriculum of the Mentorship Studio class taught
collaborated on mentorship classes over the last five years. Enso                        by Virginia and Minette. The class is part of the new Community Arts
has become their guiding metaphor for the act of mentoring:                             major at the California College of the Arts and provides a context for
      It takes two                                                                      college students to learn to teach and develop a creative relationship
                                                                                        with youth. Much thought and preparation goes into creating a safe
      It has a beginning, but no end
                                                                                        space for both college students and youth to grow beyond their
1 The youth participants were students in the Athena Project, Fall 2005.                comfort zones into more a mature comprehension of the complexity

                                                    38        Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
Virginia Jardim is a memoirist and documentarian who teaches in CCA’s
Community Arts and Writing & Literature programs.
of the world in which they live. Readings and discussions on human
development, pedagogy, gender, race and cultural sensitivity
prepare the college students to become mentors. In addition, they
write lesson plans, keep a journal and write a self-assessment paper.
Using the California State Standards for Visual Arts as a guide, they
design community art projects with their protégés. For example,
in the Athena Project, mentors and protégés
get to know residents of the Matilda Brown
Home for Elderly Women, a facility devoted
to Alzheimer’s patients. The Athena art

                                                                                     THE DEMONSTRATION:
                                                                                     Presenters model how to make an Enso
                                                                                     After the above background information, Virginia and Minette
                                                                                     gave a demonstration of how to make an Enso as follows:

                                                                                       • They taped their paper to the table so it would not move.
                                                                                       • They chose a brush.

pieces are inspired by the interactions with the elderly women and                     • They chose three colors of acrylic paint.
created for their enjoyment. The Matilda Brown Home keeps the art                      • They took turns squeezing small amounts of acrylic paint
on display in their facility. Mentors and their protégés brainstorm to                   directly onto the paper, forming the shape of a circle.
come up with a project, assemble the materials, plan out how much
                                                                                       • They carefully held the brush together (four hands on the
time it will take to make sure the scope of their project will fit into
the amount of time allotted, figure out the sequence of who will do
what and when, make the piece of art and finally, learn how to hang                     • They swept the brush slowly and intentionally around the
and display it for the exhibit.                                                          paper through the blobs of paint until they closed their circle
                                                                                         with a flourish.
 CCA students learn to listen deeply, give meaningful feedback
                                                                                       • They then took a few moments to talk and reflect.
to their protégés, develop collaboration skills, techniques
of professional practice and a new understanding of our                                • Then, each wrote a word that represented the moment in
multicultural society. The youth come to our college campus to                           sumi ink using a brush.
make art and explore their individuality in a new, challenging                       After the demonstration, participants were asked to choose their
context. They get to experiment with new artistic techniques                         own partners. Half partnered with youth participants and the
and learn to successfully collaborate on a community art project.                    rest with each other. Once they got to know each other a bit,
Students from this class often continue their association with                       they followed the same simple routine as outlined above. When
CCA by enrolling in summer classes for youth. Eventually, some                       everyone had finished making several Ensos, they hung their work
of them might choose to attend CCA as undergraduates.2                               on the wall to dry and took turns talking about the process of
                                                                                     working together.
2 For further information on The Athena Project and mentorship techniques
  Virginia and Minette developed, visit the Community Arts Network                     Written by Minette Lee Mangahas: “The Athena Project: Refining the
  ( In the Reading Room you will find an article                Practice of Mentorship in Community Art.”

                                                 40        Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
The atmosphere in the room became one of intense conversations                        round or flat, 1”, 2”or 3” brushes for making enso. Round
while partners engaged in making mutually acceptable decisions                        pointed brushes for the Sumi ink
(which colors? which brush?). As they placed their chosen colors
                                                                                      Paper: 18” x 24” or larger
and took up the brush, they bonded through the act of creation.
Delight in the unpredictable spontaneity of the experience                            Hanging: Tape or push pins
pervaded the room as they stood back and admired their Ensos.
GROUP DISCUSSION:                                                                 • Start with a minute or two of meditation or quiet with eyes
Reflections on the dynamism                                                          closed and guided imagery to calm down and center the
of Enso collaboration                                                               energy before you break into partners.

After each Enso was taped on the wall, the participants were                      • You may prefer to assign partners in your classroom.
able to see the enormous variety of expression in the Enso colors,                • Provide smocks or old t-shirts to protect clothing from paint.
shapes and sizes as well as the associated words. A member of
                                                                                  • You don’t need as much paint as you think! Paint can be
each pair stood beside their creations and shared their process. The
                                                                                    squirted directly from the tube or bottle of acrylic paint onto
youth stepped forward with ease and eloquently described how
                                                                                    the paper. One teaspoon per color is enough.
moving the brush in a circle created a dynamic tension as both
sets of muscles and minds guided it somewhat differently. Some                    • Some people dot their colors around in several key points
people realized they had used too much paint which dripped as it                    on the trajectory of their circle. However, you can also place
hung on the wall and changed the shape of their Enso.                               them all at the start of the circle.
The final group discussion about the process added awareness                       • An Enso can be made on any scale. For this activity, we
of the artistic and community building value of this exercise,                      encourage students to make a large circle that takes up the
fulfilling the mission of the conference to craft a vision of art,                   whole page.
social equity and civic awareness in the following manner:                        • You can start your circle anywhere, but traditional Enso
                                                                                    begins in the lower left quadrant (7 or 8 o’clock)
 • Participants learned of the ancient Japanese art practice                      • Circles are done in a clockwise direction
   used as a form of meditation to focus the mind. (Art history,                  • People usually want to make more than one, so be prepared
   cultural awareness)                                                              for each pair to do at least three.
 • They made art!                                                                 • You’ll need a sink to rinse brushes after each Enso or else have
                                                                                    lots of brushes!
 • Partners knew their task was to make equitable decisions so                    • Sumi ink is not necessary for brushing the words onto paper.
   that both would feel equally invested in co-creating the Enso.                   Diluted acrylic works fine, too.
                                                                                  • The purpose of the reflection is to bring to the surface
                                                                                    a positive feeling or concept that was inspired by the
 • Young artists from Emery School District were invited
                                                                                    experience, such as joy, fullness, thought, peacefulness, etc.
   to attend the Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic
   Engagement conference on the Oakland CCA campus. Each                          • Although this exercise takes a small amount of time, it is very
   made art with an adult conference attendee. Conference                           gratifying for the participants and can certainly be used more
   attendees from all over the country had the chance to meet                       than once in a semester.
   and talk to local youth of color interested in the arts.                     Please let us know if you use the Enso activity in your classroom.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON TRYING THIS                                              We’d love to know how it went and if you added any adaptations
IN YOUR CLASSROOM:                                                              of your own. In addition, if you have questions, feel free to contact
MATERIALS:                                                                      Virginia Jardim (510) 594-3756 or
     Media: 3-8 colors of acrylic paint including gold and
     Sumi ink.                                                                  Acknowledgments: This work was inspiring by the work of artist
     Brushes: If money is no object, Japanese Calligraphy                       and world peace activitist, Kazuaki Tanahashi. His artwork and
     brushes. Otherwise, inexpensive nylon, bristle or foam,                    publications can be viewed at

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   41
“When you’re trying to work in
community, the…glue that sticks it all
together is stories. Every community
has its stories…those stories that come
before us, the past predicts the future,
and seeing something moving across
time, and understanding the lives of
the youth we serve.”
                  Amaila Mesa-Bains

                           Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   43
                          Listening for the Lexicon
                             of Cultural Shift

    “They are a circle of colleagues who honor each other and see the field
     as a continuum of those who have gone before, negotiating constant,
     massive cultural shift – the people of the Civil Rights Movement, the
     Movimiento or Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement,
     the Feminist Movement.”

Linda Frye Burnham, Community Art Network                                        ..…anyone that knows about the cultures of the
“Rather than developing artifact, you want to develop fluidity …                   Caribbean, the cultures of Africa, the cultures of Central
 what is possible today may not be possible tomorrow, and that’s                  and Latin America and Asia, Native American cultures,
 good.” Marta Moreno Vega                                                         and everyone that is grounded in their own culture,
                                                                                  regardless of where you come from, understands that
Amalia Mesa-Bains called it “a moment of camaraderie and                          there are expressions, cultural expressions that you call
esprit de corps.” Marta Moreno Vega called it “a family reunion.”                “art” in academia, but are lived expressions, that are the
And they were right. “Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic                 history of a people, the stories of a people, that ground
Engagement” was an arts gathering like no other.                                  them in the experience that they’re in today.
With Sonia BasSheva Manjon at the helm, “Crafting” felt                     They are a circle of colleagues who honor each other and see the
different right from the get-go because the keynote addresses               field as a continuum of those who have gone before, negotiating
were all delivered by women grounded in communities of color,               constant, massive cultural shift – the people of the Civil Rights
women who view culture from a specific angle. Their experience               Movement, the Movimiento or Chicano Movement, the American
has taught them a lot about something we all need a better                  Indian Movement, the Feminist Movement. That perspective leaves
understanding of: cultural shift.                                           them heavily invested in issues of social justice, civil rights, and
The gathering kicked off with keynotes by Mesa-Bains, Moreno Vega           cultural rights.
and Claudine Brown, people Manjon identified as her professional             For them, the busy intersection of civic life, equity and community
role models, mentors and dear personal friends. The affection               is a familiar crossroads with many trajectories. They consider it
among them was tangible and it warmed the theater where we met.             their obligation to present their observations at the crossroads to
They come from communities that have long histories on the North            the people who will come after them – the cultural leaders of the
American continent, where “community art” is “lived experience,” art        next generation. They told us they are now at a place where they
that is lived every day. As Moreno Vega put it:                             can begin to identify artists who can be held up as role models

                                          44      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
in the field of community arts: the “artist-citizens.” And they are              words like minority, mainstream, academic, amateur, professional,
artists, as Mesa-Bains said:                                                    fine, informal, ethnic, folk, traditional, contemporary, classical, self-
                                                                                taught. For the 21st century, community art history – no, art history
      …whose work has resided both within the art world and
                                                                               – must become more like a history of lived experience, more of a
     within a deep community of which they are a part. That’s
                                                                                family reunion, more of a crossroads where we come together from
     the deal: of which they are a part. They don’t go find a
                                                                                many trajectories, where we are aware of the necessity to give and
     community and fix it and go back to their studio. They
                                                                                take from each other along a continuum of camaraderie and esprit
     live in that place…
                                                                                de corps.
Mesa-Bains explained that when she sat down with her colleagues
                                                                                 And in that spirit I present an expanded lexicon drawn from the
to plan the community-art curriculum at California State University
                                                                               “Crafting” keynote addresses of these three wise, innovative and
at Monterey Bay (CSUMB), they modeled it on what they had
                                                                                generous women. I take these terms, with fresh definitions, from
learned from those artist-citizens and from their own work –
                                                                                their own words – with apologies for yanking them out of context.
from their lived experience.
                                                                                You are fortunate to have their addresses transcribed in full as part
We sort of took it backwards. We looked at the skill sets that we               of the conference report you hold in your hands, so you will be
all had in combination, and then we flipped them, and                            able to find these terms in context.
we said, “Okay, to know how to do that, what do you have
to study?” And so that began this long process of defining a
new curriculum
and pedagogy.

 And when I walked away from that keynote session I realized that
 the history of community art as we know it has to be rewritten.
 We have learned a great deal about the “grassroots” history of the
“community arts movement,” going back to the 19th Century and
 linking it with feminist pageants, union
 organizing, the WPA, the Wisconsin Idea,

                                                                                A Lexicon of Cultural Shift
                                                                                 Artistic authorship: The uniqueness of the individual artist and
                                                                                what s/he creates; what many art schools are predicated on,
                                                                                mistakenly valued higher than what is created in partnership with
                                                                                others. “When you begin to share and collaborate with people,
                                                                                whose art is it? Who takes credit for it? How is it valued? Is it not
                                                                                valued?” (Mesa-Bains)

                                                                                Art-plus: How to educate students in community arts. “We’re in
CETA, and so on. But I don’t believe a holistic, fundamental history            the business of art-plus, okay? We’ve got art, but we’re going to
of this field has yet been published – one that integrates the cultural          add something else so we can keep expanding, and that art-plus,
expression in all of our communities. That history is still bifurcated,         I think, in many ways is being able to give them skill sets. We
still stratified, still segregated into compartments labeled with                discovered that practicing social analysis and community research

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   45
was an absolute bedrock, we couldn’t do the work if they didn’t               expertise.” (Mesa Bains) “Growing up in East Harlem, the colors
know how to do that. They had to develop cross-cultural skills.”              that I saw on my wall, the images that I saw on my wall reflected
(Mesa-Bains)                                                                  who I was, who my people were and are. And when I went to
                                                                              school … Puerto Rico was not reflected, the Caribbean was not
Bifurcation/stratification: “One of the impediments for this
                                                                              reflected, Africa was not reflected, Asia, very little. So I was invisible
community is the way that the art community itself is structured.
We are a very bifurcated community, and … we find ourselves                    throughout the education that I received. … So, when I started
organized around our disciplines. … The other kind of stratification,          teaching … we talked about art as lived experience. We talked
which I find very interesting, is one of scale. … So, one of the               about art that they lived every day. We talked about their homes
challenges for us is helping people who have these values and                 and their mamas and their grandmamas.” (Moreno Vega)
these kinds of concerns get to know each other and know that                  Community research/community mapping: “We had students
they can work collaboratively on issues that mean something to                come to visit in communities, observe, meet the leaders in the
them.” (Brown) “Somehow academia tries to divide what should                  community, be able to examine how a community functions, and
be naturally connected. We departmentalize experiences that are               all that had to happen before we could actually send them in to
holistic. … You have to have a lot of people in the room in order             do projects.” (Mesa-Bains)
to do the work that you do. Not only do you include scholars who
are expert in the tradition, you include community scholars that              Convergence: “We believe that online communities are really
are expert in their own traditions. You include traditional leaders,          interesting, but we think that world change happens face-to-
you include people who are interested, and these conversation                 face with each other. We think that the great asset of the art-
and these focus groups is that you can develop an exhibition. It              and-social-justice movement is the people in it. And we think
is through these focus groups that dance performance can come                 that when you meet each other, you have an opportunity not
out.” (Moreno Vega)                                                           just to hear about stuff that an article was written about, but
                                                                              you really have a chance to engage. You have a chance
Calling Spirit: “Color’s not color. Dance is not only dance, music is         to see the work of students and artists who care about these
not only music. For some groups, it is more than music. Because if            issues, you have the opportunity to find out if something can
you’re looking at the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, it is a way           be used in your own communities. We think that one-on-one
of calling spirit. … popular expressions, they’re all grounded in the         encounters, in-person engagements are going to be the heart
spiritual context, coming from indigenous, traditional cultures.”             of this movement.” (Brown)
(Moreno Vega)
                                                                              Cultural citizenship: “‘The ways in which people organize their
Challenging institutional commitment: “You have to challenge                  values, their beliefs about their rights, and their practices, based
your own institution. You have to challenge them. You have to                 on their sense of cultural belonging, rather than their formal
ask questions about why these programs are always add-ons.                    status as citizens of a nation. Particularly important are the
Why are they always for work-study? Why are they always taught                struggles for space and cultural rights that shape community
by adjuncts? Why do they never change the core curriculum?                    identity and connect to an understanding of artistic responsibility
And why, when the funding ends, does the program end?                         and problem-solving.’” (Mesa-Bains quoting Rita Ben Major and
Because there has to be an institutional commitment, and
                                                                              Bill Flores’ “Latino Cultural Citizenship”) “If that human being
challenging your institutions is at the bedrock of doing this
                                                                              contributes to your life, because you have fresh strawberries, or
work. Because otherwise you’re alone, and then as long as the
                                                                              you have wonderful artichokes on your table, or someone cleans
money’s there, you can keep doing it, and you’re working hard,
                                                                              your toilets, then they deserve to have the kind of citizenship
but if you can get the institution, even in the smallest level, to
                                                                              we enjoy, and that means having a driver’s license, that means
make that change with you, then you have hope that even when
                                                                              being able to be safe in a place that you have worked to build for
the funding ends, you’ll be able to keep doing that work, and that
                                                                              others.” (Mesa-Bains)
fundamentally those resources and knowledge and values that
come from those communities will transform the core of your                   Cultural grounding: Having a place in history; understanding your
institution in some way.” (Mesa-Bains)                                        location so you can look at the world from there. (Moreno Vega)

Community aesthetics: “This idea that you can do this work and                Cultural policy: “In these United States we do not have a
not change your aesthetic framework— Sooner or later you have to              cultural policy. And without a cultural policy, to understand
start asking questions about art historical canons that you ascribe           and define what is the United States and the multiplicity of
to, you have to start asking questions about what you define as                cultures and racial groups that make up the United States, allows

                                           46       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
the space for Eurocentric visions to dominate and continue                      Exclusion/inclusion: Communities of color being left out of
dominating, although the country is rapidly changing. And it                    discussions of cultural policy, especially discussion of “diversity.”
allows a conversation of immigrants being the ‘Other’ and being                “The exclusion of our experience. The exclusion of the expressions
undesirable, when in fact, if you understood the cultural history of            that define our communities. …The conversation [has] to include
the United States, you understand that immigration is what makes                issues, not only of culture, of art, but social justice, issues of civil
the United States.” (Moreno Vega)                                               rights and issue of cultural rights.” (Moreno Vega)
Cultural shift: “Culture is constantly shifting, realities are
constantly shifting. And for different groups, different realities
exist. And the challenge is to be present, is to be in the moment
of understanding that shift.” (Moreno Vega)

 Cultural theory: What you need to “get people in academia,
 and even in politics to really listen to another side of the story.
… It’s like being on the debate team, you have to have a good
 argument or you just don’t get anywhere. Human decency and
 compassion simply is not enough, okay?
You’ve got to have theory.” (Mesa-Bains)

                                                                                Fluidity: “Rather than developing artifact, you want to develop
                                                                                fluidity … what is possible today may not be possible tomorrow,
                                                                                and that’s good. And that if we’re going to change and influence
                                                                                lives, that we have to change ourselves, because my mama told
                                                                                me you can’t give what you don’t have.” (Moreno Vega)
                                                                                Funder envy: Funding officers who “really wish that they were
                                                                                doing what you’re [practitioners are] doing, instead of sitting
                                                                                behind a desk in an office.” (Brown)
                                                                                Ghetto Arts: What the New York State Council on the Arts once
                                                                                called the arts of minority communities. “And Ghetto Arts meant
                                                                                us.” (Moreno Vega)
Equity: “Inevitably the issues of diversity and equity are addressed
                                                                                Going Up The Ladder: “You start out on something that you know
when you set upon this work. Equity, for many of us, we
                                                                                very well as a project, but then when you go up the ladder and
discovered, was also financial. … Power comes in many forms, not
                                                                                you look down into that project, you see what are the guiding
just respect and recognition, but real financial and other kinds of
                                                                                principles, what did you learn? When I teach with my students,
resources.” (Mesa-Bains)
                                                                                we go up the ladder very regularly because I don’t want them just
Exchange: “If you have something to offer, you have to assume that
                                                                                accumulating knowledge and information. I want them to look
others have something to offer. So, it’s an exchange, it’s always an
                                                                                down and see what that means, taking out and distilling those
exchange of information. It’s never a top-down or, ‘I got the degree
                                                                                principles, that they can apply anywhere else when they face
and she or he doesn’t.’” (Moreno Vega) “Acting reciprocally. It sort
                                                                                similar material.” (Mesa-Bains)
of seems like going without saying, but reciprocity is the core of it.
You’ve got to ask yourself are you being reciprocal in those projects,          Growing the movement: “What do we do to grow this field,
in that way of working.” (Mesa-Bains)                                           and to make sure that the experiences we have are not [just]

