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.
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Americans for the Arts has introduced a new 2.0 version of the Arts + Social Impact Explorer, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of example projects and research about the role of arts in community life available today. The Explorer provides examples, datapoints, links to research papers, and lists of active organizations to illustrate the impact of arts and culture in 30 aspects of community life from public health to transportation, safety, community cohesion, and innovation.
This week: Asian American artist-activists using their art to effect change against racism and stereotypes, the work of Newark Arts executive director Jeremy Johnson, the growing roster of speakers and sessions for the 2021 Annual Convention, and remembering Artists Committee member Jacques d’Amboise.
This week: we launched registration and opened scholarships to the 2021 Annual Convention, dove into arts policy and issues at the state and local levels, explored the importance of intersectionality in anti-racism work, reminded ourselves why creative employees make the best employees, and shined the spotlight on one of our dedicated members.
The Arts in Juvenile Justice Working Group is a conglomerate of organizations and stakeholders that are passionate about the Juvenile Justice system, as it relates to the integration of creative arts therapies. Working Group member SkyArt in Chicago provides visual art programming to young people ages 5 to 24 and is currently featuring an exhibition focused on artwork from incarcerated youth and explores the impact that incarceration has on the youth population.
GIVE (Growing Inclusivity for Vibrant Engagement), created by New Victory and a consortium of teaching artists and arts administrators, is a free guide that supports Teaching Artists in the creation of liberated learning environments and vibrant arts experiences within inclusion settings.
Registration is now open for the Cultural Equity Learning Community 2.0, a two-unit, asynchronous anti-racism course for arts and culture leaders committed to building intersectional racial equity. Two cohorts (Summer and Fall 2022) are currently offered with a sliding scale payment structure. Registration closes on Wednesday, July 13 for the Summer cohort, and on Wednesday, Aug. 31 for the Fall cohort.
Explore the funding landscape for creative social change.
Follow the MAP Fund’s examination of biases in its grantmaking processes and learn how MAP is incorporating Animating Democracy’s Aesthetic Perspectives framework to help mitigate bias. Download for free!