Community-Based Environmental Art

University of Cincinnati, ARTE 6050 

Spring 2014 

M & W 4:20 - 5:50 pm 5310 Wolfson

Art EducationUC_DAAP_SOA


Course Description

What can art do? What role should artists play in affecting change in society?

This course will ask you to examine the potential that creative acts have to effect social, political, localand personal change. Through an introduction to community art, and contemporary socially engagedpractice as a method of artistic research and intervention, students will be asked to reflect andcritique these methods, while developing a project in conjunction with some partnering group outsidethe university setting.

You will be introduced to the process of community-based art. According to Knight (2005)community-based art lives at the intersection of three activities we tend to think separately—art,learning, and social change. In this course we will engage with various participants, a communityagency, and a visiting artist to experience the many dimensions of community-based art and itsinterdisciplinary process. Through the process of community arts, you will learn to use art-making asa means of civic, youth, and community development.

Participants in this class are required to think beyond themselves to identify an issue, outline aproposal, develop a budget, and then implement a plan to address their area of interest. Ideally, theclass will culminate in a field trip or trips conducted during the final weeks of class to celebrate thefinished projects. As a student you will be asked to use every element of your experience in this classas part of your learning, including readings, site visits, lectures, discussions, reflections, and otheraspects you may not traditionally identify as standard components of education. 


Major Course Objectives

To be able to use art as a potential force for social change

Develop a project concept and create and present a project proposal

To partner with an outside group and facilitate a dialogue toward a shared vision

To create a meaningful exhibition or public art project or performance with a community partner andthe greater community of Cincinnati

To examine and critique community art education and socially engaged art practicesDevelop a personal definition of community based and socially engaged art 

Project Proposals

Community art proposals will be developed in teams or individually. They consist of a design-plan document of an intended community project to be executed during this course in a site to be determined. Each proposal will be reviewed by a panel, members to be announced. The review will be scheduled as a class. Writing is a major part of the professional artist's life and career. Developing a practice of writing or journaling will help you as you develop artist's statements, project and grant proposals, and your community based project proposal in this course. 

Final Portfolio

  • A Sketchbook / Journal that should include references to classroom learning situations, research,documentation of process, theory and responses to required readings and lectures.
  • Fulfillment of research / writing proposals, including final paper included in or with your journal.
  • Description and evidence of learning experiences a took place during the quarter artist andpartners (both within and outside classroom times)
  • Summarized design-plan document of community art proposal
  • Descriptive-evaluative report of process distilled from journals and design-plan document.
    The following questions will be answered in addition to any other questions that may be importantto you:A. What happened (including who, when, and where)?B. What worked well?  C. What was learned?  D. How were decisions made?E. What is your assessment of the project developed?

The criteria & method for assessing the portfolio and project are as follows:

Students are assessed for their growth in understandings, skills, and dispositions as stipulated in theCourse Objectives. Amount of growth will be measured against professional levels ofaccomplishment, though students are not expected reach those levels. Their growth will beascertained across student-performance as evident in their portfolio materials (covering the coursefrom beginning to end) and in their completed project.