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   47
our own, but experiences that others can have throughout                      before, and everyone knew it but us, and we needed to know
our society?” (Brown)                                                         what that past was before we plunged ahead into something,
                                                                              because sometimes you plunge ahead and you make a big
Interdisciplinarity: The capacity to study not only across different
arts and humanities disciplines, but also “across different cultures,         mistake.” (Mesa-Bains)
issues of globalism and the environment. … in order for a student             Saludos: “Do you know that in certain communities, when you go
in our art program to work in another community, they might                   in, there’s something called saludos? Which means you have to, like,
actually have to learn a second language, or at least enough to               say hello in a certain way, you can’t just say, ‘Hey, hi,’ you know, and
introduce themselves. They might have to know something about                 walk in the door. … You have to include the aesthetic and cultural
global and social equity.” (Mesa-Bains)                                       values of the community in the project goals.” (Mesa-Bains)
Intergenerational: “This life is an intergenerational, communal,              Service learning: Learning to serve by working in the community,
extended life.” (Mesa-Bains) “We really believe that there are a              and more — “an intersection of compassion, because you have to
group of people who really want to learn from their children and              have some ability to feel for others beyond yourself and whatever
their grandchildren. … Young people have stepped into the fray                comfort level you might have.” (Mesa-Bains)
and are teaching middle-aged, their peers and older people how
                                                                              Social-justice art: “The projects of artists and community members
to use [media] technology in a meaningful way.” (Brown)
                                                                              that, one, show concern and give voice to the poor, disadvantaged
Learning communities: “I would propose that in establishing                   and underserved, two, exhibit respectful diversity, three, promote
programs that have to do with the various communities that                    understanding across cultures, and four, empower communities in
comprise this nation, as we go out into public education and                  need.” (Brown)
cultural centers and other places, that we are very clear, that we
                                                                             Stories: “When you’re trying to work in community, the … glue
go as learners, that we don’t go as the expert.” (Moreno Vega)
                                                                              that sticks it all together is stories. Every community has its stories
Legacy: What has been left to us is just as important as what we             … those stories that come before us, the past predicts the future,
leave behind. “This is not new work. We stand on the shoulders                and seeing something moving across time, and understanding
of many people, and it goes back very, very far back. I mean                  the lives of the youth we serve.” (Mesa-Bains) “A lot of us live
in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, graffiti was often a call                 in situations where we believe that whatever our situation is, it
to activism. So, this notion of doing art that deals with issues              is the norm. And it’s really important that we hear about the
of social justice is not brand new, it is centuries old. So we are            people whose stories are not told on sitcoms. … The bottom line
continuing a legacy that many other artists have been engaged                 is that if we’re going to do art and social justice, we need to know
in for a very long time.” (Brown)                                             about the stories of all of the people living in this country. We
New thinking: “If you’re willing to be uncomfortable sometimes,               need to have a sense of what life is like in this country, because
if you’re willing to entertain something beyond your realm, then              if we don’t, we will allow policies to take place that will damage
you can get them [the institutions] to do it, and you will have that          people who are, in many ways, powerless.” (Brown) “Witnessing
capacity for what we call new thinking, renewed energy and the                means that you stand up and you see what something is, and you
spirit of collaboration.” (Mesa-Bains)                                        acknowledge in some way that you see that. And witnessing is a
                                                                              form of respect. (Mesa-Bains)
Norteño-sueño: “That means north-south, and it’s a way that
youth and gangs divide themselves. Norteños are American-born,                Linda Frye Burnham is a writer who specializes in community-
they identify as Chicanos. Sueños are identified with Mexico.” An              based arts. She is co-director (with Steven Durland) of Art in
example of a reality in a community that was there before you                 the Public Interest, in North Carolina, and the Community Arts
were. “You have to acknowledge the reality of the youth you serve             Network, on the Web. She was founder of High Performance
and the youth that you teach. Their reality is the thing that comes           magazine and co-founder of the 18th Street Arts complex and
in the room first. You’ve got to know it and feel for it before you            Highways Performance Space, in California.
give them the text, whatever it might be, the lesson, the book, the
example, the project, the film. You have to know who they are
first. Using the past to predict the future and seeing something
moving across time. We found that every community we worked
in, whether we work in the southwest or we’re in the middle
of Chicago, what we discovered was something that happened

                                           48       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
A Week-Long Immersion in the Activist
  Theory and Practice of Appalshop

      This essay is drawn from the California College of the Arts’ Conference
       session, “Appalshop: A Student Intensive Model in Community-
       Based Art,” co-facilitated by MacKenzie Fegan. In 2003, Professor
       Jan Cohen-Cruz and Appalshop’s Dudley Cocke created the NYU/
      Appalshop immersion program, and they have continued to mentor
       its participants. Special thanks to Dudley Cocke for the conversations
       about Appalshop’s history and about his own theory of social justice
       which informed both the conference’s session and this essay. The
       quotations cited in this article are from the final March 18th, 2006
       reflection circle at the most recent NYU/Appalshop immersion.

The NYU Tisch University Scholars Travel to Whiteburg, Kentucky –             The Scholars
Jamie Haft, New York University Tish School of the Arts Alumni
                                                                              The Tisch University Scholars Program began in 1965 at New York
Prologue                                                                      University as a recruitment tool. Students accepted into the program
                                                                              received a full scholarship and a free international vacation each year.
When excitedly preparing for our session at the California
                                                                              Administrators believed that admittance into this prestigious program
College of Arts’ conference, MacKenzie and I noticed a
                                                                              could be the decisive factor in a student’s decision to attend NYU.
contradiction. The theme of the conference was “Creating a
Vision for Art, Equity, and Civic Engagement,” and our case                   By 2002, it had become clear that NYU no longer needed such
study was the Tisch University Scholars Program’s weeklong                    a recruitment tool. The university was celebrating a steady rise
immersion at the activist Appalachian arts and humanities                     in applications, despite September 11th, and Newsweek was
center, Appalshop. Given the theme of the conference, it became               consistently ranking it the #1 dream school of high school
clear that the underlying theme of our presentation would be                  students. NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts had become the premier
the tension between an elite university program and the social                undergraduate arts program in the nation; its alumni included
justice principles of our immersion host, Appalshop.                          stars like Chris Columbus, Spike Lee, and Martin Scorsese. Tuition

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   49
hikes accompanied Tisch’s rising reputation; this year, the annual             and collective learning process is multiplied, a national movement
cost of attending Tisch is $50,000 plus.                                       for reform will develop and change society. This theory of change
                                                                               holds that such a movement can only be sustained when this
No longer needed to woo the best and the brightest,
                                                                               grassroots process of individual and collective learning continues
administrators and deans at Tisch began to ask, what purpose
                                                                               to inspire awareness and shape the plan of action. This bottom-up
should the Scholars Program now serve? And how could it be
                                                                               theory of change emphasizes that those who directly experience
restructured so participants shed the sense of entitlement that the
                                                                               a problem must make up the generative base for devising and
program once intentionally engendered? In the past five years, the
                                                                               enacting the problem’s solution.
Tisch Scholars Program has been refocusing on leadership training,
and the annual freshman class trip to Appalshop has become one                 The Immersion
of the most successful ways this refocusing has occurred.
                                                                               For the past three years, during the NYU spring break in March, a
                                                                               group of students and faculty from the Tisch Scholars Program
                                                                               have traveled to Whitesburg, Kentucky to participate in a five-day
                                                                               immersion in the activist theory and practice of Appalshop. The
                                                                               preparation for the immersion begins at NYU months before the
                                                                               trip when Appalshop’s Dudley Cocke facilitates a story circle in one
                                                                               of the Scholars’ weekly meetings. Cocke’s goal is to get students
                                                                               and faculty to think about their own cultural roots and identity.

The Activists
Appalshop, from Appalachian Workshop, began in 1969 when a
handful of young people – some still in high school – secured
funding from the federal “War on Poverty” to set up a filmmaking
program to help their working-class and poor families and
neighbors grapple with their region’s poverty. Through the 1980s
and 90s, Appalshop connected the struggle of Appalachia to the
struggles of other poor and marginalized communities across the
                                                                               Appalshop filmmaker Elizabeth Barrett’s Stranger with a Camera
United States, confronting a range of issues including race and
                                                                               is screened and discussed at another Scholars meeting prior to
class: cultural, gender, and sexual bias and stereotypes; human
                                                                               visiting Kentucky. The documentary investigates the circumstances
rights violations in the criminal justice system; and immigrants
rights and citizenship. The young activists’ passion for social,               around a cold-blooded murder in Letcher County, Eastern
economic, and cultural justice expanded to other artistic forms,               Kentucky in 1967, when a famous Canadian filmmaker, Hugh
resulting in the creation of hundreds of community-centered plays              O’Connor, was shot by a local man while he, an outsider, was
and numerous new grassroots theater groups, the production of                  filming the region’s poverty. Students are shaken by Barret’s stark
over two hundred documentary films and community-initiated                      narration in the film, in which she asks: “Can filmmakers show
radio projects; and the launching of programs to stimulate citizen             poverty without shaming the people we portray? I came to see
participation in social reform and policy change.                              that there was a complex relationship between social action and
                                                                               social embarrassment. As a local filmmaker, I live every day with
Appalshop believes that effective grassroots organizing for social
                                                                               the implications of what happened.”
justice begins small, with the individual. First, one discovers his
or her own truth of an issue, and then tests and develops that                 Students are also asked to study the Appalshop website
truth in dialogue with others. It is believed that if this individual          ( and to formulate several questions that

                                            50       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
the site’s content raises about their own future careers as artists.            staff and local folks. A majority of the meals during the immersion
Questions from last year include:                                               will be at the Café, which is a delight to most participants who
                                                                                can’t get enough of the homemade Tanglewood Pie! After
 • What is it like to be part of an intimate, creative
                                                                                supper, the group goes to Appalshop, for the first time, to get an
   environment so far from the main, widely known
                                                                                introduction to Appalachian culture on the Roadside Theater stage
   urban centers of artistic activity?
                                                                                with singer-songer-playwright Ron Short.
 • Can community-based work become too insular?
                                                                                LUCIA GRAHAMJONES, CLASS OF 2009:
 • How do others describe Appalshop’s place in the national
                                                                                      I remember the first night when we watched Ron Short.
   arts community?
                                                                                      I never really liked bluegrass at all – I hated it. I was just
 • Have their been any negative reactions to Appalshop?                               really glad to get to watch that performance, because it
   If so, why?                                                                        gave me a greater appreciation for it.
Finally by way of preparation, students and faculty are asked to                Before drifting off to sleep, students head to Food City, the
select a personally meaningful song or spoken word recording                    grocery store behind the motel. Marveling at how much more
to play and discuss on Appalshop’s radio station, WWMT, which                   reasonably priced the food is than in New York City, they stock up
broadcasts to parts of five states and streams live on the Internet.             on all kinds of goodies for the upcoming nights of friend-making
The trip to Kentucky begins before sunrise, when everyone travels               and philosophizing.
together to JFK airport, takes an airplane to Atlanta, and then                 ERICA TACHOIR, CLASS OF 2009:
transfers to a small propjet bound for Tri-Cities, Tennessee. From                    Thursday night we had been up really late working on our
Tennessee, the group caravans for several hours through the                           projects, and everyone decided that it was sleep night,
mountainous coal fields of southwest Virginia before reaching                          and that we’d hang out tomorrow. We had this really long
                                                                                      day, so we were drained. I went back to the room with
  “A lot of people have been saying that                                              Lipica and Rochelle, physically exhausted and determined
                                                                                      to go to bed… but then, we started to talk about what
   they liked the sense of community,                                                 this experience meant to us. We sat there so fired up. It
                                                                                      wasn’t girl talk about boys or anything. We were talking
   and that’s my favorite thing about                                                 about how this place inspired us and how we want to do
                                                                                      something with this experience back at NYU.
   this week, too.”                                                             On the second day, before the sun has dried the dew, Herbie
                                                                                Smith, who joined Appalshop in 1969 as a teenager, takes a
Whitesburg’s Super 8 Motel. Freshmen Scholars quickly learn                     group in his van for a tour of the region, stopping for pictures
that Whitesburg is a dry town in a dry country, which adds an                   and to relate historical details about the coal mines and the
immediate disappointing twist to their first college spring break.               tightly-packed coal camps where the miners lived. The group
But because the Appalshop immersion is built around engagement,                 also visits the very place where the 1967 murder documented by
the experience will bond students more than any week of drinking                Stranger with a Camera occurred.
in Cancun.
                                                                                While Herbie’s tour is happening, another group of students and
NATE JONES, CLASS OF 2009:                                                      faculty is broadcasting on the radio, sharing their favorite songs
    A lot of people have been saying that they liked the sense                  and swapping stories with the Appalshop DJ. Upon learning that
    of community, and that’s my favorite thing about this                       two of his guests are musical theater majors, DJ Dee Davis calls
    week, too. I went to a high school where we had a strong                    for a song. Never shy about an opportunity to get discovered, the
    sense of community, so one of the things I don’t like about                 two students burst into a beautiful two-part harmony from one of
    NYU is that we don’t have one. But here, when you’re out                    their favorite Broadway shows.
    on the street, people say hi to you. And this week, we even                 Still a third group is participating in story circle training. The
    became a community within ourselves.                                        methodology of a story circle, which keys off the power of
Soon after settling into the Super 8, everyone heads to the                     traditional Appalachian and Scotch-Irish storytelling, was created
Courthouse Café to break bread for the first time with Appalshop                 by Appalshop’s theater wing, Roadside Theater. The rules of the

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   51
story circle are simple. The group sits in a circle, and each person                 admire how everyone here embraces their community.
tells a personal story based on a mutually agreed upon theme,                        It makes me want to go back to my home and do that.
such as experience with race or class. One person volunteers
                                                                               The immersion’s interlacing activity revolves around trips to
to begin, and the circle moves to the right. You can pass if you
                                                                               the Courthouse Café and meals prepared by Appalshop staff
aren’t ready to tell a story, and the opportunity to speak will
come back to you. Stories should have a beginning, middle and
end, characters, and maybe even conflict. No one can join the
story circle late, and everyone must participate. Even if someone
tells a controversial story, there is no cross-talking to respond;
participants must wait to respond through their own story.

Story circles have the immediate grounding effect of personalizing
something abstract. For example, I have trouble imagining what
residents in New Orleans felt like during Hurricane Katrina, but
I could tell a story about a moment when I felt displaced from my
home or comfort zone. Through telling a personal story, I am able
to better understand the stories of New Orleans residents.

                                                                               and community cooks. Imagine this: Beans – cooked in a big
“I’m thankful for my experience here                                           pot, transformed into soup – with cornbread for dipping – and
                                                                               homemade fudge for dessert, all enjoyed in folding chairs and tables
because I feel like I got to slow down                                         in a make-shift mess hall in the lobby of Appalshop. The burning
                                                                               question the local cooks have for their New York dinner guests:
and think about my life, in ways that I                                        Why in the world would anyone request vegetarian soup beans?

seldom find time to do in New York.”                                            Midway through the third day, the immersion moves into an
                                                                               intense 24-hour production phase.

The exploration of one’s personal narrative is important in                    Students and faculty divide into groups based on their interests.
grassroots work for several other reasons. It helps students to                In the most recent immersion, students had three options:
value their own identities more, and taking turns listening and                To team with Herbie Smith and Robert Salyer to make a video
sharing builds compassion for those who are different, helping                 biography about James Caudill, a much respected preacher and
each participant better understand his or her relative position                singer in the Old Regular Baptist Church; to collaborate with
in society.                                                                    local youth in the Appalachian Media Institute to create two
                                                                               video and two audio public service announcements – one to
SARITH DEMUNI, CLASS OF 2008:                                                  encourage young Appalachians to vote in the upcoming local
    In terms of what this place is doing with the tradition of                 elections, and the other to confront the rise in deadly drug use
    the area, it got me thinking about my roots. I was born in                 among local youth; or to work with Roadside Theater artists
    Sri Lanka, and I’m pretty far removed from that. I think I                 to devise a performance piece based on story circles. After
    should really start thinking about where I come from, my                   the groups pull an all-nighter to complete their projects, the
    people. I really don’t know much about it, and I’ve never                  production phase ends in a celebratory showing of the new work
    cared to learn until now.                                                  for all Appalshop staff and community participants.

ALICIA MATUSHESKI, CLASS OF 2007:                                              SEAN CALDER, CLASS OF 2008:
     I’m thankful for my experience here because I feel like I                       It’s a weird thing being from New York ... everyone thinks
     got to slow down and think about my life, in ways that                          identity is an individual thing, and if you’re not blazing
     I seldom find time to do in New York. I put this pressure                        your own path, tearing down traditions and creating
     on myself when I’m at school to reject my community                             something new, then it’s not worthwhile. Even people
     and my home. When I have the chance to write about                              who have influences try to like, claim it as their own. It’s
     it, I think, oh it’s not good enough for this class. I really                   this shameful thing to be a part of something, especially

                                             52      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
     at Tisch. It’s nice to see artists who are just naturally                   they are now ahead of their institution, and they quickly discover
     following in the tradition and in others’ footsteps.                        that the environment at NYU doesn’t nurture this kind of work. As
                                                                                 sadly noted by the conference’s opening keynote speaker Michael
SHAINA TAUB, CLASS OF 2009:                                                      Roth, President of California College of Arts: “The university is no
    I think that what Appalshop does is beautiful. Being a                       longer a place where one goes to access opportunity, but rather, is
    young artist in New York, in an environment such as we                       just a mechanism for preserving privilege.”
    are in at NYU, it can become very … the social lifestyle
    can become very judgmental, petty, material, very quickly.                   Dudley Cocke believes that universities can change in two ways:
                                                                                 from the top-down, with a dean, president, or provost committed
    In that environment a lot of the joy falls out of the work.
                                                                                 to social justice; or from the bottom-up, with students demanding
    Appalshop really reminds me that the joy coming out of
                                                                                 they get a different, more socially-responsible education. Those
    doing the work is why we do it in the first place.
                                                                                 working at the top of any hierarchy have the highest stake in
The immersion, which by now also become an exchange, closes                      preserving the hierarchy’s privilege, so the change may not easily
with the most popular event of the week: the potluck supper and                  occur from the top-down.
square dance at the Cowan Creek Community Center, which is
                                                                         If doing social justice work was a priority for students, they
naturally right beside a bubbling creek. At Cowan, community
                                                                         actually would be in a position to demand such change. In our
members of all ages are present, and students and faculty delight
                                                                         consumer society, students, as “buyers” of expensive university
in having the opportunity to cook and share one of their favorite
                                                                         degrees, could in theory purchase change – and the university, as
dishes made from ingredients bought at Food City. As the Old Time
                                                                        “seller,” would have to adapt its product to the market. However, it
band swells to as many as fifteen – including Tisch students and
                                                                         is psychologically difficult for students to be active in university
faculty – the crowd goes wild with two-stepping and storytelling.        politics. Many have had to take out large loans to attend school
In one corner, NYU students are recounting tales from their              and get their degree, which doesn’t even guarantee a job, so their
exciting city lives to bright-eyed local teenagers; in another corner, minds are often narrowly focused on just getting the training
Kentuckians under the age of eight are teaching NYU students the necessary to have some chance of success in the marketplace.
dance steps they can do in their sleep, rolling their eyes in disbelief
                                                                         There is one huge problem, however, that the present status
that university students can’t figure out
                                                                         quo is not taking into account: Outside the university, there
how to do the Virginia Reel.
                                                                         is an impending crisis. This crisis takes many forms, including
ANITA GUPTA, DIRECTOR OF THE                                             gentrification, the rising cost of real estate, environmental
TISCH SCHOLARS PROGRAM:                                                  degradation, racism, stark economic inequality, pandemic
     I had shared with some of you in one of our story                   disease, and global terrorism. For the arts, the specific crisis is
     circles about how uncomfortable I felt when I first got              elitism, which prevents artists from playing their historically
     here, thinking that my Indian-ness didn’t belong in                 important role of holding up a mirror to all of society. For the
     Whitesburg. I didn’t know how the week was going to                 arts, it is a silent crisis, as no one, including those affiliated
     evolve for me. But each day parts of me have opened up.             with university training programs, is acknowledging it as such.
     I had the opportunity to share so much with the people              For my art form, theater, the evidence of this elitism is found
     here, and had so many people take interest in who I am.             in audience surveys which consistently report that both the
     That all culminated in last night’s square dance – there            nonprofit and commercial theater audience is 80% white and
     were so many complete strangers who just came over                  overwhelmingly from the wealthiest 15% of the population.
     and talked to me! I felt like, wow, I guess in my own way           Not only are universities ignoring this rampant elitism, their
     I do belong here. I also just want to say to the Scholars –         practices are perpetuating it. If the gateway to becoming an
     I’ve had the chance to work with you in different subsets,          artist is now through a very expensive university degree, art
     story circles and projects, even just being in the van              will become increasingly exclusionary.
     together! It’s been incredible. I have so much respect and                  Elitism not only greatly reduces the talent pool upon which artistic
     regard for each of you. I honor you, and I’m going take                     excellence depends; it cripples the formidable role the arts can
     that back to New York with me.                                              play in a pluralistic society. The effects of elitism in the arts are
                                                                                 especially poignant now when we are fighting global terrorism,
The Implications:                                                                because the only credible path to world peace is through
The Tisch Scholars return from Appalshop enthused, ready to take                 increasing our tolerance and compassion for one another. It is a
on the world with their newly developed activist spirits. However,               role of the arts to help us find this compassion within ourselves.

