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New Report on Building the Field of Arts Engagement

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Apr 03, 2017

In a new report, the James Irvine Foundation explores the field coalescing around “arts engagement,” and the prospects for future growth. The authors point out that, in a fundamental way, the environment for arts administrators has shifted substantially in the last few decades. Namely, audiences are looking for different types of experiences and the funding community is prioritizing particular techniques. In this context, arts organizations have become increasingly invested in engaging with their constituents to learn about their needs and in fostering ongoing engagement with local communities to achieve political or social goals.

The question becomes: do these shared approaches constitute a new field? According to the report, there are five common attributes that delineate a field:

  • Shared Identity
  • Standards of Practice
  • Knowledge Base
  • Leadership and Grassroots Support
  • Funding and Policy Framework


The authors go on to discuss how “arts engagement” meets these criteria in certain ways, but has room to grow in others.

You can learn more and read the full report here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org