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Mission and Goals

Guiding Practices


Peace Event



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Pages Created by:
Paul Hillman

Arts CARE Nine Guiding Practices for Community Arts

When using these guiding practices for building and evaluating programming, it is important to understand that many, but not all of these practices, will be present in a single project. Over the course of a longer program or initiative, all of these practices may be evident in different aspects of the work. Please note that this is also a work in progress and is expected to transform through our dialogs about community arts practice. The Nine Guiding Practices are the result of a public participation process involving artists, educators, and community activists during 2005-2006 in Arizona.

Marcus Zillioux, Tlisza Jaurique, and Kelly Barrett meet for a CAC discussion.

Practice One: Participant Centered and Inclusive of All Ages and People. Programming is responsive to, even directed or initiated by, the participant community.

Practice Two: Issue or Theme Driven. Programming deals with themes that have a universal focus and promote dialogue and/or creating a rich, interdisciplinary learning experience in safe community settings.

Carmen DeNovais is a guiding force in community arts participation.

Ofrenda created by Dr. Jorge Eager
honoring Mother Teresa at Heard Museum
for Dia de los Muertos event, November 2000.

Pastor Elementary School garden and artwork.

Practice Three: Experiential and Expressive. The environmental setting, the sense of place, engages children and/or adults in active learning and participation, drawing on a full range of communicative media: storytelling, writing, literature, dance or movement, theatre, music and visual arts.

When art making is seen as a means of communication and invention whereby the participant can express feelings, design (organize and relate information), develop one's perceptual skills and exercise one's creativity, the arts become an important part of the educative process. "As a tool of education, it becomes comparable to spoken and written language. When arts is taught as part of the culture and is used to understand our own and other cultures, it improves the communication among all members of society." ( McFee, Preparation for Art, 1961)

Practice Four: Holistic and Authentic. Participants encounter ideas, events and materials in meaningful contexts with complex, life lessons at the heart of the learning process.

Practice Five: Reflective and Evaluative. Arts programming provides opportunities and vehicles for participants to reflect on feelings, thoughts and new information, as well as a means for community organizers and participants to evaluate themselves, others and the effectiveness of the process.

Practice Six: Social, Collaborative and Democratic. Programming encourages learning in a social-cultural context, preferring cooperative over competitive approaches to achieving goals and creating a shared space for meaningful work with a collective purpose. It is about understanding self in relation to others and community.

Helen Yang, from Visionary Arts of California, Drawing with Tibetan Children

Keith Johnson, African Drummer and story teller (artist in residence) at StarShine Academy, Phoenix, Arizona.

Corn has been the sustenance of life for the Hopis for over 1000 years, Museum of Northern Arizona, July 2005.

Practice Seven: Developmentally Appropriate. All programming is age appropriate, following child and adult development guidelines and providing learning environments that enable all participants to create connections between content areas and understand context as well as absorb content. Learning experiences involve investigative processes, self-monitoring and problem-solving skills that engage higher-order thinking.

Practice Eight: Relationship Oriented. Relationship building and processes have priority over projects and products in the development, implementation and evaluation of community arts work.

Practice Nine: Celebrative. Participants are recognized and honored both individually and collectively through community celebrations.

Fatimah Halim presents these young women to the community after three months of mentoring in all areas of life, May 21, 2005.

The arts are a means to convey values, ideas, and beliefs in all cultures.

Please feel free to download and use in Community Arts engagements.
judy butzine -
Carmen DeNovais -
Melanie Ohm -

Celebration of International Day of Peace, September 21, 2006, at the Ice House, Phoenix, Arizona.