The Arts and Social Engagement

Arts and culture are deeply tied to the current social and world climate reflecting a range of human experiences and emotion. As you explore career paths in the arts its always important to keep in mind your personal values and how those can manifest in your work. Currently, there are some arts organizations and initiatives that are very active in framing arts and culture as a critical piece of addressing pressing issues in our communities. The purpose of this blog is to share some of these organizations and their work with you to demonstrate how the arts are engaging beyond the traditional performance/entertainment space to actively pursue innovative solutions to systemic issues in communities across the country. The four groups listed below are just some of the creative organizations/initiatives present right now doing this work.

  1. ArtsFwdArtsFwd is an online community of arts and culture leaders committed to doing things differently in their organizations in order to stay relevant and vital in a changing world. You can explore Innovation Stories from the field to learn more about how arts organizations across the country are engaging their constituents in new ways. You can also explore toolkits, articles, and talks from past conferences/summits on their website to think more deeply about what innovation means in the arts.
  2. Helicon CollaborativeHelicon Collaborative is a creative partner for people working for a more just, sustainable and beautiful world. They work with artists, cultural leaders, and across sectors to mobilize culture and creativity for positive change with a focus on advancing equity, environmental sustainability, and creativity. All of their work is published on their website for you to explore. You can also check out their blog and join their mailing list.
  3. Springboard for the Arts Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization based out of Minnesota focused on situating artists as key contributors to addressing community issues. They work to support artists and create infrastructure to connect them to communities in meaningful ways. There are a number of programs, toolkits, and events that you can explore on their website.
  4. Art + Museum Transparency Art + Museum Transparency is dedicated to lifting up voices, increasing transparency, and serving as change advocates in the field. You can stay up to date with the latest information by following their twitter A great deal of their work has focused on unions for art workers.

I hope exploring these three organizations could give you a sense of how arts and culture can play a significant role in facing the challenges of today and in the years to come. As you think about your career or internship possibilities, I encourage you to think broadly about the applications of the arts and how your skill set could intersect with areas you are passionate about.

By Eric Ashby
Eric Ashby Eric Ashby