                                                 Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   53
For the well being of humankind, the 21st century university
must address the role it is playing in preserving and perpetuating
elitism. Mindful of Appalshop’s theory of change, it is we who
are affiliated with universities who must implicate ourselves
in this problem and begin devising and enacting solutions. For
my student peers, we must become active in university politics,
knowing our tuition is the fuel that the university runs on.

I find hope in the democratizing efforts being spearheaded
by some inspired faculty and students at universities. At NYU,
the Tisch Drama Department offers a Minor in Applied Theater,
conceived and directed by Professor Jan Cohen-Cruz, who is
currently working to transform it into a major. The major would
include a studio specifically designed to train theater artists
committed to using their skills to further justice. Cohen-Cruz
also runs the Office of Community Connections, a clearinghouse,
which helps connect Tisch students to community engagement
opportunities in the city. In the past five years, the Tisch
Department of Art and Public Policy was formed, and it recently
created a socially-relevant core curriculum for all freshmen
undergraduate arts students: “Art and the World” and “The World
through Art.” In fall 2007, the Department will also launch a
Graduate Program in Arts Politics. And then, of course, there is the
ever-evolving Tisch Scholars Program. This year’s weekly sessions
are framed by the theme, “Paradigms of Privilege.” In retrospect,
had I not encountered such socially conscious curricula, I may not
have gained awareness of my own level of privilege, nor would I
have understood the opportunity my privilege offers me to fight
for social, economic, and cultural justice.

    There’s a phrase down here in the mountains that
    goes, “Don’t get above your raisin’.” You can imagine
    that in planning this NYU immersion some friends and
    neighbors have said, “Why are you messing around with
    an elite university in New York City? You know that a
    large part of our poverty here was caused by just such
    privileged institutions. Looks to me, son, that you’re
    trying to get above your raisin’.” I’ve responded, “Right,
    NYU is an elite institution with privilege, but that doesn’t
    mean that the people there have completely bought into
    that privilege. In fact, we often find that the students
    and faculty who visit us here care deeply about justice.”
    I think this weeklong immersion and exchange is
    evidence that this is not about copping to some sort of
    elitism. It’s not what you’ve come here for, and we at
    Appalshop thank you for that.”
Home, New Orleans?: Community
Arts Program Post-Hurricane Katrina

    Hurricane Katrina exposed, for the world to see, the limitations of
    established institutions – governmental and nonprofit – in responding
    immediately and effectively to community needs. What is less well
    known are the ways in which individuals organized at the grassroots
    level to help themselves where those institutions failed.

Shawn Vantree, Director Community Arts Program, Xavier                    coming. In the interim, individuals and churches organized to feed,
University of Louisiana Department of Art                                 clothe, and shelter people the Red Cross refused to help.
Hurricane Katrina exposed, for the world to see, the                      Even now, after Katrina, the most immediate and effective work in
limitations of established institutions – governmental and                rebuilding New Orleans seems to be happening at the grassroots
nonprofit – in responding immediately and effectively to                   level. Bureaucracy and sloth – primarily at the institutional
community needs. What is less well known are the ways in                  level – are slowing the pace of recovery. What role, then, is left
which individuals organized at the grassroots level to help               for an established institution like Xavier University to play in the
themselves where those institutions failed.                               restoration of New Orleans?
For instance, long before the National Guard began its                    For its part, Xavier’s Department of Art, through its Community
rescue operations, Louisianans took to the floodwaters in                  Arts Program, is assessing the way it works in community to
every bass boat, speedboat, and rowboat they could find to                 ensure that it is able to respond to community needs in ways
start helping their fellow citizens in New Orleans. For several           that are effective in light of New Orleans’ new reality. We have
weeks following Katrina, the Red Cross maintained a policy                had to come to terms with the fact that immediacy is not our
of denying assistance to evacuees who were not staying in                 strong suit. Universities are not built for speed. Typically, several
one of its shelters. This meant that anyone staying in a hotel,           layers of administration must approve projects before they are
with family members – even in shelters that were not official              implemented. What we do well, instead, is share funding (obtained
Red Cross shelters – could not get the help they thought                  in part because of our standing as a respected university), labor,
they would be getting from the Red Cross. The Red Cross                   and creativity with artists and organizations already working in
eventually reversed its policy, but that reversal was slow in             the community.

                                          Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   55
To illustrate, we began working this spring with the New Orleans               importance of home and communities coming together to build
Kid Camera Project, which was created by two local artists, Cat                a stronger New Orleans. Neighborhood collaborators include the
Malovic and Joanna Rosenthal, to address the psychological and                 NENA (Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association) Center,
emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning                   Martin Luther King Elementary School, Lakeview Baptist Church,
home to New Orleans. Through the use of photography, creative                  Ashe Cultural Center, the Economic Opportunity Center, and The
writing and mixed media, children from flooded neighborhoods                    Porch. Plans are to offer this course each spring.
explore their environment and express themselves, their stories
                                                                               We are still working out the logistics of our collaboration, but
and feelings with their friends. Cat and Joanna, as individual,
                                                                               the course and its related projects are generating excitement
concerned artists, started this project at a time when Xavier’s
                                                                               in the local community arts field. All who are involved with the
campus was closed for repairs and all but its basic operations
                                                                               project are committed to the idea that we can find new ways of
suspended. We were not in a position to act as quickly as the
                                                                               working together – institutions, artists, and community-based
founders of Kid Camera, but we have since committed, at their
                                                                               organizations – to effect change. In New Orleans, our survival and
request, to helping them sustain the good work they started.
                                                                               recovery depend upon our willingness to do just that.
Specifically, Kid Camera came to us seeking resources to ensure
that their work with youth in Gert Town, the neighborhood
where Xavier is located, would always be supported. In response,
we have developed an Advanced Photography service-learning
course to be offered each year in which Xavier students teach
basic photography and darkroom skills to Kid Camera youth.

                                                                              “All who are involved with the project
                                                                                are committed to the idea that
                                                                                we can find new ways of working
In fact, we are increasing our involvement in service-learning
because it offers, not only meaningful learning opportunities for
                                                                               together – institutions, artists, and
our students, but also opportunities to provide community arts
initiatives with the kind of stability that large institutions (despite
                                                                               community-based organizations – to
whatever short comings they may have) are able to give. Precisely
because universities have tremendous resources which they can
                                                                               effect change.”
use in support of community work, Xavier has partnered with
three other schools, Tulane, Dillard, and New York Universities, to
co-offer and co-teach ART 2600 Building Community Through
the Arts, a service-learning course with projects taking place
simultaneously in four New Orleans neighborhoods under the
umbrella title Home, New Orleans?. Students are working with
residents in the 7th and 9th Wards, Lakeview, and Central City to
create public art, installations, and performances to reflect the

                                             56      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
   We Interrupt Our Regular Programming (B.A. & M.F.A.) To Bring You This Announcement:

Arts Training Needs a Fixin
    for the 21st C. Not-So-Free Market

             “I wasn’t quite sure what I would encounter but the title was
              right in line with my own interests concerning arts education,
              who is (not) trained as an artist, and the function of art in
              contemporary society.”

Eugene Rodriguez, Visual Arts Instructor DeAnza College                       This Announcement: Arts Training Needs a Fixin” for the 21st C.
November 2006 I attended the symposium, “Crafting A Vision                    Not So Free Market”. The following is an excerpt.
for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement: Convening the Community                 In these Dickensian times, half the population of the world lives
Arts Field in Higher Education”, hosted by the Center for Art                 on less than $2 a day, and most of the art looks like moribund
and Public Life at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.           exercises from an expiring empire. Nearly half of all Latinos and
I wasn’t quite sure what i would encounter but the title was right            more than half of African Americans don’t even graduate from
in line with my own interests concerning arts education, who is               high school. Who gets to be an artist and who doesn’t because
(not) trained as an artist, and the function of art in contemporary           art programs have been eliminated so that many young people
society. The morning started off with an invigorating and sobering            don’t have any idea of what it means to be an artist. This is
plenary by Claudine Kinnard Brown and Marcel Diallo as well as                my concern and my fear. And what about the training that
a performance by Unity Lewis. Then came the workshops, which                  does occur? Is it too instep with the “free market”? I believe
focused on the mission of the Center for Public Art and Life and              so. This paper is not meant to be a fix-all but more to act as a
then jumped off from there. All the sessions I attended were so               wake up call with the intention of jump-starting conversations
inspiring and creative in the ways they elaborated on the topic of            about how to rethink arts training in the United States, from
the symposium. From Art in the Market to The Working Artist to                the community college to graduate school, with a focus on
then to New Collaborations, it was exciting to see so many people             promoting greater cultural democracy.
redefining “artist” and not “ostrich-izing” themselves off from the
larger world. At the end of the symposium i was encouraged by
all the people I met, the conversations and the work being done.              It seems peculiar that I’ve just recently fallen in love with art and
It also brought to mind a paper I delivered at the School of Visual           now it’s over. There has been a great deal written about the “end
Arts Annual Conference, “In the Global World: American Art and                of art” from Arthur Danto to Donald Kuspit and more recently,
Art Education” in New York in 2005. The paper was titled, “We                 John Updike, just to name a few. One of the first things that
Interrupt Our Regular Programming (B.A. & M.F.A.) To Bring You                strikes me about this phenomenon is that they’re all men and

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   57
all white. Now part of me knows that it is a generational thing            Access
to decry anything that the succeeding generations create as not
                                                                           Unfortunately this is not to be for young people in Oxnard, whose
as good as the previous one. How could it be, right? But while
                                                                           public schools are roughly 90% a combination of Mexican-
there are some points I tend to agree on with all of these critics,
                                                                           American, Chicano and Mexicano. Or for that matter, many other
one thing they never approach is the subject of class. And while
                                                                           public schools in this country. Jonathon Kozol’s latest book, The
a few, such as Robert Hughes, Julian Stallabrass, or Peter Timms
                                                                           Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling
do mention work outside the European canon, most of these
                                                                           in America, paints a very grim picture for K-12 public education
men rarely include critiques about art making practices by critics
                                                                           where the No Child Left Behind Act, with its emphasis on testing
such as Mari Carmen Ramirez from MFAH who is doing a lot of
                                                                           and underfunding, seems intent on churning out automatons.
writing about Latin@ and Latin American Art or George Yudice
                                                                           I believe this “blind vision” with the stated goals of students upon
or bell hooks (who has written extensively on art) or Elaine
                                                                           graduation being able to “compete globally”, is no real vision at
Kim, Margo Machida and Sharon Mizota, whose book on Asian
                                                                           all, just plain blind. And while I am not a conspiracy theorist,
American art is groundbreaking. Mostly we get Lucy Lippard,
                                                                           I do think it is an attempt to dismantle public education and dare
whose work I respect a great deal, but I wish the men would
                                                                           I say it , art programs. Since art cannot be scientifically “tested
broaden their horizons as well as begin to offer up critiques of
                                                                           and proven” to benefit society in “market” terms, it must go. Even
their own positions of power. Another fact that these men never
                                                                           though studies have shown that when art is used in education it
touch upon, because they only grumble about the sad state
                                                                           not only benefits the person but the many adjacent communities
of art in galleries or museums and only in large metropolitan
                                                                           that the artist comes in contact with. But more threatening
centers, is the disconnect between how art is taught (when
                                                                           I believe is that art teaches us to see differently, can broaden vistas
it is taught at all and increasingly not at all) in K-12 and the
                                                                           for young people, and can create dissent. But this does not happen
difference of how it is taught in college. This means community
                                                                           for all children enrolled in public schools in this country. In an
college, four-year schools and graduate schools, public or private.
                                                                           article in the October issue of Harper’s by Eilene Zimmerman titled,
I have had the privilege of attending all of these.
                                                                          “Class Participation”, the author points out the inequalities in our
Early Training                                                             public schools to levels almost equal to pre-1954 Brown vs. Board
                                                                           of Education, the law that did away with the “separate but equal”
If we begin to look back at how our artists are trained we need
                                                                           discriminatory practices in schools. She also points to the archaic
to go back to K-12. In looking back at my own public schooling
in Oxnard, which at the time was a small farming community                 practice of relying on property taxes for school funding as a major
in southern California in the 60’s, I would say I had an okay              cause for inequities in education. What has this got do with the
education. I remember finger painting in kindergarten, the men’s            arts? Well since art is one of the subjects along with music and
chorus in seventh and eighth grades and drama in the ninth.                sports, that seems dispensable and not really necessary, one would
And I would say that having David Penhallow as a teacher saved             think that all children would suffer equally. Not so. Enter your
my life. Not only did he teach drama but he also taught Film               Local Education Foundations or LEF’s. These are privately operated
Criticism, which was when the idea of film as an art form was               non-profits with the sole aim of assisting a school, several schools,
first planted in my mind. In that class we viewed films such as              or an entire school district. In California, where I come from,
Stagecoach, Patch of Blue, Citizen Kane, The Pawnbroker and                Proposition 13 passed in 1978, capped property taxes at
others. However, we didn’t just watch them. We studied them               1 percent and within a year cut tax revenues by 53 percent literally
for point of view, framing, director’s voice, genres and why               decimating art and music programs, physical education and new
Hollywood found them important to keep making. I would later               textbooks. Originally the LEF’s were started to aid poorer districts
come to recognize Sergei Eisenstein’s theories on film in his               but wealthier communities, particularly in the suburbs quickly
teaching. Wow! School finally had a purpose. Just as crucial here           began using the model to aid their own districts. You know where
was also the way Mr. Penhallow taught-he treated us like adults            this is heading-the inequalities have become more pronounced
not children. He never condescended to us; never spoke to us as            and the wealthier districts have art and music and sports. I see
though we didn’t understand concepts. He had a way – he was                this disadvantage in my own school, De Anza College situated in
a teacher. And his aim was to make us come alive and perhaps               the Silicon Valley. The school is in Cupertino, ten minutes from
fall in love with, what he loved about theater and film. It                 Stanford and mostly upper middle class white and asian. But more
worked. I now make films and paintings based around the ideas               and more students are coming from the east side of San Jose,
Mr. Penhallow planted as seeds in our young minds. I was only              which is primarily working class, and poor Latino. The students
twelve years old.                                                          from the immediate area are better prepared than those with

                                         58      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
no arts training. Now this isn’t to say that the San Jose students              This question is not new. Almost immediately after the passing
won’t step up to the bar but in a country that praises “equality for            of the Morrill Act of 1862, whose mandate was “to promote
all”, wouldn’t it be great if it were true.                                     the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes
                                                                                in the several pursuits and professions of life” there arose a
Current College Arts Education
                                                                                schism between how and who should be taught art and for
This brings me to speak of the current situation for the training               what purposes. Liberal arts education held that “the promise of
of artists at the college level. Whether it is the community                    knowledge, because it is shared, will unify both individual and
college or a four year institution, I think it is safe to say that in           culture: it will become understanding.” If the study of art was
the visual arts the training begins with drawing, 2-D Design, 3-D               to be deemed liberal for those who could attend these schools,
Design, Painting, Photography and Sculpture (variations on the                  it would have to be taught as history and never for the use of
Bauhaus and 19th C. education). Art history is also part of this                working or commercial purposes but merely for the purpose
picture—Intro to the visual arts (also known as visual culture                  of enlightening patrons. By 1893, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard,
in some schools), early art from “Prehistory” through early                     Princeton and Yale all offered graduate courses in the fine arts.
Christianity, Europe during the middle ages and the Renaissance,                The argument between whether an artist should be trained in
                                                                                isolation or exposed to the society around him continued into the
                                                                                twentieth century. With the end of WWII, soldiers returned home,
                                                                                took advantage of the G.I. Bill and went on to study art. This
                                                                                definitely increased the number of artists trained and who later
                                                                                went on to become teachers.

