Blog Archives

High-impact centrality — Using the arts to provoke civic dialogue at California State University, Long Beach

Focusing arts-based programming on a common theme coordinated by a central entity with activities unfolding across campus with diverse partners

The B-Word Project is a major interdisciplinary collaboration led by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State. The topic was selected for its potential to integrate curricula and events in a meaningful way, enrich the university’s scholarship and service activities through the thoughtful introduction of relevant guest speakers/artists, and position the theater as an active participant in academic programs.

Learn more about the B-Word Project ›


Conscious Connections

Nancy Cantor

Nancy Cantor

Keynote address by Nancy Cantor, former Chancellor, Syracuse University

Today as we explore the many ways to imagine, create, and sustain two-way connections between artists and their audiences and broader communities, including universities, it’s important to underscore the transformative nature of these connections, especially when they are embraced deliberately, as this year’s conference theme of conscious connections suggests.

Read the keynote address ›


Provoking Thought, Discussion and Research – an example from California State University, Long Beach

Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship and the Response to It (The B-Word Project) was an 18-month campus-wide initiative, running from September 2011 through December 2012, at California State University, Long Beach. It presented performances and other activities to stimulate wide-ranging discussions that examine what happens when a voice—whether in artistic endeavors, journalism, scientific research or other areas—is stifled through governmental, commercial, or social restraints. The goal of the project is to provoke thought, discussion and research into the effects of censorship across all disciplines at Cal State Long Beach.

Learn more about the The B-Word Project ›


Tapping Into Community Needs – Class Divide, an example from Dartmouth University

Class Divide

Dartmouth University’s Hopkins Center’s three-year Class Divide project was conceived as a cross-campus / community programming initiative intended to raise awareness and spark discussion about socio-economic difference in communities throughout the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Through a series of events, performances and residencies, the Hop aimed to both heighten their campus and community visibility, and to deepen their role in the higher education community at Dartmouth College. The Class Divide project began one-year prior to receipt of two-years of funding from the Creative Campus Innovations grant program.

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program:

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program.

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact:

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact.

Learn more about the program at Dartmouth College ›


Adding Community Engagement Programs

Several projects were conceived out of a desire to serve a specific population or stakeholder group, or a desire to work with a specific academic department. In most cases, this approach was amalgamated using an artist focus.

Read more about programmatic components ›

California State University, Long Beach, created a community engagement project called PROject/proJECT with videos done by high school students as part of a partnership with the YMCA Youth Institute.

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers:

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers.

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This:

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This.

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission:

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission.

Power of Words by Vyrus:

Power of Words by Vyrus.

Silence by Taboo:

Silence by Taboo.

Learn more about the PROject/proJECT ›

Wesleyan’s Feet to the Fire Program

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art. This program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues.

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school):

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school).

Each year, Feet to the Fire presents programming that provides opportunities to engage with the arts and the environment simultaneously. Events and exhibitions often take the form of one-time performances by visiting artists, festivals, or gallery exhibitions. It is an occasion for the CFA to present artists whose work connects with the annual Feet to the Fire theme. It also allows for the campus and surrounding community at-large to engage with the work of the artist and environmental topics.

Read more about the Center for the Arts’ community events ›

Music and Public Life: A Year-Long Campus and Community-Wide Exploration

Today, the private and public worlds of music often overlap and intersect in virtual networks, community musicking, and public policy. During the 2012–2013 academic year, Wesleyan University is celebrating and studying the sounds, words, and spirit of music in public at the local, national, and transnational levels through concerts, workshops, gatherings, and courses, all designed to cross disciplines and engage the campus and Greater Middletown communities.

Learn more about the Music and Public Life project ›


Integrating Creative Campus Elements Into Existing Campus-Wide Teaching Initiatives

Wesleyan integrates Creative Campus elements into existing campus-wide teaching initiatives and ongoing pedagogical exchange:

Wesleyan integrates Creative Campus elements into existing campus-wide teaching initiatives and ongoing pedagogical exchange.

Example of a co-taught course and co-created curriculum modules:

Example of a co-taught course and co-created curriculum modules.

Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts has developed two models for pedagogical collaboration between artists and non-artists. A course module is defined as two to four class sessions within an existing course in which the host of the course co-creates the module with an artist (or if the host is an artist, he/she co-creates the curriculum with a non-artist). Modules provide a way for campus presenters to move beyond the typical workshop or master class conducted by visiting artists and introduce artists into the classroom in a structured way.

Explore sample teaching module descriptions ›


Key Outcomes: Sustainability

The 2010 evaluation report of the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program features examples of the outcomes from the Round 1 grants which the authors consider to be the most sustainable in nature.

