Understanding the Role of Informal Arts Participation in Community Development
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This research project examines how community member participation in informal arts activities contributes to the community in which the activities are held. A central concept includes analyzing informal arts participation that occurs in group settings through a community development lens. Though there are few published works on the informal arts sector, Dr. Alaka Wali’s research on informal arts participation in urban Chicago, Illinois neighborhoods and other previous ethnographic research studies on the sector have inspired some of the research design. Key findings suggest that informal arts participation builds social capital, breaks down social barriers, and contributes to community identity. Through participant observation, key informant interviews, document analysis/comparison of small case studies created through observation of informal arts groups located in the city of Eugene, Oregon, the role of informal arts practices in community development is explored.