                                                                                But how did artists go from starving to being celebrities with
                                                                                their homes on the cover of Architectural Digest? Which brings
                                                                                us up to the present moment. At last count there were 375
                                                                                global biennials in the month of September alone. Of course
                                                                                this is sarcasm and not irony. But while it sounds preposterous,
                                                                                it does convey my sentiments about the current situation in

Europe from the Baroque through Impressionism, Europe and
the U.S. from Post-Impressionism to the Present, and then
something like Contemporary Issues in Art. At my school we also
offer multicultural art history classes, but here African American
Art, Latino/Chicano Art, Native American and Asian American Art
have all been lumped together. I should say that we also have a
few classes such as Arts of Asia, Women in the Arts, and Public
Places/Private Spaces in American Art. Our Art History program is
actually quite strong for a community college due to two fantastic              the arts. Everybody wants to be a star, from curators, galleries,
people, Elizabeth Mjelde and Catie Cadge-Moore. In the studio                   and collectors and of course, artists who sometimes are also
classes, “the Fine Arts”, the emphasis is placed on originality and            “teachers”. My question is “When all of the above are only
the individual. Rarely mentioned is the subject of where this                   concerned about being famous and will do anything do achieve
training will be put to use. In addition to this, our school has a              it, doesn’t that sound like prostitution”? Daniel Boorstin in
large majority of “graphic design” majors. And here is the “pyramid             his pathbreaking book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo Events
scheme” as termed by Karen Kitchel in a 1998 article in Art Papers.             in America, puts forth the idea, among many, of “the blurring
Where will all of these artists find employment?                                 of reality with fiction” and also the idea of a celebrity as a

                                                Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   59
 person “ being known for his well known-ness”. Jump forward                  effort bridging disciplines. This year Brian Murphy, the president
 and translated in today’s jargon—Bling, Bling! Today we can                  of De Anza College, has initiated a campus-wide project that aims
 see each other immediately on the Internet. We can take a                    to foster “excellence, equity and enrollment” at our college. I am
 picture of something and send it to the other side of the world.             fortunate to be part of this task force (along with many other
 We can play the video game, Halo 2, with someone else in the                 dedicated faculty, staff and students) titled, “Civic and Community
 world while sitting in our living room. The world has definitely              Engagement”. The project builds on programs that have been
 changed. And it would be easy to blame it all on a degenerate                ten years in the making and have worked to produce equity
 contemporary culture. Not so fast. I would put forth that                    among our student body regarding proficiency in all subjects,
“globalization” and its effects are a result of neoliberalism. Lisa           transfer numbers, and support services for all our students, but
 Duggan, author of The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism,                  in particular our first generation college students. In our art

   “Now I don’t want to slide off the cliff of rationality into the abyss of
    cynicism but I do worry about what we are modeling for our students
    and demonstrating to society as people in the arts.”
                                                                              department, we have worked hard to bring a “multicultural-global
Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy, illuminates this
                                                                              perspective” to the curriculum. This has not been easy. Change is
subject more clearly than anyone I’ve read. She states in short “
                                                                              hard especially when it involves re-thinking worldviews and how
the pro-business activism of the late twentieth century aims to
                                                                              our own positions and professions relate to them. I want to share
dismantle the limited welfare state (shaped by the New Deal)
in order to enhance corporate profits”. She continues, “from                   with you two courses from our department that address these
the 1970’s this project further developed and reconstructed                   topics. The first is “The Artist in Contemporary Society: Connecting
the everyday life of capitalism, in ways supportive of upward                 Theory and Practice”, that my colleague, Elizabeth, and I developed
redistribution of a range of resources, and tolerant of widening              together. It challenges the students to think about the world and
inequalities of many kinds”. I would add that the side effects of             their place in it and then asks the question of what kind of artist
these policies, with their unrealistic model of the individual as             will they be? The students read about art, write on art, and have
paramount, actually coerce a society into believing that there                small and large discussions on art as well. They also make art in
is no need for a safety net thereby exacerbating the effects of               a group, with a community and solo to acquaint them with the
alienation and isolation. The current biennial spectacles which               different roles assigned to an artist in society. For this class I have
stress celebrity, is just one way to put a nice veneer on all of              drawn on the writings of Mary Jane Jacob, Carol Becker, Howard
this and make it sexy for the general public but especially young             Singerman, Karen Mary Davalos, Tricia Rose, and Joost Smiers to
artists in school. More Bling-bling! Now I don’t want to slide off            name a few. All of these people are critiquing the current state
the cliff of rationality into the abyss of cynicism but I do worry            of the arts but are also putting forth ideas to re-invigorate how
about what we are modeling for our students and demonstrating
                                                                              art can make a difference. The second class, which I am currently
to society as people in the arts. How can we continue to delude
                                                                              developing, is “Art and Community: Democracy in Action”. This
ourselves that what we see in art magazines, pick any of them,
                                                                              course will prepare students for civic engagement through the
don’t really address our age of uncertainty and turmoil. I repeat,
                                                                              traditional art practice of mural making. Throughout the process
half the population of the world lives on less than $2 a day. Do
                                                                              of researching and creating the mural, I and the De Anza students
we really believe that by deeming some artists as superstars and
having them globetrot to another biennale actually accomplishes               will serve as mentors to a nearby high school that has a large
something related to artmaking? I think not. But how do we go                 Latino population and provide a positive introduction to the
about remedying this situation?                                               college experience. Later we plan to develop projects involving
                                                                              digital photography, film, theater, and dance. Now I realize that
Art Ain’t What It Used To Be – But It Still Has                               neither of these classes is groundbreaking. The School at the Art
The Power To Transform                                                        Institute of Chicago and the California College of the Arts in
These are big challenges and if major changes in the training and             Oakland as well as others have similar offerings. But I think a big
education of artists is to occur they must be institutional. I believe        difference (along with tuition costs) is that in many schools the
these shifts in thinking must also be part of a larger concerted              emphasis is still put on the gallery/museum path as the ultimate

                                            60      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
for a “real artist”. After all who wouldn’t want to be famous—but              and political spectrum are trapped together in a lifeboat after
at what price?                                                                 a Nazi U-boat attack. The scene which comes to mind is one
                                                                               in which Tallulah Bankhead, who plays a sophisticated writer,
I now return to the “end of art”. What it looks like may have
                                                                               seems more interested in keeping her mink and lipstick fresh.
changed but the machine that promotes it hasn’t. The first
                                                                               Begrudgingly she offers up her expensive gem studded bracelet,
example I would cite is Eli Broad’s, a housing developer magnate,
                                                                               given to her by a gentleman friend, as a lure in hopes of catching
donation of his art collection to LACMA and his commitment
                                                                               a fish for all of them to eat. Unfortunately the bracelet falls into
to build a new contemporary wing with the stipulation that the
                                                                               the ocean and her first reaction is shock and then horror. However,
building don his name. The second example is Mr. Brioda’s, also
                                                                               she slowly comes to realize that they are all in the same boat
a housing developer magnate, donation of his art collection to
                                                                               together and material things don’t really matter at that point.
New York’s MoMA. There will be an exhibit of the collection in
                                                                               I think we all need to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror,
2007. What are the rules for tax deductions pertaining to art?
                                                                               check our values, then offer up our “gem studded bracelets” and
And whom did the two moguls consult with regarding their art
                                                                               get to work. The lifeboat is taking on water and it will sink if we
purchases? Doesn’t all of this seem like insider trading? Here
                                                                               do not act fast. Thank you.
I would cite Chin-tao Wu’s, Privatizing Culture: Corporate Art
Intervention since the 1980’s as essential reading on the subject.
In the book, Wu states that “since the 1980’s, corporate art
collections have been set up with increasing frequency on both
sides of the Atlantic.” She goes on to say that “They have also
successfully transformed art museums and galleries into their

own public-relations vehicles, by taking over the function, and
by exploiting the social status, that cultural institutions enjoy in
our society.” I think we are at a moment when we need to decide
which is more important—to have our 15 minutes of fame (which
some people have had 15 hours) or work to assure that being an
artist and the ability to re-envisage it, is open to as many people
as possible. I do believe art has the power to transform lives and
communities, but only when the definition is broadened beyond
the confines of corporations looking to appear altruistic in the
public’s eyes.

In closing, I am reminded of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1944 film, Lifeboat,
based on a story by John Steinbeck. It is an allegory of the world
conflict in which a group of people representing a wide cultural

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   61
                                             Campus–Community Partnerships:

Supporting or Destroying
        the Field of Community Arts?

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD, Vice President Diversity &                        educators were drawn together around the idea of action in
Strategic Partnerships Wesleyan University (former Director                   community or civic engagement combined with reflective learning
Center for Art and Public Life                                                practices. In the academy we witnessed these movements through
Community Arts as a practicing field of community-based                        Ethnic Studies, African American Studies, Chicano Studies and
organizations working with artists has existed independently of               Asian Studies departments. The combination of community action
higher education but not without impact to or from the academy.               with learning connected service in communities to social justice
Art movements have influenced the development of art schools                   and transformation. Also known as civic engagement, action
and colleges, supported the efforts of social movements, and                  inquiry and community-based learning, this new pedagogy drew
illustrated civil- and humanrights activities. Through critical and           in higher-educational institutions through the stimulus of federal,
thorough examination of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the                     state and local funding to colleges and universities engaging in
Harlem Renaissance, the Black and Chicano Arts Movements and                  this work.
currently the Hip Hop Movement, one can witness how artists                   The Corporation for National Community Service, a federal
and community activists have collaborated in ways that connect                funding agency in Washington D.C., has a mission to improve lives,
social justice, equity and diversity to ideologies and identity               strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through
representation that are profound and revealing.                               service and volunteering. This is done through specific programs
                                                                              Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Service America. Learn
Financial resources have always lagged behind these movements.
                                                                              and Serve America provides grants to schools, higher-education
Artists have been and continue to be incredibly resourceful when
                                                                              institutions and community-based organizations that engage
it comes to mounting an exhibit, installing public art, publishing,
                                                                              students, their teachers and others in service to meet community
or producing a performance. They lead philanthropic efforts by
                                                                              needs. Multi-year funding from this program supports campus-
producing the new avant-garde, delivering the next contemporary
                                                                              community partnerships nationally. California College of the
aesthetic, and creating pop culture icons that subsequently
                                                                              Arts benefited from Learn and Serve America through sequential
become corporatized and comodified. Once artists create the
                                                                              funding to establish the Center for Art and Public Life as a local
next new best thing, funding agencies launch new initiatives
                                                                              convener of campus-community partnerships using a service-
and philanthropers allocate funding. The next phase becomes the
                                                                              learning pedagogy and civic-engagement framework. The
expectation that the artists/arts organizations will sustain the level
                                                                              Corporation also connected many institutions to local Campus
of financial support without continued funding or resources from
                                                                              Compact organizations. Campus Compact is a national coalition of
funders by building internal capacity.
                                                                              college and university presidents committed to the civic purposes
Campus-community partnerships gained recognition with the                     of higher education. To support this civic mission, Campus
emergence of the servicelearning field of study. The 1960s and                 Compact promotes community service that develops students’
early ‘70s gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, the War on                 citizenship skills and values, encourages collaborative partnerships
Poverty and the antiwar movement. Both the community and                      between campuses and communities, and assists faculty who
academy were stages for protest, civil disobedience and radical               seek to integrate public and community engagement into their
ideologies about how to make change. Community activist and                   teaching and research.

                                           62       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
In 1999, the Lilia Wallace Foundation funded a consortium of six              100 FAMILIES OAKLAND:
art colleges and their community partners who serve youth. This                Art & Social Change
consortium became identified as the Community Arts Partnership
                                                                               In 2004, F. Noel Perry, founder of 100 Families Oakland: Art &
Institute (CAPI) and the partnerships were known as the
                                                                               Social Change, and the California College of the Arts Center
Community Arts Partnerships (CAP). CAPI facilitated the sharing
                                                                               for Art and Public Life (Center) partnered to launch the 100
of successful strategies and supported the work through annual
                                                                               Families Oakland Project. The mission of 100 Families Oakland
convenings and workshops, technical assistance, sponsorship
                                                                               is to enliven the creative spirit and celebrate the power of
of site visits and peer mentoring, Web site development and
                                                                               families and neighborhoods in Oakland through the inspiring
maintenance, and publications. The institutions involved in this
partnership included: Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA),                and transformative process of making art. This is done by
Columbia College Chicago, California State University Monterey                 engaging families in making art and sculpture centered on the
Bay, Xavier University of Louisiana, Cooper Union and Institute for            theme of family in order to achieve a better understanding of
American Indian Arts.                                                          self, family and community. Through involvement in a creative
                                                                               and imaginative process, participants have the opportunity to
This began a new initiative in funding community-campus
                                                                               envision possibilities, environments and types of relationships not
partnerships whose work was not only with community social-
                                                                               previously considered. In the long term, through involvement in
service agencies, but who also worked with art organizations.
                                                                               a common project where new possibilities are envisioned, diverse
Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the
                                                                               groups around the city can build stronger connections among
Arts, Irvine Foundation and others continue to support this
                                                                               themselves and with community leaders, increasing the capacity
work. One problem with this new model can be seen as college
                                                                               of these groups to jointly solve problems facing their communities.
and universities increase their funding to work with community
organizations, specifically cultural art organizations, there is also           The pilot year of the project, January 2005 through April 2006,
a simultaneous decrease in funding for cultural art organizations.             brought together 25 to 30 families per site at the East Oakland
It is conjecture on my part to say that funding for community-                 Youth Development Center, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Unity
based activity is being diverted to the academy through service                Council’s Fruitvale Transit Village and the M. Robinson Baker YMCA,
learning and campus-community partnerships that are initiated by               hosted by the Attitudinal Healing Connection in West Oakland
the academy. As we [higher education] train our students to work               to take art classes and create paintings, drawings and sculptures
in the community, we have to bear witness to our community                     centered on themes and issues of importance to each family.
partners experiencing funding setbacks and, in some cases, closure.            There was a curricular component in which artists were selected
                                                                               to develop art workshops that would engage families, encourage
Three Major Initiatives
                                                                               collaboration between family members and neighbors, and create
I will discuss three major initiatives that I participate in that
                                                                               art works that could be shown in exhibitions in various venues
examine and critique campus community partnerships on three
                                                                               in Oakland. The exhibitions celebrated the power of family, the
levels, local, state and national/international. The local initiative,
100 Families Oakland: Art & Social Change, originated in Oakland,              creative spirit of Oakland, and what art can mean to a community
California, in 2004 to engage families and neighbors in the                    in terms of connecting families and neighborhoods.
process of making art to encourage human engagement and civic
                                                                               Building Collaborations from the Ground Up
participation. In 2002, I became an active participant in California
                                                                              During the 100 Families pilot year, the major task was to create
Campus Compact, a membership organization of colleges and
                                                                              a collaborative process with organizations and agencies that had
universities who utilize service learning in supporting community
                                                                              not previously worked together. This situation warranted the
service through partnerships and collaborations. The national/
                                                                              commitment and cooperation of many individuals collaborating
international initiative is Voices from the Cultural Battlefront:
Organizing for Equity, a 20-year conversation through conferences,            to achieve a common goal and to accommodate the needs of
meetings and a publication, about the role of art and culture in              100 families and more than 500 individuals. While, the process
the struggle for human rights, social justice, cultural equity and            of implementing the 100 Families Oakland project was daunting
policy, and for a healthy natural environment. My participation in            at times, a core team of individuals worked extraordinarily well
this dialogue began in 1991 and continues through the present.                together due to sound knowledge, insights and connections,
All of these initiatives have shaped my politics and core values              which resulted in a firm platform to build the project and
about art, education, community and civic engagement.                         move it forward.

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   63
There were various leadership components, individuals and                     It is the goal of the 100 Families Oakland Project through the
organizations that participated to ensure the success of the project.         Center for Art and Public Life to continue the work in subsequent
The primary project team consisted of three individuals — founder             years with the same Oakland neighborhoods, while adding new
F. Noel Perry; myself, project manager; and exhibition manager                communities, leading to sustained art making and community
Cherie Newell — who collaborated on every aspect of the project               involvement among families, neighborhoods and communities.
and brought together additional individuals and organizations                 However, building partnerships is easier than sustaining them,
during planning and implementation phases. A planning group was               especially if the funding is going to and through the college.
assembled by the founder to assist in developing the foundation               While all the partners benefited financially during the 100 Families
and initial template for the project. A leadership council was invited        implementation phase, the program has yet to show an impact on
to assist in fundraising and act in an advisory capacity. A half-
day planning charrette was hosted at the Oakland Museum to
introduce the project to community artists and activists who
would focus the planning process on real issues affecting Oakland
residents and neighborhoods. Host sites were selected that
represented diverse constituents in Oakland and had expertise

                                                                              community institution building and sustainability. As community
                                                                              organizational sustainability was not an initial objective for the
                                                                              program, it has become an issue as the collaboration relies on
                                                                              community-based art organizations. The leadership council is
                                                                              now examining how the program can be sustained within the
                                                                              community incorporating the college as a partner, not necessarily
                                                                              as the main partner. Some funders have agreed to continue support
in developing and implementing community activities with art                  for the program whether or not the college is the anchor partner.
components. A group of artists were hired to work with the families           The group is currently examining how to integrate 100 Families
to create artwork and build social networks. Finally, a group of              Oakland into a comprehensive citywide arteducation model that
individuals with expertise in design, photography, filmmaking,                 would use collaboration as the overall leadership model.
marketing and public relations, fundraising and exhibit installation
added the missing components needed in professionalizing and
                                                                              California Campus Compact
sustaining the project.                                                       In order to assess and understand the needs of community
                                                                              partners and the impact of service learning on the relationship
New partnerships with the City of Oakland Office of Parks and
                                                                              between university and community, the Center for Art and Public
Recreation, United Way of the Bay Area, the Annie E. Casey
                                                                              Life participated in Community Voices: A California Campus
Foundation’s Making Connections and Alameda County Office                      Compact Study on Partnerships (April 2007). California Campus
of Education Arts Active Parents Project have engaged new                     Compact, formed in 1988 as an association of colleges and
participants by bringing the 100 Families Oakland Project to                  university leaders in California, supports more than 60 member
recreation centers, schools and additional community-based                    institutions of higher education as they develop strategies to
organizations throughout the City of Oakland. The Center                      integrate community service learning and academic study. In
also strives to engage past participants in order to deepen its               December 2004, I participated in a two-day retreat with eight
relationships with neighborhoods and sustain art making among                 other universities to assess our community-partnership structure
these families.                                                               and develop tools to address how to better provide services