Browse the list of sustainable outcomes ›

California State University, Long Beach

From the earliest days of the B-Word Project, Cal State tried to build a sustainable model for interdisciplinary projects. All the evaluation activities, all the committee meetings, all the classroom visits, were designed to instill in faculty the idea that Cal State’s Carpenter Center was ‘open for business’ and interested in working with them. Since the directive to accomplish this originated with the Dean of the College of the Arts, and he was promoted to Provost when the Creative Campus award was announced, we surmised this was a realistic endeavor.

Read the full sustainability report from Long Beach ›

Dartmouth Hopkins Center

Discussion at Hopkins Center of how seeds sown in the arts produce multiple blossoms:

Discussion at Hopkins Center of how seeds sown in the arts produce multiple blossoms.

The Hopkins Center (the Hop) now has several sets of internal and external resources they did not have before Class Divide:

  • An employee Task Force that is deeply versed in matters of community access, and whose work will continue to benefit the Hop’s institutional accessibility. The Hop Employee Task Force’s approach to assessing the economic accessibility of the Hop is being made public to peer organizations needing help.
  • The Community Advisory board, who understand the Hop’s goals and programs and who will continue to function as advocate for them.

Read the Dartmouth College sustainability report ›

Montclair State University

Plans for continuing to take an interdisciplinary approach to pedagogy – the Creative Thinking course was intended to become an ongoing part of Montclair State’s curriculum. The long-term goal is for the course to grow into a foundational experience for all incoming students at Montclair State. The course responds to goals articulated in Montclair State’s strategic plan that include the integration of deep learning initiatives and creativity into the curriculum and increased integration of the arts into campus life.

Read the Montclair State University sustainability report ›

Read the discussion of sustainable elements in the 2012 Creative Thinking CCI Final Report ›

Wesleyan Center for the Arts: Common Moment

First Year Matters (FYM) is an annual program for incoming first-year students that explores the challenges we face as a result of global climate change and its impact on cultures and ecosystems around the world. The CFA connects to this program through the Common Moment, which is a capstone experience at the end of FYM. The purpose of the Common Moment is to create a participatory community experience through music and movement that physically connects the students to the FYM readings. Each unique performance is interactive and allows students to connect the materials learned throughout the week with the arts. At the conclusion of the Common Moment, the students assemble in a histogram representing the results of a survey question about the F2F theme answered earlier in the week.

Wesleyan Common Moment

Common Moment for incoming freshman is now an annual festival that continues with a new theme each year:

Common Moment for incoming freshman is now an annual festival that continues with a new theme each year.

Learn more about Common Moment ›

The parts of Feet to the Fire that will continue beyond the funded project include the relationships between the CFA and the various campus partners to continue to create innovative collaborations.

Read the Wesleyan sustainability report


Lessons Learned: Dartmouth

The Hop at Dartmouth learned how to be more explicit with communication strategies, both with the visiting artists and with their public messaging about the initiative. During the Hop’s mid-point assessment, partners encouraged them to be bolder about the programmatic connections within Class Divide. Once the Hop explained their rationale behind the involvement of certain artists and guests, it became clearer to participants that there was intentionality behind all facets of the project. It was noted that the Class Divide logo was an important signifier for many partners as well.

Faculty meeting/discussion of central hub role of Dartmouth’s presenter and summary of working with multiple faculty/community partners to increase impact:

Faculty meeting/discussion of central hub role of Dartmouth’s presenter and summary of working with multiple faculty/community partners to increase impact.

Find out more about the lessons learned at Dartmouth ›


Curators for the 21st Century and a Call to Action

As arts groups look more deeply into their communities for legitimacy and creative material, they will require artistic leaders (i.e., curators) with different skill sets. Curators will be called upon not only to select and organize arts programs, but to diagnose need in their communities, seek out new and unusual settings for their work, forge partnerships with a wide array of disparate stakeholders, and, in some cases, cede a certain amount of artistic control in order to gain broader impact.

Learn more about the changing role and opportunities for on-campus presenters ›

The need for arts-based interdisciplinary thinking is not just an academic mandate. Shifting patterns of cultural tastes are deconstructing long-held definitions of art forms. As culture becomes more and more of a mash-up of genres and forms, the public has become more interested in artistic work that crosses boundaries (e.g., Cirque do Soleil). This is a wonderful but scary opportunity for arts groups, especially multi-disciplinary presenters, who must now consider breaking free of organizational and disciplinary silos and grow more comfortable programming cross-genre and inter-disciplinary work.

Read more about the importance of the Creative Campus in elevating the role of the arts in academia ›


Resource Materials: Dartmouth

Dartmouth resource materials include project overview, planning documents, communications/dissemination strategies, documentation of commissioned works, student projects, video reports and evaluation materials.

Large-scale community art projects are among the ongoing outcomes at Dartmouth:
HOP Community Art Projects

Explore the list of Dartmouth resource materials ›