In Bimodal Engagement, I intimated that there was a plot afoot at Engaging Matters to spread the word about great examples of arts and community engagement activities. The form the plot will take is a recognition list called EM’s List (Engaging Matters: EM. Maybe not clever but, for me, easy to remember.) I don’t presume that anyone will be lining up to seek such an honor, but I do believe it’s important to publicize the good work that is going on in this area.
I have in the past at least alluded to the fact that keeping up the twice weekly pace of posts here (a self-imposed standard, I know) has been challenging. Recognizing that and seeking a bit of relief in the enterprise, I have cajoled a former student, Stephanie Moore, to curate the list. My haranguing about the arts and community engagement apparently did not put her off the issue. She went on to get a Master’s degree in the field from the University of Oregon. Here’s her bio:
Stephanie Moore is a freelance arts and culture researcher based in Los Angeles, CA. Her continued research on cultural mapping and community development stems from her longstanding interest in folk and traditional arts. Her research Cultural Mapping: Building and Fostering Strong Communities earned her a Master’s degree in Arts Management and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon in 2011. Stephanie has worked as a research assistant on multiple cultural planning and collaboration initiatives with Creative Planning, the Sustainable Cities Initiative, and the California Association of Museums.
What she did not include in her bio is that, along with Tom Borrup, she wrote two chapters for Building Communities, Not Audiences, one on economic development, another on cultural mapping. (I know you are probably getting tired of me mentioning the book, but until it’s finally done–and the end is near–it fills many of my waking moments. My apologies.)
I’m pasting the purpose, goals, and criteria for the list below. Anyone who would like to nominate a program or organization for this list should contact Stephanie. This will become a periodic feature of Engaging Matters, depending upon the level of interest, the number of nominations, and Stephanie’s ability to keep up with it all.
EM’s List Overview and Criteria
Purpose: Recognize arts organizations and arts programs that promote substantive engagement between the arts and the community.
The Goals are to:
- Encourage arts programs that effectively engage their communities
- Reward and promote arts organizations that are committed to substantive engagement
- Highlight the effectiveness of community engagement programs
- Raise awareness of the benefits of community engagement to arts organizations and to communities
Candidates are arts organizations that produce projects and/or programs:
- Designed to
- address community issues or
- establish the arts organization as a valued “good neighbor”
- That actively involve populations historically under-served by the arts
Preference is given to:
- Programs involving collaboration between an arts organization and an organization that does not have an arts-related mission
- Organizations that reflect adherence to principles of good practice for community engagement:
- Readiness through self-reflection
- Collaboration rooted in a mutuality of respect and benefit
- Work that comes out of relationship-building (the relationship was developed first)
- Arts experiences tied to community feedback and growing relationships (i.e., the arts serve as the centerpiece of a broader, ongoing effort)
- Organizations that have an arts-centered (as opposed to a service or advocacy) mission
- Organizations that have “mainstreamed” engagement (i.e., all functions–including programming–grow out of engagement rather than engagement being an add-on activity)