                                           64       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
in an equitable and collaborative way. What was realized at                          for feedback, reflection, appreciation and evaluation,
the retreat was that our conversation was void of a critical                         and that evaluation should be built in at the inception
component – partner input. None of the partners were a part                          of partnership projects. Successful partnerships that
of the conversation, so the information was “one-sided.” One of                      are sustained over time are effective – at a time when
the next steps identified was to create a process for community-                      resources are scarce, it is important that partnerships
partner input.                                                                       get “twice the work done in half the time” rather than
                                                                                     creating twice the work. Learning to navigate the various
Spring 2005 provided this opportunity. Sponsored by the
                                                                                     bureaucratic structures of the partner organizations
California Campus Compact, 99 community partners in California
                                                                                     involved can be challenging.
participated in 15 focus groups to examine their understanding
of service learning, mutual benefits and reciprocity of benefits for                   Because of their commitment to participating in the
the community partner. Eighteen of CCA’s community partners                          education of college students, some partners wish to
participated in the focus groups. The feedback that pertains to the                  participate more fully in orchestrating the learning
Center for Art and Public Life is summarized as follows:                             experience in the future. They would especially
                                                                                     appreciate more feedback on what students have learned
    The community partner participants in the focus group
                                                                                     through their service experience. The college may also
    at CCA demonstrated a tremendously deep commitment
                                                                                     wish to strengthen the important role they play in acting
    to and practice of co-educating college students and
                                                                                     as a convener of arts partners, to continue to deepen
    the potential for creating a more just society through
                                                                                     the many relationships they have already cultivated
    campus-community partnerships. Because most of these
                                                                                     with them, and to consider together how the group
    partners are directly involved with cultivating the arts
                                                                                     might build on effective characteristics of partnerships
    through education in society as well as furthering arts
                                                                                     community partners outlined. While the heart of a
    education for the purposes of social transformation,
                                                                                     good partnership is based on informal relationships,
    they come to the partnership table in solidarity with the
                                                                                     these partners indicate that written agreements, MOUs
    goals of California College of the Arts. Most participants
                                                                                     [memoranda of understanding] and other “paper
    expressed that both sides of the partnership – community
                                                                                     infrastructure” are helpful as guides. It may be important
    and campus -- are all working for the same goal, rather                          for this campus to note that while they expressed a deep
    than each party seeking institutional self-interests that                        commitment to the goals of service learning the term
    are separate. The theme of social justice and individual                        “service learning” did not resonate particularly strongly
    and societal transformation through the arts and                                 with this group.
    education was particularly strong. Many expressed the
    desire that college students will be inspired to be lifelong               The focus groups yielded valuable comments that included
    learners, activists and artists and that participating in                  our partners’ experience and perspective on motivations and
    campus-community partnerships is a way for them to                         benefits of the community-campus partnership. While partner
                                                                               organizations agreed that doors were opened providing new
    contribute to the cause of social justice as well.
                                                                               resources, opportunities and access to new information and
     The heart of the partnership experience is the                            future trends in industry, they also examined the challenges such
     relationships that are cultivated through open                            as partner equity and contested the meaning of service learning.
     communication and friendship. A hallmark of “getting                      Promoting equity and social justice was of major importance.
     the partnership started” is taking the time to learn one
     another’s work cultures, strengths, weaknesses and                              I do believe education is one of the major inroads to
     institutional constraints, and developing a sensitivity to                      try to create that equity. And I would say that it is
    “institutional equity,” particularly when larger and smaller                     imperative that campus-community partnerships are
     organizations partner together. They reflected that                              about that goal. Yeah, everybody. Higher-education
     there are many personal benefits for their involvement                           organizations should have that public education facility
     in the campus partnership, including personal growth,                           to the community in a way that allows that this is a
     developing satisfying personal relationships with                               model. In our case, we had high school students or
     staff, faculty and students, and strengthening the arts                         kids that are planning to drop out or have dropped
     network and “social capital” in general. They stressed                          out or are drug dealers or are rehab people, and they
     that characteristics of healthy partnerships include room                       may not even live [in the target neighborhood] but are

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   65
     being recommended to come and participate [in this                        Ky.; Olga Garay, Department of Cultural Affairs Los Angeles,
     university-sponsored program]. It is an opportunity for                   Calif.; Kalamu ya Salaam, Listen to the People Project, New
     them to be able to enter a system that they might not                     Orleans, La.; Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, Center for Art and Public
     be able to enter, period. But until these partnerships                    Life, Oakland, Calif.; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder, Sweet
     continue to happen, we won’t be able to scale that                        Honey in the Rock, Washington, D.C.; Amalia Mesa-Bains,
     change. It can create the equity that we hope will                        California State University Monterey Bay, Calif.; Tonya Gonnella
     happen. We’re investing in the equity that we hope                        Frichner, American Indian Law Alliance, N.Y.; Peter Pennekamp,
     we’ll see happen.                                                         Humboldt Area Foundation, Calif.; Claudine Brown, Nathan
                                                                               Cummings Foundation, N.Y.; E’Vonne Coleman-Cook, Duke
    – CCA Partner
                                                                               University, N.C.; Caron Atlas, Center for Civic Participation, N.Y.;
 The published report of the California Campus Compact,                        and John Kuo-Wei (Jack) Tchen, New York University, N.Y. Recent
“Community Voices,” was released in April 2007. Of notable                     conveners of the dialogue include Marinieves Alba, International
 importance to the Center was the recognition of characteristics               Hip-Hop Exchange (IHX), N.Y.; Jamie Haft, Imagining America,
 of effective partnerships, and benefits for community partners                 N.Y.; Maurice Turner, Highlander Center, Tenn.; Carlton Turner,
 and student. The process of community-campus partnerships that                Alternate ROOTS, Miss.; Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Third World
 began in 2004 in part led to the development of the Community                 Majority, Calif.; and Nick Szuberla, Appalshop, Ky.
 Arts BFA at the California College of the Arts. The Community
                                                                               A result of an earlier dialogue was a publication, “Voices from the
 Arts major is an interdisciplinary, community-based approach
                                                                               Battlefront: Achieving Cultural Equity” (1993), which documented
 to creative practice. This major explores ways artists interact,
                                                                               the spirit and thinking of the early convenings, especially two
 collaborate and intervene in a variety of social networks with the
                                                                               international conferences, “Cultural Diversity Based on Cultural
 aim of building sustainable community relationships, engaging
                                                                               Grounding,” hosted by the Caribbean Cultural Center: Africa
 cultural diversity and stimulating social transformation. Students
                                                                               Diaspora Institute in New York City in 1989 and 1991. The book
 study the history of community arts and draw from a wide
                                                                               is a collective call to action by African American, Latino, Asian
 range of cultural theories and practices in art, critical studies, art
                                                                               and Native American cultural workers, scholars, activists and
 education, service learning and civic engagement. Encouraged to
                                                                               artists towards political, social, economic and cultural equity and
 experiment with new genres, mediums and technologies, students
                                                                               community change.
 create their own set of hybrid practices, adding new thinking
 and ideas to the field of community arts. Students can choose                  This political and cultural dialogue was initially conceived of and
 a specific methodology of practice that includes: art education,               hosted by Marta Moreno Vega, founder and president of the board
 studio practice, community engagement and/or arts management.                 for The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center in New York.
                                                                               The momentum gained through this ongoing conversation has
                                                                               produced forums and meetings in various cities in the U.S. and
Organizing for Equity                                                          abroad. Most important, it has elevated the discourse on cultural
The final initiative that has provided me with the most consistent              policy and equity in disenfranchised communities using cultural
and longstanding engagement in the area of civic engagement is                 organizing as the framework.
Voices from the Cultural Battlefront: Organizing for Equity. Voices
                                                                               Voices from the Cultural Battlefront represents artists and
is an ongoing 20-year national and international conversation
                                                                               community activists who are locally based and who examine how
about the role of art and culture within the struggle for human
                                                                               global developments impact local community issues. Organizing for
rights, social justice, cultural equity and, most recently, for a
                                                                               cultural equity is the thread that represents joint commonalities
healthy natural environment. Hundreds of activists grounded in the
                                                                               in spite of obvious differences, i.e., language, social structures,
cultural life of their communities from all seven continents have
                                                                               religion and political beliefs. An outcome of the organizing effort
participated in these conversations. Joining together to address the
                                                                               is the development of the Cultural Equity Group (CEG), a coalition
right to culture and the impact of global free-market capitalism
                                                                               of cultural arts organizations and artists working for the equitable
on this right, participants have represented a variety of disciplines,
                                                                               distribution of funds and resources to assure that under-resourced
including art, youth services, education, health and more.
                                                                               and under-served emerging and mid-sized organizations grounded
The forums have been convened by a core group of U.S. artists                  in the culture and arts of their communities are fairly funded. The
and community organizers, including Marta Moreno Vega,                         objective of the CEG is to stabilize the field, providing necessary
Caribbean Cultural Center, N.Y.; Dudley Cocke, Roadside Theater,               technical assistance and program management resources to assure

                                            66       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
the continued growth of the cultural arts field. Marta Moreno Vega,            In 2007, Voices from the Cultural Battlefront forums were
Caribbean Cultural Center, is using the Voices economic analysis to           held at New York University, June 8-9, as part of the 30th
propel this effort forward.                                                   anniversary celebration of the Caribbean Cultural Center,
                                                                              and in New Orleans, December 6-7, as part of the National
The Caribbean Cultural Center (CCC), founded 30 years ago as
                                                                              Performance Network’s national
part of an extraordinary period of social, political and cultural
development that took place in the United States, and which                  conference. These forums focused on the impact of global
directly led to the founding of a number of community-grounded               free-market capitalism on human rights, local community life
cultural organizations, is and has been at the forefront of this             and the natural environment. In 2008, the dialogue continues
movement toward cultural equity. CCC has laid a foundation                   at Maryland Institute College of Arts in Baltimore, Md., as part
based in the Civil Rights Movement, which brought a heightened               of the Community Arts Convening & Research Project, March
consciousness to African Americans, Latinos/Chicanos, Asian/                 16-18; Intersections V in Amherst, Mass. at Creative UpRising(s),
Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, as well as cultural workers           April 4-6; and will continue at Alternative ROOTS Annual
and artists who saw the value of knowing and owning one’s                    Meeting in Arden, N.C., August 5-10; and Imagining America in
own culture as an affirmation of group identity and worth. This               Los Angeles, Calif., October 2-4.
movement extends to organizations across the United States
including but not limited to San Francisco’s Galeria de la
Raza, Berkeley’s La Pena Cultural Center, Los Angeles’ Japanese
American Cultural and Community Center, Inner City Cultural
Center, The Watts Towers Cultural Center, San Antonio’s Carver
Cultural Center, Kentucky’s Appalshop and Roadside Theater,

                                                                              The simultaneity and force of these initiatives convinces me
                                                                              to commit further to the integration of community, education
                                                                              and the arts. In establishing the Center for Art and Public Life
                                                                              at the California College of the Arts from 2000 to 2008, my
all of which grew out of communitygrounded ideals and social-                 focus has been to continually challenge both the institution
justice movements, resulting in pioneering groups that are now                and the community in defining what enables transformative
reaching their 30th year anniversaries. Simultaneously, there exists          change and how education integrates with art and community
a younger group of cultural organizations that are rooted in their            in producing and sustaining that change. The Center’s mission
communities and continuing the struggle for cultural equity and               is to create community partnerships based on creative practice
self-determination. These organizations are between 10 and 25                 that serve the college and the diverse populations of Oakland
years old. Equally important is the recognition of the culturally             and San Francisco. The programs of the Center are now woven
grounded arts and cultural organizations that were not able to                across disciplines into the structure of the college and delivered
sustain operations due to decreased government and foundation                 through a variety of academic, professional, extracurricular, and
funding, conservative environments, the NEA cultural wars, and                experimental approaches.
infringement of freedom of expression imposed by U.S. Senators                Simultaneously, with an internal focus on the San Francisco Bay
with conservative ideologies.                                                 Area through partnerships and collaborations, the Center has also

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   67
participated in a national consortium of universities and colleges           examine and critique the service-learning pedagogy used in the
that are also committed to sustained educational practices                   academy and question the benefits and reciprocity to and for the
                                                                             community. In collaborations with the community, how are we
through the arts with identified community partnerships.
                                                                             cognizant of equitable distribution of funds, resources and capacity
California College of the Arts Center for Art and Public Life
                                                                             building between the academy and the community in planning,
and Maryland Institute College of Arts, Columbia College
                                                                             developing and implementing these partnerships? How do we
Chicago Office of Community Art Partnerships, California State
                                                                             ensure the long-term commitment of the academy in sustaining
University Monterey Bay, Xavier University of Louisiana Art
                                                                             these partnerships and not just using them for the semester that
Department, Massachusetts College of Art and Cooper Union
                                                                             the classes are offered or until the funding is depleted?
are hosting a series of national convening and discussions to
initiate and support the following: 1) to provide students, faculty          As educational institutions train and educate students for public
and community partners a variety of experiences through                      life and endeavors in art, culture, politics, community building,
different types of exchanges; 2) to broadly recognize the field of            health and economics, we must incorporate a pedagogy that
community arts for its contribution to the promotion of healthy              is inclusive of social justice, equity, other ways of knowing and
communities, engaging in work that builds on social justice and              mutual respect for communities that have been disenfranchised
equity, and links communities with artists and arts resources; 3) to         and silenced by mainstream dominate culture upon which the
build the capacity of community nonprofit organizations working               Western Academy has been built.
with artists, art institutions and diverse populations including
youth, elders and families; and 4) to develop and implement a
                                                                             CAP Institute (2005). Art/Vision/Voice Cultural Conversations in Community.
peer review process that critically examines curriculum,pedagogy,            Chicago, Ill: Columbia College of Chicago & Maryland Institute College of the Arts
practices, theories and projects of academic partners that support
                                                                             Cruz, N., Dwight, G. & Stanton, T (1999). Service-Learning A Movement’s
community arts.                                                              PioneersReflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Toward these goals, national consortiums of colleges and                     Manjon, S. (2007). 100 Families Oakland: Art & Social Change. San Francisco, CA:
                                                                             California College of the Arts
universities have successfully engaged in continuous gatherings
beginning with the Wallace Foundation funded Community Arts                  Sandy, M. (2007). Community Voices: A California Campus Compact Study on
                                                                             Partnerships Final Report. San Francisco, CA: Campus Compact
Partnership (CAP) Institute 1999 – 2003 which produced two
                                                                             Spitz, J.A, & Thom, M. (2003). P{ART}NERS Successful Strategies for Developing
publications: “p{art}ners Successful Strategies for Developing
                                                                             Artists and Youth. Chicago, Ill: Columbia College Chicago
Artists and Youth” (2003), and “Art/Vision/Voice: Cultural
                                                                             Vega, M. M & Greene, C.Y. (1993). Voices from the Battlefront: Achieving Cultural
Conversations in Community” (2005) a book of cases from CAP.                 Equity. New York: Africa World Press
The subsequent consortium, of which CCA’s Center for Art and
Public Life is a participant, has convened to continue the work
supported by earlier Wallace Foundation support, and is currently
supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. These convening
have included “Community Arts at a Crossroads: Where Do We
Go From Here?” which took place in New Orleans, La., June 2-3,
2006, hosted by Xavier University of Louisiana; “Crafting a Vision
for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement: Convening the Community
Arts Field in Higher Education” in Oakland and San Francisco,
Calif., November 2-4, 2006, hosted by the California College of
the Arts; the Community Arts Partnership Institute in Chicago, Ill.,
October 20-25, 2007 hosted by Columbia College Chicago; and
The National Community Arts Convening and Research Project in
Baltimore, Md., March 16–18, 2008, hosted by Maryland Institute
College of Arts.

As we continue the dialogue through cultural activism and art
production, we must also support community arts not only as a
field of study, but also as a call to activism through community
engagement and campus-community partnerships. We must

                                           68      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
“I came to California College of the Arts
(CCA) with no intention to work as an
artist, much less a community artist.
I was going to be an arts historian, a
curator, a dealer in the arts, an arts
lobbyist. I was interested in learning
how history through the arts brought
it to life; it provided a window into the
emotional struggles and celebrations of
past civilizations.”
                       Mia Braverman

                            Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   69
                             The Intergenerational Tango

      “As the conference opened with cocktails, for a moment we found
       ourselves star-struck. Excited to be clinking glasses with the big “who’s
       who” of community arts, we nearly got out our autograph books, until
       we realized – wait! We have a lot to offer this field, too!”

MacKenzie Fegan and Jamie Haft, Alumni, Tish School of the Arts,              Freireian teaching methods, students still must satisfy deans by
New York University                                                           taking tests and submitting academic essays, and they rarely
It’s a simple principle learned in kindergarten and one inherent              have a say in the types of curricula they are offered.
in community arts theory and practice: taking turns. We take                  The problem with this hierarchy becomes apparent when
turns leading and following, teaching and learning. It’s a principle          answering the provocative question Dr. Marta Vega posed in her
recently evidenced by the fact that we, two college seniors, had              keynote address: “What exactly is community arts?” The NYU/
the opportunity to lead a session for well-respected members of               Appalshop immersion, the subject of our conference session,
our field – many of whom, were we back at our universities, would              provides an answer: Community arts is when artists use their
be teaching us!                                                               skills to help the entire community pursue social, economic, and
                                                                              cultural justice. Because universities operate in a market economy,
 As the conference opened with cocktails, for a moment we found
                                                                              their practice becomes that of presuming authority over a subject
 ourselves star-struck. Excited to be clinking glasses with the big
                                                                              and delivering knowledge to student-consumers. This hierarchical
“who’s who” of community arts, we nearly got out our autograph
                                                                              pedagogy does not adequately support collective learning, and
 books, until we realized – wait! We have a lot to offer this field,
                                                                              because justice is an ideal yet to be enacted – of which no one
 too! I mean, sure, we don’t have 35 years of activist experience in          has presumed authority – the search for it will be most effective
 our back pockets, but surely – somehow – two 21 year-olds with               as a collective endeavor, in which each person’s knowledge and
 sharp generational perspectives and quick-working minds can                  experience is valued.
 participate as equals!
                                                                              Both of us, as students, appreciate the important opportunity we
One hitch in the intergenerational tango stems from the                       were given to design and lead a conference session. At the next
hierarchical nature of higher education. Typically, the                       conference, we would like to see an equitable mix of students,
community-based arts programs at our universities are                         faculty, and community activists involved in all conference
formulated by administrators, taught by faculty, and supervised               activities, from the initial planning to the delivery of keynote
by TAs – all to be consumed by the students whose tuition is                  addresses. Here’s to the next conference being the occasion for an
paying for the entire affair. Even if our professors subscribe to             even more passionate intergenerational tango!

