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Engage Your Community in Social Issues through Arts Advocacy


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Learn how an arts advocacy project can engage audiences, foster social justice issues, and create opportunities for community service. Showcases 3 model projects and provides 3 tips for producing your own. Presented at the 6th Annual President's Interfaith & Community Service Campus Challenge, 2016

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Engage Your Community in Social Issues through Arts Advocacy

  1. 1. ENGAGE Your Community in Social Issues through ARTS ADVOCACY
  2. 2. The arts can be used to build peace by creating understanding and focusing on our shared humanity.
  3. 3. As community leaders and facilitators of social innovation, we can use arts advocacy projects to bring diverse groups together and work to create lasting change. Dr. Esmilda Abreu Kirsten Richert Orville Morales Who we are:
  4. 4. Here is what this deck will share: • What is arts advocacy? • Why use the arts to advocate for change? • What are examples of arts advocacy? • How can you do an arts advocacy project in your community? • What are tips for creating a successful project? • Where can you learn more?
  5. 5. What is arts advocacy?
  6. 6. Arts Advocacy is a strategy for fostering social engagement and volunteerism by connecting public art platforms to social justice and peace initiatives. It is a powerful tool for doing positive interfaith and community peacebuilding.
  7. 7. Why use the arts to advocate for change?
  8. 8. 3 Principles of Arts Advocacy 1. Art is engaging, attracts attention, and can be moving even through brief experiences. 2. Art can make it feel safe for people learn about difficult social justice topics. 3. Art provides a prompt for community discussion about an issue that can lead to commitments to change efforts.
  9. 9. There are three core spheres to consider when creating an arts advocacy initiative.
  10. 10. 3 Spheres of Arts Advocacy Arts
  11. 11. 3 Spheres of Arts Advocacy Arts Social Issues
  12. 12. 3 Spheres of Arts Advocacy Arts Community Social Issues
  13. 13. 3 Spheres of Arts Advocacy Arts Community Social Issues This overlap creates an opportunity for the Arts Advocacy project
  14. 14. Arts advocacy projects can provide important benefits to people working in each of the three spheres. Arts Community Social Issues
  15. 15. Benefits to Arts Partners Arts 1. Provides meaningful subject matter that inspires creativity, attracts audiences, and captures public attention Potential Arts Partners • Professional artists • Nonprofit arts organizations • Businesses in the arts • Museums, galleries, art venues • People who love to make art
  16. 16. Benefits to Social Issues Partners Social Issues 2. Offers engaging public forum for doing education and advocacy work on a key social justice issue Potential Social Issues Partners • Nonprofit agencies • Social service providers • Cause-focused groups • Political organizations • People who want to do something about an issue
  17. 17. Benefits to Community Partners Community 3. Creates a specific opportunity for increasing participation, community service, and volunteerism for the good of the community Potential Community Partners • Community leaders • Faith-based organizations • Interfaith groups • Foundations, corporations, donors • Schools, businesses, centers • People who care about their community
  18. 18. What are examples of art advocacy?
  19. 19. 3 Examples of Arts Advocacy 1. Swan Peace Animodule – Art as a focus for community response 2. Red Sand Project – Art activism to educate about an issue 3. Real Beauty: Uncovered – Education through art to create personal insights and new community norms
  20. 20. Swan Peace Animodule Interfaith Vigil after Orlando Shooting
  21. 21. This vigil was held in response to the tragic mass shooting in Orlando. Interfaith leaders called for supporting love not hate and creating more inclusive communities. Read more.
  22. 22. Together, the crowd gathered around the Swan Peace Animodule—a sculpture symbolizing love—to create a moving community response to the tragic incident. Participants posted their thoughts, wishes, and commitments for the future.
  23. 23. Candles were lit and people contemplated the swan in silence. At the end, everyone sang—moving from pain to hope, from despair to resolve.
  24. 24. Red Sand Project Art Against Human Trafficking
  25. 25. Red Sand Project is participatory artwork that encourages people to pour grains of red sand into cracks to focus on the problem of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
  26. 26. Individuals, groups, and organizations have created their own artwork on sidewalks and then posted their photos on social media. This has been a powerful way to get people involved, create discussion, and inspire future actions.
  27. 27. Sidewalk interventions have taken place in all 50 U.S. states as well as in more than 70 countries around the world—by schools, campuses, hotels, and in public places—raising awareness about this social issue. See one example.
  28. 28. Real Beauty: Uncovered Body Image Media Literacy Program
  29. 29. Real Beauty: Uncovered is a movement that promotes the understanding that beauty comes from within. In a world where touched-up and altered images in the media distort our perceptions, Real Beauty: Uncovered challenges you to accept yourself for who you really are.
  30. 30. Photographer Dani Allen interviews participants to uncover their own concepts about beauty, body image, and self worth. This experience is captured in a single black and white photo with a moving personal quote.
  31. 31. Participants talk about their experiences together, actively shaping their own expressions of beauty and value, defining themselves in positive ways, and learning to overcome challenges to their worth by practicing acceptance and authenticity. This project ends in a culminating activity open to the community in which everyone’s photographs are revealed. This is an opportunity for the whole community to discuss new insights and make commitments for the future.
  32. 32. How can you do an arts advocacy project in your community?
  33. 33. Step 1: Engage in Experience
  34. 34. Step 2: Create Art Display
  35. 35. Step 3: Host Forum & Share
  36. 36. What are tips for creating a successful project?
  37. 37. 3 Tips on Arts Advocacy 1. Select a specific issue of urgent or critical importance to your community. 2. Ensure appropriate treatment of the issue by consulting and partnering with community and interfaith thought leaders. 3. Facilitate the community forum to deepen your project’s impact. Encourage commitment to future actions on the issue.
  38. 38. 3 Ways to Engage the Community 1. Reach out to partner with key community leaders and ask them to get their constituents directly involved. 2. Promote attendance at experiential activity, art display, and community forum in live, print, and social media platforms. 3. Post art advocacy results in community spaces, especially insights and commitments to future actions, and revisit them in worship services and community meetings.
  39. 39. 3 Phases to Remember 1. Encourage “eyeballs to eyeballs” interaction—live personal contact is best. 2. Provide context for your audience—give them a reason that the project is important. 3. Always follow up!!!—do what you promise and stay in touch.
  40. 40. Where can you learn more?
  41. 41. Explore more about these projects and their creators: – – –
  42. 42. Go deeper by using this great resource for leading sensitive community forums and group discussions: –The Art of Focused Conversations, R. Brian Stanfield
  43. 43. Contact Us • Dr. Esmilda Abreu – Montclair State University – NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking – • Kirsten Richert – NeuroLink Institute – Richert Innovation Consulting – • Orville Morales – Montclair State University – Congressman Pascrell, U.S. House of Representatives –
  44. 44. Engage Your Community in Social Justice through Arts Advocacy Dr. Esmilda Abreu, Kirsten Richert, Orville Morales Presented at PICSCC Panel: Global Arts and Cultural Education as a Tool for Interfaith Peacebuilding, September 22, 2016