From Short-Term Participation to Long-Term Engagement

Posted by Anusha Venkataraman On November - 10 - 2011

Participants take part in integrated creative, interactive activities during the workshop. (Photo by Roxanne Earley)

In reading my fellow bloggers’ posts, I was thinking about the different sets of strategies used to interest and involve community members in the short-term (what we might call “one-offs”), and those used to cultivate engagement in the long-term.

The potential of art to involve community in the shorter term is well-documented and recognized. We recognize the value of performance and temporary public art in activating public space during large (and small) community events.

Art is also recognized as an important communication tool, a way to get across a complex message that might otherwise be technical or seem far removed from daily life. Creative processes can even be used to diffuse conflict and create the space for dialogue.

Urban planners and designers have also integrated creative, interactive activities into the charrette workshop model. This week I attended a lecture and workshop at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, led by James Rojas on his interactive, art-based technique of using semi-abstract models and moving pieces to involve community members in reimagining and redesigning urban spaces.

The materials used were simple—blocks, string, plastic toys—but the colors and shapes clearly activated different parts of the participants’ brains, and encouraged new ideas and solutions—even among a crowd of planning and architecture students that is used to addressing urban design issues every day. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.