                                           70       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
                   Washi: Handmade Paper,
                           Handing on Wisdom

Mia Braverman, Alumni Community Arts Program,                                From an art history major, to a fine arts major, and finally to a
California College of the Arts                                               community arts major, I feel like I have returned home from a
Coming Home                                                                  long trip and am now ready to start my life. From the people that
                                                                             I have met to the passion I have for the work I have been involved
    I am learning that you must take advantage of what
                                                                             in, I know I am in the right place. But knowing came from not
    is given to you. You must. It is your responsibility.
                                                                             knowing, from a constant state of inquiry, from taking advantage
    Responsibility does not have to be a burden…you can
                                                                             of the opportunities I have been given.
    transform it into a rich purpose…meaning, goals,
    passion, TRUTH.                                                          Theory and Practice
   -Journal entry, September 2006                                            I came to CCA with no intention to work as an artist, much less a
                                                                             community artist. I was going to be an arts historian, a curator, a
From the support of my family to the conversations I have with
                                                                             dealer in the arts, an arts lobbyist. I was interested in learning how
my friends, I am always trying to take advantage of what I have
                                                                             history through the arts brought it to life; it provided a window
been given. I feel that each experience you have in life is part
                                                                             into the emotional struggles and celebrations of past civilizations.
of a greater lesson in discovering your role in the world. The
                                                                             This was how I was introduced to the power of art as influence,
more attention you pay to every experience, the more tools you
                                                                             but learning how to talk about it and who was talking about left
acquire in playing that role. As I begin to discover my role as a
                                                                             me feeling unsatisfied. I felt as if I was walking around in a world
community artist, I realize that my tool box is far from full, but
                                                                             with my hands tied behind my back and all I had to defend myself
as I fall into character, I find meaning and passion—I find my
                                                                             were words and they didn’t even seem to be my own. I needed
truth. It’s a scary place to be, to feel like you are beginning to
                                                                             more, I needed to express my own struggles and celebrations—I
really know who you are, who you are going to be and how you
                                                                             needed my hands. It was after taking 3-D with Kevin Elston, that I
are going get there, because now, you have to go and do it. Now
                                                                             began to investigate my role as an artist.
is the time to take action.
                                                                                  “Mr. Elston, I think I have fallen in love with the
    When you have been moved, you must take action. It is a
                                                                                   wood-burning tool.”
    lift off moment, a point of departure.
                                                                                  “Mia, you can call me Kevin.”
   -Journal entry December 2006
                                                                                  “Of course Mr.…I mean Kevin.”
And where do I see myself going? What have I been packing
                                                                             Taking Kevin’s class introduced me to the thinking process in
for the trip?
                                                                             creating as well as the importance of craft and a respect for
I am going home.                                                             your materials. I had never made anything with my hands with

                                             Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   71
the kind of intention that Kevin pushed us to deliver. I was used              deliver some answers. The installation piece was referencing DNA
to following a list of requirements when it came to completing                 and its relationship to human identity.
assignments. I was used to handing in piles of paper that I had no
                                                                                     The DNA double helix represents the biology of our being.
relationship to other than the fact that I had written them. Now
                                                                                     It is the code that unlocks our every breath. We inhale
it was personal. Now I had to push myself by pulling from within                     experience; we feed our bodies with knowledge; we
myself. I took my time with each project, finding myself drawn to                     search for meaning. It is in our ability to keep breathing
linier materials and pattern, and the following semester, I decided                  that allows us to keep searching. It is in the care of our
to take on the title as a textile major.                                             body that we may be able to find purpose. But beyond
I became engrossed with the intricate process of pattern printing. I                 our own bodies, we must respect the bodies of others. In
loved the perfection it required, from pining the fabric tightly on to               respecting outside of yourself, you are given access to
the table, mixing the dyes to exact proportions, printing a pattern                  greater experience. You become part of a vast ocean of
with crisp registration, to washing and ironing the final product.                    information, whose currents flow in discourse.
Beyond printing, I took classes in weaving and fiber sculpture to                    - From junior review artist statement
broaden my textiles vocabulary. But as my skills began to develop
the purpose of my making became unclear. What was I making?
Who was I making for? Why was I making? Did I want to make work
                                                                             “Call me a Japanophile (individual
to be shown in a gallery? Why or why not?
                                                                               obsessed with everything Japanese)
     Sometimes I don’t see my purpose. What is the point of
     a two-hour conversation about plastic? “It makes me                       call me what you will, but I am in
     feel happy.” “I like the sound it makes in the wind.” Am
     I copping out? I’m here. They’re all here…having these                    love with Japanese culture. Being
     long conversations about latex rubber and pig gut.
     What’s the point? How the hell am I going to use this?
                                                                               half Japanese, my mother being from
     How do you make something of yourself? Am I worthy?                       Japan, is something that I am truly
    - Note from a sketchbook,
      written during a fiber sculpture critique                                 proud to be, but my relationship to
My hands became confused as my heart became confused.                          my heritage is one that I am still
I still felt so new to making art that the pressure to master so
many techniques and develop strong concepts behind my work                     investigating.”
left me lost and uncertain of where I was going. I continued to
push myself, trying to make meaning of my making, trying to                    Experience. Knowledge. Meaning. Searching. Purpose. Hmm…
take advantage of the opportunity to investigate my abilities                  I wonder what I was thinking about, my own struggles
in self-expression. The content of most of my work revolved                    perhaps? Yes. But besides my personal struggle, my desire to
around identity, heritage, delicacy, patience, time and                        address community was clear. My concepts concerning biology
authenticity. But something was missing—I was still not                        and culture came also from a humanities class to took with
satisfied, and it would take the questioning of the work I had                  Almudena Ortiz:
done thus far, the introduction of a new medium and
                                                                                     I don’t see biology as separate from our culturally
an introduction to a new way of seeing and using art.
                                                                                     constructed identities—I see identity as a conversation
The Art of Inquiry                                                                   between the two. One must take care of the other; one
The big questions surfaced during my junior review: the test of                      depends on the other; one celebrates the other. I feed my
your ability in articulating yourself as an artist. I had three pieces               body and I feed my soul. But it is also about balance—
up: a weaving, a book and an installation piece. Here I was, in                      they require equal nourishment.
front of a panel of smart artists/art critics, presenting my “work”                  When we do separate the two, we begin building
as an “artist.” To say the least, I was intimidated about the whole                  invisible boundaries between one another. These
ordeal. But it pushed me to question my content; it pushed me to                     boundaries can be seen as the segregation of races,

                                            72       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
      religions, genders and social classes—all are culturally                                      The importance of the identity of each one of us as
      manifest. In defining who’s walls are highest, strongest,                                      an agent, educator or learner, of the educational
      and thickest, we are denying a validity for the other. And                                    practice is clear, as is the importance of our identity
      behind every rock thrown, every gunshot and every curse                                       as a product of a tension filled relationship between
      declared is a steadily beating heart. And their target? A                                     what we inherit and what we acquire. At times in this
      heart just the same. It is a battle of heart against heart,                                   relationship, what we acquire ideologically in our social
      blood against blood, gene against gene—it is a civil war                                      and cultural experiences of class interferes vigorously in
      within nature.                                                                                the hereditary structures through the power of interest,
                                                                                                    of emotions, feelings, and desires, of what one usually
     -Reading response, DNA and Identity, November 2005
                                                                                                    calls “the strength of the heart.” Thus we are not only
Not too long later, I was introduced to a new medium                                                one thing or another, neither solely what is innate nor
that deepened my relationship to art: traditional Japanese                                          solely what is acquired.4
                                                                                              This so called strength of the blood…exists but is not a
It was Spring semester, 2006, I was taking Nance O’Banion’s class,                            determining factor. Just as the presence of the cultural factor
Papermaking and the Book. While I fell in love with the clean and                             alone, does not explain every thing.
intricate nature of book arts, it was the papermaking that stole                              In truth, freedom, like a creative deed of human beings, like
my heart. Nance took the entire class on a slide lecture journey to                           an adventure, like an experience of risk and of creation, has a
Japan, teaching us about the traditional process of papermaking.                              lot to do with the relationship between what we inherit and
It was a ritual, it was sacred and it was apart of my heritage.                               what we acquire.
Call me a Japanophile,1 call me what you will, but I am in love                               From my new-found interest in Japanese papermaking to my
with Japanese culture. Being half Japanese, my mother being                                   conceptual work concerning DNA, I was beginning to see a new
from Japan, is something that I am truly proud to be, but my                                  way to work as an artist, new way too apply my passions and
relationship to my heritage is one that I am still investigating.                             goals so that they may help me to pack my bags and fill my tool
When Nance introduced me to papermaking with kozo,2 I saw an                                  box. What finally tipped the scale was when I was able transform
opportunity to further that investigation. But it was more than                               the concepts of my DNA project into a lesson plan. I worked
a research assignment—it was also the process of washi3 that                                  collaboratively with two other students, Bri Naiman and Hiba
intrigued me. It was a methodical process that has endured for                                Kabal. I was extremely nervous the night before our lesson, staying
nearly 1,500 years. Preparation of the fibers alone takes several                              up late, writing a script for myself (You can never be too prepared,
months. With my interest in heritage, history, and identity, it was                           I thought).
an easy addition to my trunk of techniques.
                                                                                                    So here we are sitting in our chairs, feeling okay about
The final experience that guided me to community arts was my                                         life, and all the while we have 100’s of trillions of cells
involvement in art education with Ann Wettrich, Jen Stewart                                         in our bodies busy at work: digesting food, and growing
and MOCHA (Museum of Children’s Art) through the Center                                             nails and hair etc… All of these cells have particular jobs
for Art and Public Life Community Student Fellow program.                                           to keep our bodies happy and healthy…
My classes with Ann and Jen mirrored my experience in the
                                                                                                   - From DNA lesson script, March 2006
arts: one semester was focused on the theory and history of art
education and the following semester we had the opportunity                                   Now, I did not follow the scrip directly, but it helped me find my
to have hands-on experience and work with students of Far                                     role as a teacher, similar to my experience working in MOCHA.
West High School. I was introduced to a number of teachers and                                It has been dubbed, “The Nave”—the central corridor at the
philosophers— Jonathan Kazol, Elliot Eisner and Paulo Freire—                                 Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA). Its white walls elegantly
Paulo particularly hitting home in his discussions of culture                                 display masterpieces by artists between the ages of 2 to 10 years
and the “biology of our being.”                                                               old. These artists have quite a way with colors—I have never
1 My own term meaning “individual obsessed with everything Japanese.”                         seen so many shades of brown. Their compositions rage from
2 Mulberry bark, the most common of the three primary fibers traditionally used to             figurative to fantasy, literal to abstract, and simple to complex—
  make paper in Japan. The others being Mitsumata and Gampi.
3 The art of traditional Japanese papermaking. If washi is ever referred to as “rice          4 Paulo Freire, Teachers as Cultural Workers (Boulder, Colorado:
  paper,” it is considered very disrespectful. Rice is only used to make gules, not paper.      Westview Press, 1998), 70.

                                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication    73
their imaginative vocabulary is endless. When asked why
he chose to paint his elephant pink, Bobby confidently
replied, “Because it looks pretty.” Bobby, no doubt, had it
all planned out.

I walk down the nave every week admiring the works of
these children. I look over their little shoulders as they
avidly paint pink elephants and brown blobs in MOCHA’s
kids’ studio. We sit for hours in miniature red plastic chairs
making blueberry pasta out of play dough (blue play dough,
respectively). I love being there.
I love wandering about with the free spirits of children.

     Their uninhibited questioning of the world is
     contagious and humbling. Everything is simple and
     everything is important. “Why is pink pretty, “
     I ask. “Because pink is pretty.” I should have known
     that. They are so receptive. They seem to be on a
     quest of collecting all answers of the “whys” of
     the world. All the questioning, all the discovery,
     becomes a part of who they will become—apart
     of their identity.

    -Excerpt of mid-term paper, The Beauty of

How I was communicating and who I was communicating
with became the hands that untied the knot that had before
been locked behind my back. I became more comfortable
through these experiences and my goals, my passions and
my meaning began to take shape. I was able to speak my
truth in front of a panel of the best critics in town: the panel
of hungry minds. It’s not to say it would be ideal at all times,
but I felt that I was now communicating in a language
I understood and could speak from authentically—to speak
with from my heart.

I knew what I had to do. I had to take action. I had to
push myself further. I pushed myself all the way to Sonia
Manjon’s desk, the community arts academic advisor. I
laid down my story, I laid down my academic records and
I asked her what it would take to switch from textiles to
community arts major.

One more year.

I knocked on the door. I was coming home.

                                           74       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
   The Organic Process of Collaboration
     and Implementation of Educational
   Art-Based Projects with Community

   “Community Art classes at California College of the Arts (CCA) are powerful
    and relevant because they highlight a humanitarian ideology experienced
    through collaborative creative processes. As an artist I came to CCA to
    develop my knowledge and ability in artistic techniques.”

Christina Samuelson, Alumni Community Arts Program, California                 develop my knowledge and ability in artistic techniques. The
College of the Arts                                                            creation of space was always an interest of mine, so I started my
Since we are in an age of contradictions there are oppressing                  first year in the interior architecture program. I soon found myself
and innovating things happening all at once. That I see as a                   struggling. I had no sense of community from my teachers or
blessing – a positive opportunity - for both Oakland and CCA,                  classmates. Projects were competitive and felt irrelevant to me.
the development of an extension of CCA: The Center for Art                     I would take my assignments into directions that were more about
and Public Life (CAPL). Directed by Dr. Sonia Manjon, this center              the freedom of creativity rather than ownership or hierarchy of
creates opportunities for relationships between artists at CCA                 what art is, what it is meant to do and whom it is for. As I received
and the larger Bay Area communities through collaborations                     harsh criticism and I felt I was not understood I began to realize
with community-based organizations like schools, hospitals,                    that the art world in many ways is about ego, fame, and money.
non-profits, and study abroad programs. CAPL also encompasses                   Yet art for me intrinsically had always been about expression,
program development for Diversity Studies, Art Education                       healing and communication.
and the Community Arts Major (COMA) offered as part of the
                                                                               My 2nd semester sophomore year in spring 2004 is when I took
curriculum at CCA. These programs emphasize the intersection
                                                                               my first COMA class, ‘Art in the Public Interest.’ This was my
of art, education and awareness, actively engaging people to
                                                                               introduction to West Oakland and where the realization of my
collaborate within the realm of art making while simultaneously
                                                                               journey began. Dr. Sonia Manjon taught this studio class 6 hours
creating community building and social justice—a very non-
                                                                               a week, and delicately, yet strategically, she began to open our
traditional art practice when compared to the [conventional]
                                                                               young minds to our history, our current societal dynamics, and
western art world and market.
                                                                               what we might do to evolve and create a better world. Three
COMA classes at CCA are powerful and relevant because                          hours a week we would focus in class discussions around readings
they highlight a humanitarian ideology experienced through                     including the following: the experiences of African Americans
collaborative creative processes. As an artist I came to CCA to                throughout times of slavery, emancipation, Harlem Renaissance,

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   75
segregation and integration, Civil Rights Movement, Black Arts              students in the after-school programs. But when I first met the
Movement, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, multiculturalism, and                  girls, we bonded quickly. I am the oldest of six children, and have
current conditions for African American and urban communities               always been a strong leader, taking care of my siblings. It was
regarding education and culture. We discussed how all of these              natural for me to work with young ones, as I knew how to support
issues are connected to a larger political agenda supported by a            their development in a positive way. Yet, these young girls were
conditioned mentality of fear around race that is sadly yet heavily         coming to the table with conditions rooted in our oppressive
still present in our society. Our work in the classroom was linked          past. West Oakland has suffered the severe blows of racism,
to a 3-hour a week internship working as art-instructor assistants          gentrification, police brutality, drug epidemics, violence, broken
for ArtEsteem, an in-school and after-school art and social justice         families and a system of failing public education. A culture of
program for the youth in Oakland.                                           frustration, rebellion, and internalized self-neglect has been the
                                                                            result. Yet among these detrimental factors is a chord of strength
As CCA students, the majority of our time is spent on campus,
                                                                            and spirituality that exists in the people of West Oakland. Through
in studios, or in critiques influenced by a largely mono-cultural,
                                                                            the suffering of this community, people have found hope in one
Eurocentric perspective. This was the first class I experienced at
                                                                            another; their bonds cannot be broken and their growth is the
CCA where we were looking at society in a different and deep way.
                                                                            conviction of endurance among the people. One must not forget
Reassessing history, we discussed the complexities of a society
founded on the enslavement of a people based on skin color and
how, 500 years later, we still live in environments, communities,
and mentalities that are disconnected and not fully healed from
the corruptness of this kind of inhumane treatment. Interning
with ArtEsteem we learned by leaving the ‘sheltered campus’

                                                                             this is a community where the Black Panther Party was born;
                                                                             historically this area has been one of survival ‘by any
                                                                             means necessary’.

                                                                             Following my first semester at Lowell, I was moved and
of CCA, going down the street to West Oakland and began to                  committed to return the following year in the fall. I received a
understand that we live in a time of great contradictions.                  work-study job through CALP to be an Art Instructor assistant for
                                                                            ArtESteem and got placed again at Lowell because I had already
I interned in the ArtEsteem after- school fashion design class
                                                                            begun to develop relationships there and understood the climate
at Lowell Middle School. Lowell, on West and 14, has since been
                                                                            of the school. I spent the next two full school years at Lowell
shut down, along with many others schools in Oakland that were
                                                                            working in the after school programs.
negatively affected by the relationship of low-test scores and lack
of funding. The fashion class instructor was a woman named Nan,             The following year (2005-2006) I continued to work at Lowell
an employee of Attitudinal Healing Connection/ArtEsteem. The                but by this time it was only 8th grade left as each year prior a
class was small, usually from 3 – 6 girls. ArtEsteem was having a           grade was weeded out, slowly bringing the school to an end. The
hard time recruiting and retaining students because the after-              students were very aware of what was happening—they made
school coordinator at the time had started half way through the             art pieces about how the school needed more books and supplies,
year and thus there had been no consistent system to engage                 they had marches to try to stop the school from shutting down,

                                          76      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
but as money dried up, the students began to realize their school             a common goal. What makes this kind of collaboration special
was closing.                                                                  is that it is about creativity, and when the creative energy of
                                                                              multiples comes together, very powerful movements begin to
While I was at CCA I would hear people talk about Oakland like
                                                                              happen. When this creativity is fostered within an environment
they knew the ins and outs of this city. They would call West
Oakland “the ghetto” while never having taken step into that                  of support, learning and openness, then the ability for growth is
area of town. How do you know a place is “ghetto” if you ain’t                manifested. There are differences between being an artist solely
never been there? How can you judge a people if you ain’t never               for the self and being an artist in collaboration. Both are valid,
talked to them? This ignorance extended to CCA’s neighboring                  and having the experiences in both of these realms contributes
schools, like Far West. A clear line divided the campuses, and                to the development of each other.
most people at CCA kept to their privileged selves, making their
art and going to galleries, never really stopping to talk to the
youth across the street to see if they had an interest in art, or           “It’s not about good art vs. bad art, but
needed a mentor. The only students at CCA that actually did
engage with youth across the street were students from either                 about creativity and how every single
the community arts or art education programs. What an ironic
contradiction is CCA, filled with creative, intelligent minds, yet             person contains creative energy within
so blind and insensitive at the same time. CCA students make
art that is highly conceptual and talk about their ability to                 them…t’s about encouraging people’s
influence others with the power of art. While CCA students
made anti-war pieces that were more self-righteous in concept                 journey into artistic expression.”
than affective in intent, they ignored the very realities of their
own community—the fact that our school was a little ‘white
haven’ covered by trees, and segregated from the real people of               Where Community Arts finds itself in this unlimited realm of
Oakland, directly across the street.                                          creation is the space of advocating for voice. Community artists
                                                                              find many projects to partake in, facilitate, promote and produce.
When I walked across the street to Far West and experienced the
                                                                              The most fundamental importance of this task is to remember
culture and energy there compared to self-interested makings of
                                                                              that this process is about exchange. When working in
the artists at CCA, I saw a clear line between community and ego.
                                                                              collaboration it is not about a single voice, it is a about the
The art that I have made with Oakland youth is more powerful,                 validation, appreciation and space creation for all voices to be
more real, more expressive than any work that I have seen come                heard. Many times some one may come into an environment
out of CCA. While there are many talented artists at CCA, I see that          that is new to them, whether it be within a school, a hospital,
their concept generally lacks any motive of social betterment or              in prison or in a shelter. What is important to remember is that
critical commentary. No doubt, there are some CCA students doing              this is about service: if you have a certain technique or skill, say
this, so I do not mean to generalize. It was just hard for me to              painting, and you are planning to work with a group of adults
stomach critiques where people talked about color and lines, while            in an AIDS shelter that have never painted before, there may
sipping on $4 lattes, and eating $12 dollar lunches daily. “Where’s           be some apprehension at first by the participants. Many times
the truth at?” I would think. “Do people even have their eyes open,           people don’t think that they are artists or they never had the
or are they so privileged they can ignore the people around them,             exposure, so they are timid to begin expressing themselves.
the struggles and circumstances of their neighbors?”                          When facilitating, it is important to first develop relationships,
So how does the power of art relate to the movement towards                   get to know the people you are working with, be open-minded
healing and social justice? At CCA, the only structure that                   to their experiences, and create avenues that are relevant to their
consistently combined these forces was the Center through                     wants and intents in terms of expression. It’s not about good
their Art Education and Community Arts programs. In essence,                  art vs. bad art, but about creativity and how every single person
                                                                              contains creative energy within them. It’s about setting up a space
this major [Community Art] is to inspire consciousness, relate to
                                                                              where people get to explore themselves and their experiences,
community, and heal hearts through expression.
                                                                              express themselves through a medium they are comfortable
Community Arts is essentially about collaboration: the act of                 with, and grow from that process. It’s about encouraging people’s
working together with one or more people in order to achieve                  journey into artistic expression.

