Can Art Preserve Democracy?

Throughout history researchers have studied the connection between art and politics juxtaposed with the rights and principles of democracies. Artists of all forms of media are influenced and driven to create meaningful works based on socioeconomic issues and current events that appear to challenge democratic systems. Given political climates across the world one can recognize and identify struggles, discord, and conflicts between those who truly believe in democracy and those who aim to squelch expressions of social consciousness and human rights represented in art. This interactive workshop encourages participants to travel on the journey that one ceramic artist took in creating works surrounding political themes that challenge democracy and human rights of those living in the United States and which represent specific themes including: a) Socioeconomic Core of the “Haves and Have-Nots” b) Boundaries Created by Politics, d) Climate Change and the Ignorant, e) A Nation of Immigrants, f) Gender, Race, Bigotry, and Bullying, g) The Acuteness of Gun Violence, and h) Building Tolerance and Acceptance. Participants will have opportunities to view each piece, reflect, consider the issues that influenced the artist, and discuss the impact of the piece and issue on the democratic rights of individuals. Interactive discussion will delve into the value of alternative education campuses as a means of community involvement and awareness. The session will allow time for question and answer segment where participants will be inspired to network and connect with one voice that will help to inspire practice in the arts and arts education.

Social Consciousness, Arts Education, Creative Arts, Perception

2020 Special Focus - Against the Grain: Arts and the Crisis of Democracy

Workshop Presentation

  • Dr. Dorothy Valcarcel Craig
    • Professor of Education, Department of Educational Leadership, Middle Tennessee State University, United States TN, United States
    • Dr. Dorothy Valcarcel Craig is a Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro Tennessee (USA). She currently directs the Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Concentration and Professional Licensure in English as a Second Language. Dr. Craig has conducted research focusing on the role of art in diaspora experiences, visual art as an expression for second language learners, action research for practitioners, technology and language learning, meeting the needs of newly arriving immigrants, the value of professional fieldwork, and literacy development. She resides in the East Nashville neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee (USA) and is co-owner of Summer Triangle Pottery-- a handcrafted ceramic studio that works collaboratively with Nashville chefs in creating unique tableware based on culinary dishes that reflect local purveyor ingredients. Dr. Craig is also an lifelong, active member of the Clay Lady's Campus and Artist Co-op in Nashville Tennessee.
  • Danielle Mc Daniel
    • Artist and Entrepreneur, The Clay Lady Campus, United States United States
  • Devi Sanford
    • Photographer and Owner, Devi Sanford Photography, United States United States
  • Paul A. Craig
    • Professor, Aerospace, Summer Triangle Pottery, United States United States