Community arts programs
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||10-19% of WI's population
|Impact on Disparities:
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Community arts programs, also called participatory arts programs, include visual, media, and performing arts activities open to interested community members. Community-based organizations or art centers offer programs for community members to create artwork through collaboration and interactions with others. Programs can focus on building community, increasing awareness of the value of the arts, developing creativity, or addressing common issues within a community.
Expected Beneficial Outcomes
Improved social networks
Increased social capital
Improved mental health
Increased community involvement
Increased social cohesion
Evidence of Effectiveness
Community arts programs are a suggested strategy to increase social support and develop social capital throughout communities (NEA-Strategic plan 2014, Kelaher 2013, Lewis 2013a, Jones 2010, Stuckey 2010). Available evidence suggests community arts programs and creative activities can improve mental health for participants (Leckey 2011, Kelaher 2013), including delinquent youth (Rapp-Paglicci 2011). Such programs may also promote community involvement (Chung 2009). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
Community arts programs may improve health outcomes and increase community connections among older adults (Hallam 2012, Phinney 2014). A study of Porch Light, a Philadelphia-based mural art project, suggests that residents are more likely to perceive high levels of neighborhood cohesion and trust, and less likely to stigmatize individuals with mental illness in neighborhoods with participatory art projects (Tebes 2015).
Creative extracurricular activities such as music, dance, drama, and visual arts, frequently part of community arts programs, can improve self-confidence and self-esteem, and increase positive behaviors among participating children and adolescents (Bungay 2013).
Several states have Arts Boards that promote art in the community programs (NASAA). Examples of community art programs include Active Arts at the Music Center in Los Angeles, CA (Active Arts), and Make Music New York (MMNY).
Wisconsin Arts Board offers a number of grant programs including Creative Community grants and Woodland Indian Arts Initiative for Native American communities (WAB).
- Animating Democracy. A program of Americans for the Arts: Fostering civic engagement through arts and culture. Accessed on February 4, 2016
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Accessed on March 14, 2016
Citations - Evidence
- Bungay H, Vella-Burrows T. The effects of participating in creative activities on the health and well-being of children and young people: A rapid review of the literature. Perspectives in Public Health. 2013;133(1):44–52. Accessed on November 30, 2015
- Chung B, Jones L, Jones A, et al. Using community arts events to enhance collective efficacy and community engagement to address depression in an African American community. American Journal of Public Health. 2009;99(2):237-44. Accessed on December 14, 2015
- Hallam S, Creech A, Varvarigou M, McQueen H. Perceived benefits of active engagement with making music in community settings. International Journal of Community Music. 2012;5(2):115-174. Accessed on February 4, 2016
- Jones PM. Developing social capital: A role for music education and community music in fostering civic engagement and intercultural understanding. International Journal of Community Music. 2010;3(2):291-302. Accessed on March 1, 2016
- Kelaher M, Dunt D, Berman N, Curry S, Joubert L, Johnson V. Evaluating the health impacts of participation in Australian community arts groups. Health Promotion International. 2013: Epub ahead of print. Accessed on November 9, 2015
- Leckey J. The therapeutic effectiveness of creative activities on mental well-being: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2011;18(6):501–9. Accessed on May 24, 2016
- Lewis F. Participatory art-making and civic engagement. Animating Democracy; 2013. A working guide to the landscape of arts for change. Accessed on February 4, 2016
NEA-Strategic plan 2014
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Art works for America: Strategic plan, FY 2014-2018. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); 2014. Accessed on January 25, 2016
- Phinney A, Moody EM, Small JA. The effect of a community-engaged arts program on older adults' well-being. Canadian Journal on Aging. 2014;33(3):336-345. Accessed on February 4, 2016
- Rapp-Paglicci L, Stewart C, Rowe W, Miller JM. Addressing the Hispanic delinquency and mental health relationship through cultural arts programming: A research note from the prodigy evaluation. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 2011;27(1):110-21. Accessed on May 24, 2016
- Stuckey HL, Nobel J. The connection between art, healing, and public health: A review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health. 2010;100(2):254-63. Accessed on May 24, 2016
- Tebes JK, Matlin SL, Hunter B, et al. Porch Light Program: Final evaluation report. The Consultation Center at Yale. Yale School of Medicine; 2015. Accessed on February 4, 2016
Citations - Implementation
- Active Arts at the Art Center. Accessed on February 4, 2016
- Make Music New York (MMNY). A live, free musical celebration. Accessed on February 4, 2016
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). NASAA member directory. Accessed on May 20, 2016
- Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB). Creativity, culture, community, commerce. Accessed on November 18, 2015
Page Last Updated
February 4, 2016
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