                                              Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   77
“If you ask me, did the symposium
address issues of equity? I have to
say yes, it did, in a number of ways,
but it did so in the only ways it could:
in relation to and in reference of the
specific communities that we have come
from, and engaged with, which each
have unique issues and challenges.”
                            Lott Hill

                           Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   79
                                                                            Johanna Poethig
                                                                             Faculty Institute for Visual and
                                                                             Public Art, California State
                                                                             University Monterey Bay

        “Collaborative art practices build our understanding of what
         democracy truly is through reciprocity and creative improvisations.
         This exchange between artists and communities dismantles hierarchies
         while at the same time focuses the group on a mutual goal – the
         creation of powerful art.”
As the field of community collaborative art grows there needs                differences. The arts of collaboration in the 21st century have a
to be a greater awareness of the tactics, strategies, skills and            history and purpose that has grown out of the work of artists and
specialized training that this type of socially interactive art work        cultural activists who are committed to and thrive in a creative
demands and a recognition of the artists who lead these processes.          environment that is diverse, inclusive and provides an alternative
The more freedom, support and trust that is given to artists to             to the single mindedness of the consumerist marketplace. The
develop innovative approaches and projects the stronger the                 work that comes out of this artistic social dialogue is richly
results will be. Collaborative art practices build our understanding        textured and transformative. The strength of the artwork depends
of what democracy truly is through reciprocity and creative                 greatly on the practitioners, their experience and training. Artist
improvisations. This exchange between artists and communities               led collaborative public and community art projects are part of
                                                                            the life work and portfolio of lead artists who carry the vision
dismantles hierarchies while at the same time focuses the group
                                                                            and are ultimately responsible for implementing the project and
on a mutual goal – the creation of powerful art.
                                                                            contributing to the field. By giving proper recognition to this
Making successful works of art requires rigor, skill, critical              specific professional role we can inspire emerging artists to be
thinking and the freedom to turn mistakes into solutions.                   trained in the arts of creative civic engagement and encourage
Through creative interactions we learn to overcome our fears                institutions to build comprehensive programs that provide critical
and cross the boundaries of our assumptions, insecurities and               and practical tools for the study and development of this art form.

                                          80      Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
                                      Deirdre Visser
                                      Faculty California College of the Arts
                                      and Mills College

                                      Dia Penning
                                      Arts Education Program Manager
                                      San Francisco Art Commission

                                      Lott Hill and
                                      Megan Stielstra
                                      Center for Teaching Excellence
                                      Columbia College Chicago

Following the symposium, conference coordinator Deirdre Visser set
up a blog for these four symposium participants to open a dialogue
about what impact the convening had on their lives and their
continuing work in the field of community arts. Please note that
this is an ongoing discussion and we invite you to participate in it
by going to:

                  82   Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
Together Dia and Deirdre posed the following five questions as a                not only makes community accessible to higher ed but also makes
way to frame the discussion:                                                   higher education available to community?

1. PREPARATION                                                                 Lott—The relationship between community and higher education is
Why is it important to have a convening like this? What does it do             constantly being defined and should be as fluid as possible to meet
for the field of community arts? What do you think the challenges               the felt-needs of a community or the learning needs of a constantly
are in preparing for this, or other similar conferences? Please                changing student population. The simple fact of the matter is that
consider the challenges and opportunities of establishing content              there are usually as many agendas as there are participants in any
and context, and identifying and marketing to your audience.                   given partnership, so the real question is, what can the relationship
                                                                               be between community and higher education?
Since all of us are somewhat new to community arts, is there                   Dia—I agree that the agenda/participants ratio is similar, but I am
something that you learned during the conference that changed                  starting to wonder if all the agendas are truly laid out on the table.
your relationship to the profession? What did you take away from               Lott—In my perfect world the relationship between these two
the conference?                                                                amorphous entities, “community” and “higher education,” can
                                                                               be an adaptable space of dialogue, learning, shared resources
                                                                               and responsibility to creatively address the unique issues that are
One of the main aims of the conference was to address equity in
                                                                               present at a given time/place. When I was working on a regular
higher education, but does community arts address equity? Can
                                                                               basis with the Office of Community Arts Partnerships (now CCAP)
it? If it does, how does it? And if it doesn’t, how do we structure/
                                                                               at Columbia College Chicago, we had regular meetings between
build our conversations with our students and each other so that
                                                                               community and college representatives and each month, we
we really do address equity?
                                                                               held our meetings in a different location. Sometimes we met on
4. CHALLENGES                                                                  campus, but more often, our dialogue was held on site at the
What do you view as the challenges in community arts? Do                       organizations with which we were working. The conditions were
the multiple perspectives afforded by bringing large numbers                   sometimes uncomfortable, the travel sometimes difficult, and the
together for a conference like this address some of those                      organizations could not stop all of their regular functions to make
challenges? Please consider, among other things, the challenges                space for our conversations; but it was critical for us to leave our
intrinsic to honest collaboration, the relationship of community               institution and find common ground on someone else’s turf. I use
arts to the rest of the contemporary art world, and the very                   this imperfect example to illustrate an imperfect and central fact
definition of community arts.                                                   of Community Arts.

                                                                               Deirdre—You point to two areas that seem critical to me, Lott,
                                                                               site specificity and space. Clearly there can’t be a prescriptive
What is the real relationship between community and higher
                                                                               approach. The needs and concerns of a community and those of
education? Does the field of community arts really address it?
                                                                               a student population are temporally and spatially specific and
Or transform it if we believe it should be transformed? What are
                                                                               that requires really listening on everyone’s part to understand
the differences between the aims and the ends?
                                                                               those nuances. And then there’s space. Space matters—it really
Dia—Lott and Megan, you both have a great deal of experience                   does. Alternating where you have the meetings, when, and on
negotiating the relationship between higher education and                      whose terrain is a great beginning and can disrupt the power
community arts organizations, and have seen first hand some of                  dynamic built into the very architecture of institutions of
the challenges that can arise in collaborations. If we’re willing to           higher education.
agree that there are real problems of cultural equity that exist               Power, or perceived power imbalances can undermine the very
in institutions of higher education, how do we believe that the                core of collaboration. Would you agree that in a successful
field of community arts addresses them? Can community arts                      collaboration between higher education and community
help to offset these inequalities of access and opportunity and                members everyone comes to the table with their talents asking
under what circumstances? Does the creative dialogue intrinsic                 what is best for the community and best for the students and
to community arts really challenge these issues? How do we talk                together negotiates a middle ground where everyone learns
about the agendas, the differences of opinion, and the challenges              and benefits? That sounds great, but how do you change up the
in the realm of community arts and discuss how community arts                  power relationships such that real collaboration can happen?

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   83
Megan—A couple of years ago, Lott and I presented a panel at                 to recognize the history of community practice. In preparation
AWP about the nature of collaborative teaching and the first thing            for the symposium I did so much research about how the field
we said was, “Spend TIME with your collaborators. You have to                came to be and I think that this woman was trying to get to the
hang out together! Find your common language, the angles of                  core of that, she didn’t hear that we were bowing because we did
experience with which you connect!”                                          not overtly say it. Sometimes we have to be willing to say what
                                                                             seems obvious. We all work in these isolated bubbles but if the
The key ingredient, I think, is LISTENING. LISTENING. Call me
                                                                             end goal is “revolution”, there seem to be a lot of paths to the
crazy, but I try to imagine that word in a flashing neon sign
                                                                             end, and maybe instead of reinventing things every time a new
above my head. It makes me a better educator, a better writer—
                                                                             program or project or class is developed we can really think about
and, for that matter, a better wife and friend—if I’m truly and
                                                                             the trajectory and take that into consideration. This could be a
honestly engaged in active listening: be it to someone with more
                                                                             space for small organizations and new practitioners to “hook up”
experience who can guide me to be better at what I do, or to
                                                                             with higher ed and established organizations to provide support,
someone with less experience to not only learn from their new
                                                                             continuity and ideological structure.
energy and ideas but also find the common ground we both
share in order to work collaboratively.                                      Deirdre—I came to Crafting a Vision from a conference called
                                                                             Making Art, Making Change – which was an effort by the Greater
                                                                             Bay Area Arts Education Network to celebrate the role of art as
                                                                             a catalyst for social change. We’re envisioning building it into
                                                                             an organization with an ongoing role in expanding the place
                                                                             of the arts in larger community-building efforts within the city
                                                                             of San Francisco, building new, strategic partnerships between
                                                                             teachers (not necessarily in higher education), artists and social
                                                                             justice organizations. In the city there are a lot of wonderful
                                                                             individual efforts, but nothing yet to create linkages and establish
                                                                             connections and continuity while building visibility –which is
                                                                             what I hear you talking about, Dia. Conferences seem to function
                                                                             slightly differently, but I was really struck by the challenges of
                                                                             identifying and understanding the limitations of who would and
                                                                             could come to each event – and how to get the word out to those
                                                                             communities, once identified.

                                                                             Dia—We really wrestled with the question of inclusion due to
Deirdre—I think you’re right, Megan, that listening is probably              the price of the conference. We offered scholarships but many of
the most critical element in a successful collaboration of any               them went either to college students or community partners that
kind, let alone between partners with institutional affiliations              were already a part of the educational structure. How do we begin
and historical inequities. As a teacher I think all the time about           to address those community artists that perceive they are not
the skills we teach in arts programs and how they overlap or are             invited to the table because of financial and “cultural” divide?
distinct from the skills required in community arts. How do we
                                                                             Lott—To take the time to travel to and participate in a conference
teach listening?
                                                                             of any length is always a strain on resources and may mean that
Dia—This is THE question. You have to be willing to put yourself             a CBO closes its doors for a few days, and for many organizations,
aside in the beginning to see what the needs are, on both sides.             that is not a viable option. Ironically, these smaller organizations
You have to be willing to not talk back, to really hear what the             are often those that can benefit the most from the kinds of
other person has to say, to wait, and think, and analyze, and                connections and ideas that are stimulated by a symposium like
trust. You teach listening by being a good listener, by asking good          this though there are seldom enough staff members to keep
questions and reflecting back the answers that are given to you.              things going if anyone is “away” at a conference.
Listeners support in finding the answers, they don’t “tell” what
                                                                             I don’t know if there is a way to get Everyone (capital E) into
the answers are.
                                                                             the conversation at any one time, which is something that We,
Ya know, there was this woman in the 2nd story Workshop that                 the representatives of the academy constantly have to remind
really wanted us to acknowledge the contributions of our elders—             ourselves. Any meeting, such as the symposium, will physically

                                          84       Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
occur in a place, and by the very nature of holding the meeting                enough to work with many organizations through Columbia
in one place (as opposed to all of the other potential places)                 College’s CCAP, the Fiction Writing Department’s outreach
certain people will not be able to be present or participate. There            programs and directing writing workshops for the Serendipity
are multiple factors that include, but are not limited to, financial            Theater Collective—but the vocabulary is still new to me and I’m
conditions that enable people to participate in such a dialogue                trying to find my place. Sometimes, be it at conferences such as
and prevent others from engaging.                                              the Symposium or even hanging out with my good friends who
                                                                               are so connected to the Community Arts (wink, wink, Lott and
If you ask me, did the symposium address issues of equity? I
                                                                               Dia!), I have to say, “Okay! Okay! Let’s all slow down for a minute,
have to say yes, it did, in a number of ways, but it did so in the
                                                                               what do you mean exactly?
only ways it could: in relation to and in reference of the specific
communities that we have come from, and engaged with, which                    Lott—One of the most important reasons to have a convening like
each have unique issues and challenges. Again, I will claim that               this is because it gives us time to do what we never have time to
though I’m not certain we can ever fully address these issues, it is           do: reflect upon our work, learn about what our colleagues across
important that they are always a part of the conversation and that             the field are doing, and share information about our work with
we always attempt to think about and pursue the questions that                 others. The very nature of “Community Arts” (with a capital C
surround these issues.                                                         and a capital A) is that it exists in that space of tension between
                                                                               what has gone before and what is happening in the moment of
Dia—I know a lot of my personal evolution in Community Arts
                                                                               the here and now…
came from collaborating with communities that were so different
from the ones that I grew up in. Working with CCAP and CAPL has                Dia—It also gives us an opportunity to address how we support
given me the opportunity to interact with children and adults who              our students in this amazing, challenging work and assist them in
not only have differing points of reference but also have different            developing the skills they will need to really face hard questions
ways in addressing them. It is always such a gift to me that we can            about race, privilege and social change, to listen to others stories
facilitate the creative process as a way to open up conversations              while telling their own.
that would remain cloaked. What specifically did you take away
                                                                               Megan—Listening is a challenge in and of itself: sometimes it’s
from the symposium, or what did you hope to give to others?
                                                                               easier to use the time someone else is speaking to come up with
Megan—What Lott and I tried to bring to the Symposium through                  what we’re going to say next. Sometimes we assume that our
the Binary Opposites Workshop (thank you, thank you, thank you                 ideas are unpopular, so we have to be on defense. Whenever I’m
to the inspiring Guillermo Gomez Pena for guiding the workshop                 playing defense, I’m not listening. But in the end, it’s those stories
that first opened our eyes to this activity!) was a forum for                   that mean so much to me and, hopefully, help me understand this
listening: an activity which allowed not only for people to take a             world a little better by allowing me to see both the unexpected
stand for their beliefs but also to explain why they feel as they do.          similarities and the beautiful differences in people.
I just go back to listening; if you hear what people say then you
                                                                               Lott—That being said, conversations like this one or the ones that
get it and you are able to get it done.
                                                                               happen at such a symposium can be hugely valuable for a number
Lott—This was an opportunity for me to put into context much                   of reasons. Simply sharing our stories and hearing what others
of the work that I do, and it enhanced the vocabulary with which               are doing can be a source of encouragement in this work (which
I can discuss and articulate my own experiences and through                    can at times be hugely discouraging). The symposium was both a
which I can engage students. I was able to hear what has been                  reminder of why I am compelled to engage with Community Arts
happening at other institutions such as CSUMB, and I was able to               and a rejuvenation of my commitment to creating and supporting
view this work through the lens of a cultural perspective that is              Community Arts programs, projects, and partnerships.
not my own. I was able to understand a different language.
                                                                               Deirdre—Whether we teach in the community arts area or not, the
Megan—Language is always a challenge for me. As with most                      field intrinsically suggests an expansive role for the arts and artists
fields, Community Arts has its own vocabulary, and finding the                   in society. This opens up possible answers to one of my challenges
commonalities of experience and expression is a necessity. I can               when I’m teaching in any medium at the college level: five years
talk about the teaching of writing for the next twenty hours,                  out of school most of my students will no longer be making art.
throwing around all of the pedagogical lingo we use, because                   So integrating the questions that drive community practice while
that’s my field. That’s where I’ve put in my time. There’s a natural            teaching photography, for example, may leave my students with
crossover there into the Community Arts—I’ve been lucky                        more ways of thinking about a creative practice in the world.

                                               Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   85
                                                                  Attendees &
“So, that’s a few things to just think
about as we’re talking about cultural
community development, equity, art,
and the like.”
                     Marcel Diallo

                         Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Report   87
LAST NAME    FIRST NAME          ORGANIZATION                           ADDRESS                       PHONE                  E-MAIL

                                                                      2018 Baltimore                816-421-1388
  Adams          Don          Mid-America Arts Alliance                                                         
                                                                   Kansas City, MO 64108                x226

                               Community Development
                                                                     2516 Temple Drive
  Amaral        Megan              SID:993223965                                                    831-334-4422
                                                                      Davis, CA 95616
                                University of CA, Davis

                            Institute of Visual and Public Art
                                                                    100 Campus Center
 Anderson       Hope       Project Manager, RUAP, California                                        831-582-4330
                                                                     Seaside, CA 93955
                             State University Monterey Bay

                                                                     97 Hamilton Place,
   Asher        Stacy            Pink Dot Experiment                                                937-469-5245
                                                                     Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                    100 Campus Center
   Bains       Richard         CSUMB faculty and staff                                              831-582-4330
                                                                     Seaside, CA 93955

    Bar         Robert                                                                              831-521-2147

                                                                       3957 22nd St.
   Barret        Bill          Executive Director AICAD                                             415-642-8595
                                                                  San Francisco, CA 94114

                               Associate Professor of Art             4343 Haight Ave.
  Bastos        Flavia                                                                                       
                                Education, School of Art            Cincinnati, OH 45223

                                                                      11141 East Blvd.
  Baumlier      Kristen        Cleveland Institute of Art                                           216-533-1755
                                                                    Cleveland, OH 44106

                                  Provost, California                 5212 Broadway
    Beal        Steve                                                                                           
                                  College of the Arts                Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                    3824 Gentilly Blvd.
  Bechet         Ron                Xavier University                                                          
                                                                   New Orleans, LA 70122

  Bedaya       Roberto           Adjunct Faculty, CCA                                                       

                               Sculpture/Art Ed/Service
                                                                        44 Park Ave
 Bechstein     Christina     Learning Assistant Professor,                                          207-899-0509
                                                                     Portland, ME 04101
                                 Maine College of Art

                              Center for Community Arts             5249 University of             wk 541-686-2657
  Blandy        Doug                                                                                         
                                 and Cultural Policy             Oregon Eugene, OR 97403           hm 541-346-3639

                             Artists in Education Program            2901 Mission St.
  Bonillo       Jaren                                                                               415-863-2141 
                             Manager, Southern Exposure           San Francisco, CA 94110

                               Academic Affairs VP of
                                                                    621 Huntington Ave.
  Branson      Johanna     Academic Affairs Massachusetts                                           617-879-7367
                                                                     Boston, MA 02115
                                   College of Art

                                88        Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
LAST NAME        FIRST NAME          ORGANIZATION                           ADDRESS                 PHONE                 E-MAIL

 Braverman           Mia                 CCA Alumni                                                        

                              Program Director, Arts and Culture     475 10th Ave., 14th Floor                          karen.garrett@
   Brown           Claudine                                                                       212-787-7300
                                Nathan Cummings Foundation             New York, NY 10018                  

                                                                            PO Box 68
  Burnham           Linda         Art In The Public Interest                                      336-376-8404
                                                                       Saxapahaw NC 27340

                                                                         3222 Bishop St. 3
   Caldwell        Caroline                                                                               
                                                                       Cincinnati, OH 45220

                                Academic Affairs Minneapolis           2501 Stevens Avenue
Cedarleaf-Dahl      Elissa                                                                        612-874-3858
                                  College of Art and Design           Minneapolis, MN 55404

                               Tisch College of Citizenship and
                                                                       10 Upper Campus Rd.
  Chovanec          Nora       Public Service Program Manager                                     617-627-4159
                                                                      Medford, MA 02155 USA
                                       Tufts University
                              Dept of Theatre & Film/ Chapman
                                                                       338 1/2 Wallace Ave.
   Collins           Kate      Learning Community Instructor                                      419-372-9448
                                                                     Bowling Green, OH 43402
                               Bowling Green State University

                                                                            PO Box 771
    Cocke          Dudley        Roadside Theater/Appalshop                                             
                                                                         Norton, VA 24273

