Social change is both the process and effect of efforts to positively alter societal conditions. It encompasses a range of outcomes—healing, increased awareness, attitudinal change, more diverse and increased civic participation, movement building, and policy change to name just a few.
Fostering Civic Engagement and Social Impact through the Arts
Arts and culture promote understanding and action on issues facing our communities and the world. Americans for the Arts’ commitment to creative social change is embodied by its Animating Democracy program, which strengthens the role of artists and cultural organizations as leaders and partners in civic engagement and social change.
Civic engagement encompasses the many ways that people may get involved in their communities to consider and address civic issues. Civic engagement can be a measure or a means of social change. In arts-based civic engagement, the creative process and resulting art work/experience can provide a key focus, catalyst, or space for civic participation, whether it is becoming better informed or actively contributing to the improvement of one’s neighborhood, community, and nation.
From urban interventions to youth development through theater to public art that explores our relationship to the environment to cultural organizing—creative social change work encompasses the myriad ways that the arts are being activated to engage people and make impact. Animating Democracy’s LANDSCAPE gives a big picture of individuals and organizations doing and supporting arts for change work.
Measuring the difference that we’re making in our arts for change work involves knowing what to look for as indicators of change and how to collect that evidence. Whether you are just starting to explore foundational terms and frameworks or want to dive right into evaluation tools and case studies, Animating Democracy’s Impact section is a storehouse of resources to help advance your evaluation work.
Looking for ways to build evidence of your impact? Check out the Social Impact Indicators section of Animating Democracy’s website for ways to express common social and civic outcomes. See how to translate outcomes to evidence you can measure. Learn different data collection strategies including how to effectively collect and analyze qualitative data.
Animating Democracy is a program of Americans for the Arts that inspires, promotes, and connects arts and culture as potent contributors to civic and social change. Working locally, nationally, and across sectors, Animating Democracy creates useful resources for artists, cultural, and community leaders, and funders; builds knowledge about quality engagement and evaluation; and brings national visibility to arts for change work.
Topic Page News Tabs
President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, Robert L. Lynch, as well as Vice President of Local Arts Advancement, Clayton Lord, participated in the third annual SphinxCon on January 30 in Detroit, Michigan as part of Americans for the Arts ongoing work in the field of arts and diversity.
The winter meeting of the United States Urban Arts Federation (USUAF) took place in New Orleans, LA on January 21-23, 2015 at the InterContinental New Orleans. The USUAF was updated on Americans for the Arts current programs and initiatives for 2015, and many conversations were had over the weekend around central themes of arts and diversity, creative equity, placemaking, and more.
President Obama made a special televised appearance during the Grammy Awards on February 8.
October is the month to #ShowYourArt, meet up for Creative Conversations, and celebrate the role the arts and humanities have in shaping and improving our communities - it's Na
Another “Freedom Rock” was unveiled in Wapello County, Iowa, painted by muralist Ray "Bubba" Sorenson II in a partnership between the Ottumwa Area Arts Council and local Vietn
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Roman Baca is a ballet dancer that joined the Marines. As a veteran, he promotes social change and health through the art of movement.
This video will guide you through the site and introduce you to creative social change resources Animating Democracy’s website.