Developing Community Access to the Arts

By: Nicole Foran  

According to philosopher Herbert Marcuse, society is the enemy of good art. Instead, strength and meaning come from subjectivity and the individuals passion, imagination, conscience, and personal history. The function of art should be to oppose the given society and its tactics of desublimation, which replace healthy natural impulses with behaviors influenced by political/economic forces. If we concede that the higher education institution is subject to the whims of political and economic forces, how do we function within that framework to create meaningful artwork and connection? If society causes the "flatttening out" of art into a commodity enmeshed in that society, how do we stimulate dialogue and broaden community access and engagement with the arts through gallery and educational settings? Institutions and artist spaces reliant on public or political funding are increasingly required to dedicate their efforts to community programming. What is at risk and what strategies can be employed to avoid the pitfalls of group-think in development of powerful and impactful public and community art projects? This presentation will highlight various programming initiatives designed to increase public engagement and advocacy for the arts. Best practices for community involvement will be emphasized, as will recommendations for growing support from institutional leaders without jeopardizing the intent of the artist. Justification for programmatic cost to the institution will be examined in connection to how the arts ultimately strengthen community and inform social identity. Strategies for unlocking resources, promotion and recruitment of professional artists, art collectives, and structuring a manifesto will be outlined.

Community, Programming, Art, Education, Strategies, Engagement
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Nicole Foran

Chair, Art and Design, Middle Tennessee State University, United States
TN, United States

Nicole Foran is an Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Middle Tennessee State University. Originally from Canada, she has been living and working in the United States for over a decade. She earned her MFA from the University of Cincinnati in 2008, with an emphasis in Printmaking and Drawing. Professor Foran's artwork is exhibited internationally, with her work most recently being exhibited in Canada, the US, and South Korea. Recent conference presentations include the 2018 AHSE Conference in Hawaii, the 2018 SGCI International Conference in Las Vegas, the 2018 SECAC Conference in Birmingham, AL, and she will be presenting her research on effective arts communication with non-verbal and ESL learners at the 2019 International College Art Association Conference in NYC.