                                   Development Associate,
                               Assistant to the Artistic Director          339 11th Street
   Cuellar          Vicki                                                                         510-234-5624
                                    East Bay Center for the             Richmond, CA 94801
                                       Performing Arts

    Daniel          Tracy       Xavier University (Crossroads)

 Dankmeyer        Samantha               CCA Alumni                                               831- 227-9761

   Daystar         Michaela                Volunteer                                                       

    Deboy           Kathy                CCA Alumni                                                          

                                      Literary Manager                  1444 W. Rascher #2
  Delheimer        Amanda                                                                         312-331-0425
                                Serendipity Theatre Collective           Chicago, IL 60640

                                       Television Dept                  600 S. Michigan Ave.
  Densmore           Tim                                                                          312-344-8861
                                  Columbia College Chicago               Chicago, IL 60605

                               School Age/ Youth Development         1420 Columbia Road NW        202-332-4200
  DeVargas         Desepe                                                                                 
                                     Director, CentroNia              Washington, DC 20009            x164

                                        Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   89
LAST NAME         FIRST NAME         ORGANIZATION                           ADDRESS                      PHONE               E-MAIL

                                                                          2130 Fulton St .
                                Department of Performing Arts
    Dowling          Amie                                             San Francisco, CA 94117          415-422-5374
                                 University of San Francisco

     Dutta          Jayeesha      Arts Education consultant                                                   

                                Media and Marketing Associate
   Engelund          Jason                                                                                     
                                         CCA, CAPL

                                  School of Theatre and Film
                   Stephanie         Associate Professor                                               480-965-5214
                                   Arizona State University

                    McKenzie                  NYU                                                               

                                   CCAP Executive Director              600 S. Michigan Ave
    Flatley          David                                                                             312-344-8861
                                  Columbia College Chicago               Chicago, IL 60605

                                                                           57 Gladys St.
     Gaos            Ashlie                                                                                  
                                                                      San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                       2407 E. Fairmount Ave.
    Gardner           Mari                                                                                  
                                                                        Baltimore, MD 21224

                               Arts and Culture, Senior Program
                                                                      475 10th Ave., 14th Floor        212-787-7300        karen.garrett@
    Garrett          Karen     Assistant and Exhibit Coordinator,
                                                                        New York, NY 10018                 x206
                                Nathan Cummings Foundation

                                Fine Art Artist-In-Residence                P.O. Box 453
   Gelarden         Martha                                                                             856-858-9506
                               Moore College of Art and Design        Collingswood, NJ 08108

                                 Center for Art and Community
                                                                        621 Huntington Ave.
   Giordano          John      Partnerships at the Massachusetts                                       617-879-7367
                                                                         Boston, MA 02115
                                         College of Art

     Green           Perrin            Xavier University

                                                                       2211 Mission St. Apt. C
    Grimm            Joice
                                                                      San Francisco, CA 94110

                                  Chicago Public Art Group,               3226 S. Aberdeer
     Gude            Olivia                                                                            312-427-2724
                                University of Illinois at Chicago         Chicago, IL 60608

                                      Imagining America
     Haft            Jamie                                                                                     
                                      Syracuse University

                                Arts & Administration Program
     Hager            Lori            Assistant Professor                                              541-346-2469
                                     University of Oregon

                                    90        Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
LAST NAME          FIRST NAME         ORGANIZATION                            ADDRESS                  PHONE                   E-MAIL

     Heikes          Chelsea                volunteer                                                510-708 6202 

                                                                           217 Clipper Street
    Herman           Amanda                Artonomics                                                            
                                                                        San Francisco, CA 94114

                                Institute for Diversity in the Arts     375 Santa Teresa Street,
Hernandez-Clarke     Georgina           Executive Director                     Room #5               650-724-3657
                                       Stanford University                Stanford, CA 94305
                                                                            345 Fraser Hall
 Hess Dammer          Laura     University of MN Action Project           106 Pleasant St. SE        612-625-3314
                                                                        Minneapolis, MN 55455

                                                                          1129 Ranleigh Way
 Higuera Zapel        Kerry                                                                                     
                                                                          Piedmont, CA 94610

                                                                          600 S. Michigan Ave.      773-818-5243 or
      Hill             Lott        Columbia College Chicago                                                       
                                                                           Chicago, IL 60605         312-344-7350

    Hoffman          Camille              Student CCA                                                480-820-4664

                                                                          5544 Beverly Place                   
                                The Center for Restorative Justice
     Holtz           Allyson                                             Pittsburgh, PA 15206                             www.restorativejustice
                                      and Community Arts
                                Arts & Administration Program
                                                                       5249 University of Oregon
     Israel          Sterling         Assistant Professor                                            541-346-3989
                                                                          Eugene, OR 97403
                                     University of Oregon

     Jaller           Kathy                                                                          410-353-8893

    Jardim           Virginia        Faculty and Staff, CCA                                                       

                                          Visual Arts
                                                                          2130 Fulton Street
   Jaspersen         Barbara        Program Coordinator                                              415-422-5553
                                                                        San Francisco, CA 94117
                                  University of San Francisco
                                Arts & Administration Program
                                                                          5249 University of
    Johnson           Rachel          Assistant Professor                                            541-346-3989
                                                                       Oregon Eugene, OR 97403
                                     University of Oregon

                                                                          100 Campus Center
    Johnson         Stephanie       CSUMB faculty and staff                                          831-582-4330
                                                                           Seaside, CA 93955

     Jones            Morris               Crossroads

     Jones            Jamie             Xavier University                                                      

                                          Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   91
LAST NAME        FIRST NAME          ORGANIZATION                           ADDRESS                       PHONE                   E-MAIL

                                Metropolitan Museum of Art-               1000 Fifth Ave.              hm 818-384-3099
    Kagan          Rebecca                                                                                     
                                     Communications                   New York City, NY 10028          wk 212-396-5311

                                                                      1000 W. Franklin Avenue
     Kent          Caroline                                               Apartment #307
                                                                       Minneapolis, MN 55405

                              Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty           11141 East Blvd.
    Kessler         Joyce                                                                               216-421-7411 
                                The Cleveland Institute of Art          Cleveland, OH 44106

                                                                          150 Eastlawn St.
  Khasawnih         Alma                                                                                401-282-0051
                                                                          Detroit, MI 48215

                                    Art Asst. Professor of             218 North Rocheblave
Kinnord-Payton      MaPo                                                                                504 481-5846
                                    Art Xavier University              New Orleans, LA 70119

    Knight          Keith                 Crossroads

                                    Animating Democracy,                  47 Jeffery Lane,
    Korza           Pam                                                                                 413-256-1260
                                    Americans for the Arts               Amherst, MA 01002

                                                                     1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
   Krafchek          Ken      Maryland Institute College of Art                                         410-225-2289
                                                                       Baltimore, MD 21217

                                                                        100 Campus Center
    Kruper          Todd           CSUMB faculty and staff                                              831-582-4330
                                                                         Seaside, CA 93955

                              Academic Affairs Academic Dean         20th Street & the Parkway
    Lantz           Dona                                                                                215-965-4012
                               Moore College of Art & Design          Philadelphia, PA 19103

                                 University of Minnesota (Twin        2443 3rd Ave. S. #C15
    Linde            Ann                                                                                612-871-8333
                              Cities) and Franklin Learning Center    Minneapolis, MN 55404

                                      Alameda County
    Music           Louise                                                                                         
                                     Office of Education

                                                                     1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
   Mackey          Fletcher   Maryland Institute College of Art                                         410-225-2289
                                                                       Baltimore, MD 21217

  Maidinbey        Sharon                                                701 Mission St. SF             415-321-1340

  Mangahas         Minette                                                                              510-821-2242

                                 Vice President Diversity and             237 High Street,
   Manjon           Sonia           Strategic Partnerships             North College 3rd Floor          860-685-3927
                                     Wesleyan University               Middletown, CT 06459

                                   92         Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
LAST NAME        FIRST NAME              ORGANIZATION                            ADDRESS                 PHONE                E-MAIL

   Martinez          Julian

   Marshall           Julia          San Francisco State University                                    415-239-8353

                                       Center for Art Education
                                                                               2103 Dobler Ave.
  McDonagh            Kara         Coordinator, Community Art Corps                                    410-225-2254
                                                                             Baltimore, MD 21218
                                    Maryland Institute College of Art
                                    Arts & Administration Program,
                                                                          5249 University of Oregon
  McGowan             Reed                Assistant Professor,                                         541-346-3989
                                                                             Eugene, OR 97403
                                         University of Oregon

                                                                              1521 Verdi St #2,
   McIlveen          Francis              Breaking Traditions                                                 
                                                                             Alameda, CA 94501

                                                                          Fort Mason Center C-265                              kaitlin@
McNally-Murphy       Kaitlin           Performing Arts Workshop
                                                                          San Francisco, CA 94123           

    Mejia             Chris                                                                            415-354-2425

                                          Program Coordinator             Fort Mason Center C-265                              jessica@
     Mele            Jessica                                                                           415-673-2634
                                       Performing Arts Workshop           San Francisco, CA 94123           

                                   Community Arts Program Director        205 W. Tulpehocken St #5
   Melhorn          Charlene                                                                           215-842-0428
                                      BuildaBridge International           Philadelphia, PA 19144

                                                                             1407 14 Avenue NW
                                       Extended Studies Director
   Murdoch           Bonnie                                                  Calgary, AB T2N 4R3       403-338-5554
                                    Alberta College of Art + Design

    Naema             Ray                     CCA Student                                              925.812.2522

                                    Tisch College of Citizenship and
                                                                            10 Upper Campus Rd
  Nierenberg         Mindy          Public Service Program Manager                                     617-627-4159
                                                                             Medford, MA 02155
                                            Tufts University

                                                                             1944 E Oxford Drive
     Ohm             Melanie             Cultural Arts Coalition                                       480-580-6257
                                                                              Tempe, AZ 85283

    Padilla          Roman

     Pate            Denise          Development Specialist, CAPL                                      510-543-6728

                                       Arts Education Program               25 Van Ness Avenue,
                  Arts Education
   Penning                            Manager San Francisco Art                  Suite 240             415-252-2597
                 Program Manager
                                          Commission, CAPL                San Francisco, CA 94102

                                             Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   93
LAST NAME    FIRST NAME                 ORGANIZATION                           ADDRESS                      PHONE                 E-MAIL

             San Francisco Art                                          1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
  Phillips                        Maryland Institute College of Art                                       410-225-2289
               Commission                                                 Baltimore, MD 21217

                                                                           100 Campus Center
  Poethig        Johanna              CSUMB faculty and staff                                             831-582-4330
                                                                            Seaside, CA 93955

   Punt          Nathan                                                                                   510-594-9084

                                     Executive Director Creative          553 Wisconsin Street
   Quaid          Allison                                                                                 415-748-1315
                                       Community Catalysts               San Francisco, CA 94107

   Rand            Cara          Administrative Assistant CCA, CAPL                                       510-594-3757

                                                                          1966 Manzanita Drive
  Rankow           Liza              Director, OneLife Institute                                          510-595-5598
                                                                            Oakland, CA 94611

                                                                             800 Chestnut St
 Robinson       Tammy Ko           City Studio Assistant Professor                                        415.351.3530
                                                                         San Francisco, CA 94133

                                    Executive Director / Adjunct
                                                                           1310 Mission Street
 Robinson         Jessica            Instructor, CounterPULSE /                                           415-626-2060
                                                                         San Francisco, CA 94103
                                         New College of CA

                                                                             701 Mission St.
 Rodriguez        Isaiah                                                                                  415-321-1340
                                                                         San Francisco, CA 94103

                                  Academic Affairs Associate Vice
                                                                          2501 Stevens Ave. S
  Ruskin          Karen          President, Minneapolis College of                                        612-874-3858     karen
                                                                         Minneapolis, MN 55404
                                           Arts & design

 Samuelson       Christina                  CCA Alumni                                                    415-648-6436

                                                                          831 Elysian Fields, New
Schwarzman         Mat                   CrossRoads Project                                                    
                                                                            Orleans, LA 70125

                                   Arts & Culture division Arts &        3230 Macdonald Avenue                                 michele_seville@
  Seville        Michele                                                                                  510-620-6952
                                 Culture Manager City of Richmond          Richmond, CA 94804                        

                                  Interim Chair, Tyler School of Art      7725 Penrose Avenue
  Shanker         Jennie                                                                                  215 782 2894
                                        of Temple University            Elkins Park, PA 19027 USA

                                     Art Assistant Professor of
                                                                           1022 Crete St New
   Sills         Patricia         Graphic Design and Photo Xavier                                         504-458-5970
                                                                          Orleans, LA 70119 USA
                                      University of Louisiana

                                  Artistic Director East Bay Center           339 11th Street
 Simmons          Jordan                                                                                  510-234-5624
                                       for the Performing Arts             Richmond, CA 94801

                                      94         Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
LAST NAME      FIRST NAME         ORGANIZATION                            ADDRESS                 PHONE              E-MAIL

                                                                     1300 W. Mount Royal                
 Sinchcomb         Jan      Maryland Institute College of Art                                   410-225-2289
                                                                    Avenue Maryland 21217            

                               Chicago Public Art Group,                4520 N. Dover
   Skyes          Ginny                                                                         312-427-2724
                             University of Illinois at Chicago         Chicago, IL 60640

                                                                        5525 Miles Ave.
  Sjoholm         Karen                                                                         510-654-9749
                                                                       Oakland, CA 94618

                                      Vice President,                     232 Precita
   Smith          Anne                                                                          415-515-9268
                                  Arts Consulting Group             San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                    1428 Alice Street #201
   Smith          Judith               Axis Dance                                                    
                                                                      Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                       3336 W. Pierce #3
  Stielstra      Megan                  2nd Story                                               773-895-9664
                                                                       Chicago, IL 60651

                                 Manager, Art Education                 5212 Broadway
   Stuart        Jennifer                                                                       510 594 3768
                                      CCA, CAPL                        Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                      1029 Stannage Ave.
   Swann          Carla             Moving ON Center                                            510-524-5013
                                                                      Oakland, CA 94706

                                 Community Engagement
                                  Center for Community                170 Mission Street
   Sweed          Cicely                                                                        415-321-1311
                                Life Manager, Yerba Buena           San Francisco, CA 94103
                                    Center for the Arts

   Szudy         Barbara                                                                              

                                                                      3120 Yosemite Ave.
Tannenbaum        Judith    Training Coordinator WriterCorps                                    510-526-3735
                                                                      El Cerrito, CA 94530

   Teresa        Brazen                Student, CCA                                             917-292-0190

                            Director of Community Partnerships,       600 S. Michigan Ave
   Teruel          Paul                                                                         312-344-8861
                                Columbia College Chicago               Chicago, IL 60605

                             Arts & Administration Program
                                                                      5249 University of
 Vandervoort      Thea             Assistant Professor,                                         541-346-3989
                                                                   Oregon Eugene, OR 97403
                                  University of Oregon

                              Xavier University, Community            1 Drexel Dr., Box 137
   Vantree       Shawn                                                                          504-481-5977
                                 Arts Program Manager                New Orleans, LA 70125

                                 Symposium Coordinator                1350 Guerro St #4
   Visser        Deirdre                                                                        415-647-0370
                                      CCA, CAPL                     San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      Callifornia College of the Arts • Symposium Publication   95
LAST NAME    FIRST NAME             ORGANIZATION                          ADDRESS                      PHONE                E-MAIL

                                  University of Minnesota,          2014 S. 2nd Ave. Apt 203
 Wakmonski       Amy                                                                                 612-226-3092
                                       Action group                  Minneapolis, MN 55404

                                Tisch College of Citizenship
                                                                      10 Upper Campus Rd
  Watkiss       Samara          and Public Service Program                                           617-627-4159
                                                                       Medford, MA 02155
                                 Manager, Tufts University
                               Center for Art and Community
                                                                      621 Huntington Ave.
 Weisman        Sandy        Partnerships at the Massachusetts                                       617-879-7367
                                                                       Boston, MA 02115
                                       College of Art

                                                                         PO Box 501
 Westburg        Amy                                                                                 508-566-1193
                                                                     Woods Hole, MA 02543

                               CoDirector, Center for Art and           5212 Broadway
  Wettrich       Ann                                                                                 510-594-3769
                                  Public Life CCA, CAPL                Oakland, CA 94618

                              Artist’s Resource Center Program
                                                                        230 The Fenway               617-369-3636
   White        Elena             Coordinator, School of the                                                  
                                                                       Boston, MA 02115                  x3636
                                Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

                              Fine Arts Dep. Chair Minneapolis       2501 Stevens Ave. S
   Wirth        Karen                                                                                612-874-3700
                                  College of Arts & design          Minneapolis, MN 55404

                                 Critical + Cultural Studies
                                                                    19C, 7620 SW 54 Court
   Wong          Rita          Assistant Professor, Emily Carr                                       305-665-2238
                                                                       Miami, FL 33143
                                  Institute of Art + Design

   Wood          Anne                 Paw Fort Mason                                                 415-673-2634

                                Arts in Community Program
                                                                    6445 Greene St., #B404
  Yalowitz       Billy             Co-Director, Asst. Prof                                           215-849-4822
                                                                    Philadelphia, PA 19119
                                      Temple University

             Special Thanks: To the hard working staff of the Center for Art and Public Life for their
             dedication and undying perseverance to diversity, social justice, and community and for daring
             to be different; Melinda deJesus, faculty at the California College of the Arts for final edits and
             support; Gino Squadrito and Jennifer Forester at LaserCom Design for their creative talents and
             magic in the design of this publication – thank you for your patience always.

                                  96        Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement
         Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement:
                    Convening the Community Arts Field in Higher Education
                                     Edited by Dr. Sonia BasSheva Mañjon,
                   Former Director Center for Art and Public Life California College of the Arts

                                    Video produced by the Center for Art and Public Life

On November 2, 3, and 4, 2006 the California College of the Arts Center
for Art and Public Life, together with the Association of Independent
Colleges of Art and Design and Massachusetts College of Art brought                                              a Vision fo
                                                                                                       Crafting      lity and
                                                                                                           Art, Equa       ent
together artists, students, scholars, and community activists to experience                               Civic Enga

and exchange best practices in the field of community arts. The symposium                                                         Commun
                                                                                                                                          ity Arts Fie

                                                                                                                                  in Higher
                                                                                                                                            r 2– 4, 2006
included performances, spoken word, installations, exhibitions, sessions,
and workshops addressing service-learning pedagogies, civic engagement,
identity and representation, and community partnerships. Included in
the documentation is a 106 min symposium video with keynotes, and
                                                                                                       Look for Symposium DVD inside.
a publication that includes selected sessions, essays, student articles,
                                                                                                       For more information visit
conference reflections, photographs and attendees contact information.                        


             Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is the largest regionally accredited, independent school of art and design
             in the western United States. CCA educates students to shape culture through the practice and critical study of the arts.
             The college prepares its students for lifelong creative work and service to their communities through a curriculum in art,
             architecture, design, and writing.
             The Center for Art and Public Life’s programming is woven across disciplines into the structure of the college and delivered
             through a variety of academic, professional, extracurricular, and experimental approaches. The Center’s mission is to
             create community partnerships based on creative practice that serve the college and the diverse population of Oakland,
             San Francisco, and beyond. The Center focuses on important issues in community development, service learning in arts
             education, new models of practice in community-based arts, and cultural diversity and youth development through the arts.

             Center for Art and Public Life, California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

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