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Arts & Community Development


Units: 6


Arts and community development is a growing discipline of creative and civic practice that engages artists, arts organizations, creative practitioners, and community stakeholders as partners in supporting and enhancing the physical, economic, and social character of a “place”. Also known as creative community development or creative placemaking, place-based concerns and community interests can often be addressed by placing the arts at the center of community development work. For the purposes of this course, students will be introduced to the origins of arts and community development, best practices used in the field such as asset-based community development, and topics including: place identity and public art, cultural districts, the creative economy and creative workforce development, the impact of cultural events and cultural tourism, and how creative interventions can address civic concerns in other sectors such as housing and transportation. In addition, issues of gentrification, economic inequality, and racial equity will also be covered. In order to apply concepts introduced in the course, students will learn about local neighborhoods and will work in small groups to collaboratively and equitably design creative community development solutions. Students will walk away from the course with new resources, strategies, and heightened creative leadership skills that can be used toward advanced work in this subject area or future community engagement work.

Learning Outcomes

Skills and knowledge gained through this course will be assessed through participation in discussions and course-related assignments. Upon the successful conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the origins and purposes of creative community development and identify the types of physical, economic, social, and civic arts and community development strategies that can be used.
  2. Examine a community and utilize an asset-based community development approach (ABCD) to identify opportunities for creative community development.
  3. Propose ethical strategies to engage stakeholders in community planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  4. Design a vision, core strategies, and measurable community development outcomes that include the arts and creative solutions to improve a community’s physical, economic, social, and civic environment.

Prerequisites Description

No pre-requisites, however, this course is designed for graduate students. Upper level undergraduate students may enroll in this course with the instructor's permission.