Capturing community value: The role of local arts organizations in revitalization, civic engagement, and community-building
Mallonee, Leigh Detra
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Mallonee, Leigh Detra
Over the past 20 years, many have pointed to “the arts” as a way in which to revitalize America’s urban centers (Kay, 2000; Phillips, 2004; Stern & Seifert, 2007; Strom, 2002). All too often, however, a community undergoing a development process is relegated to the role of audience to outsiders’ expertise (Aprill & Townsell, 2007). Local arts organizations are in a unique place to combat the disappearance of community identity. Through programs that celebrate the history and character of the community through art, theatre, and murals they have the potential to empower and maintain the neighborhood's voice on a city and regional level (Lowe, 2000). Researchers assert that small cultural groups are typically more important to communities and to revitalization of neighborhoods than major institutions (Stern, 2002). Tuned in to the pulse of a community, local arts organizations can use art and culture to ignite civic engagement, thereby engaging the community in its own revitalization and voice. The purpose of this master’s capstone will be to understand the role of community arts organizations, specifically civic engagement and education initiatives, in community identity and grassroots community revitalization.
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