Women Printers, 18th century engraving CultureWork
A Periodic Broadside *
for Arts and Culture Workers
January, 2000. Vol. 4, No. 1.
Institute for Community Arts Studies
Arts & Administration Program, University of Oregon
In this issue:

Community Arts Councils:
Historical Perspective
Part One

Maryo Ewell


Doug Blandy
Director, Institute for Community Arts Studies

Community arts are associated with people coming together in local arts centers, museums, schools, homes, places of worship, social clubs, recreation facilities, and civic associations among other settings, both formal and informal. 

Community arts settings are among those informal and formal enclaves in which people assemble, work, and act together for a variety of political, cultural, economic, and educational purposes. The arts produced in such settings function, in part, as catalysts for dialogue about individual and group identity as well as local, national, and international concerns. In this regard, community arts have the capacity to foster the discourse required by democracy and that nourishes civil society. In many instances this discourse has been directed towards debating and creating what is considered to be the "common good" and helping to define "good" citizenship.

Despite the obvious importance that community arts initiatives and organizations have within American society and to the perpetuation of American democracy, there are no comprehensive scholarly historical surveys available on the topic. Nor are there many detailed studies of specific community arts events, programs, participants, purposes, and places that can support and/or supplement broader historical surveys. 

Maryo Ewell's article in this issue of CultureWork inaugurates what I hope will be the regular and frequent appearance of advisories that provide a historical perspective on community arts and culture work. Maryo Ewell's Community Arts Councils: Historical Perspective will be presented in three parts. Part 1 appears in this issue with parts 2 and 3 appearing in the spring and summer issues respectively.  In the fall, 2000 Community Arts Councils: Historical Perspective will be posted in its entirety as a special issue. It is my hope that Ewell's advisory will stimulate others to submit historically oriented manuscripts. I also hope that Ewell's advisory will stimulate additional inquiry into the issues, events, personages, and circumstances that she describes. 

It is important that those of us associated with community arts commit to creating a shared history that informs and stimulates our endeavors. Readers are encouraged to consult manuscript submission guidelines at the conclusion of this issue. I will be pleased to communicate with any person who wishes to write on our shared history for CultureWork. I can be reached at <dblandy@darkwing.uoregon.edu>.

My purpose is to tell you about community arts councils, from the ideas that generated them to the present. I believe that story-telling enables people to evaluate how far they have come, to attribute significance to what has happened, and to enable people to then define a course for the future. When you're 50, as the community arts council movement now is, you have the ability to synthesize diverse experience into something that finally makes sense as a whole; wisdom flows from a sense of wholeness. As a person associated with this movement, I see my challenge as articulating what I¹ve learned, what the community arts council movement once was, and what it is becoming.

Gestation (1853 ­ 1955)

It¹s often said that the "community arts council movement" began in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1949. In one way, that¹s true. But itwould be equally true to say (and people in those communities do say) that "the movement" was born in Quincy, Illinois and in Canon City, Colorado, for in the period 1946-49 all three communities were in the convening, discussion, planning, and incorporating stages.

It is worth paying heed to foundational stories that made the creation of community arts councils almost inevitable, for if ideas move in 40-50 year cycles, as many people suggest, then the old stories are poised for rebirth.  Some stories are about community movements with an arts emphasis; others are about arts movements with a community emphasis. The community arts council is a hybrid ­ its strongest attribute, perhaps, but one which also leads to ongoing, and often passionately argumentative, soul-searching.

The Physical Community

In 1853, the "Village Improvement" movement began in Massachusetts. "Proponents of village improvement sought to beautify their communities by controlling billboards, planting trees, paving streets and sidewalks, and securing recreational facilities. By 1900, [there existed] a national network of 3,000 village improvement associations characterized by citizen activism and a commitment to recapture a sense of community through a concern for aesthetics." (Dreeszen & Korza, 1994). The "City Beautiful" movement had culminated in the Chicago World¹s Fair which advocated a return to beautiful, inspirational classical architecture (and many of these Fair sites ­ the Museum of Science & Industry, the Aquarium, the Midway with its classical sculpture, still remain in their grandeur). Early in the twentieth century, landscape architects and park planners ­ most famous among them Frederick Law Olmstead ­ were integrating public art and plantings into thoughtful public gathering-places; indeed, several public art commissions were created in the 19-teens for that purpose. The growing industrialization of America in the early part of the century and the growth of huge business agglomerates led to a fascination with, and a valuing of, efficiency (think of Ford's assembly line). Says Dreeszen, "In an era during which efficiency was the primary value, aesthetics were thought to be superficial, impractical, inefficient, and costly." (Dreeszen & Korza, 1994, p. 4)  Moreover, some insisted (probably correctly) that grand public buildings, museums, and public art primarily benefited the upper class.

Frank Lloyd Wright was, perhaps, the best known of the American architects and designers who took a stand against this perspective, arguing that quality design should be a public good. His vision of "Usonia" includedaffordable housing of high quality design integrated into the natural landscape. He went further, believing that furniture, drapery and upholstery fabric, even wallpaper, could and should be both beautiful and affordable.  Indeed, he designed lines of fabric and wallcoverings that were briefly sold through Sears ­ accessible, functional art aimed at the middle class.

The Thinking Community

Josiah Holbrook of Millbury, Massachusetts, gathered his neighbors together to read books and discuss the ideas that they prompted. They began to invite professors to their gatherings, as well, to lecture and discuss new ideas with them. This grassroots movement grew into the American Lyceum Association in 1831, and by 1850, perhaps 3,000 of these groups existed in communities of all sizes (Overton, 1997).

Honoraria were ultimately provided. The assembly hall replaced the parlor as the gathering site.  It seemed logical and efficient that speakers should go "on the circuit." In 1867, James Redpath centralized speakers through his booking company. It was beautifully organized and costs were kept down through efficiency savings; but Redpath¹s Lyceum Bureau favored, of course, those groups that could afford the fees, and those communities that were on railroad lines. The grassroots self-improvement movement withered in the face of centralization and efficiency (Overton, 1997).

At about this time, Methodist minister Dr. John Heyl Vincent began experimenting with the arts as one way to better teach the Bible at his summer camp in Chautauqua, New York (1874). The camps proved so effective that Dr. Vincent encouraged the creation of Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles based on his study packages. In Overton¹s (1997) opinion these packages promoted the arts as a way to teach and learn.

Meanwhile, Keith Vawter, new manager of Redpath¹s Lyceum Bureau, believed that by combining the fine Lyceum speakers with the great number of potential "presenters" - Chautauqua circles - more audiences could be reached and more work could be available for the speakers. Realizing that many of the Chautauqua circle communities did not have assembly halls, Vawter provided tents. The tents ­ perhaps symbolizing the populist circus and religious revival experience ­ tended to draw people from all walks of life as nothing had done before. Gradually, theater experience was introduced into the Tent Chautauquas (Overton, 1997).

The Cultured Community

It is often said in the West that the building built after the assayer¹s office and saloon was the opera house. Certainly, grand opera houses and performance halls abounded in large cities, but they were equally numerous in small towns.  For example, Leadville, Colorado, was famous for its elegant Tabor Opera House. Extraordinary performers like Edmund Booth and Sarah Bernhardt rode the opera house circuit, and local leagues presenting the performing arts sprang up everywhere. Community Concerts series ­ many of which sprang up in the early 1940¹s, and were affiliated with Columbia Artists Management ­ proliferated throughout America¹s smallest towns. In the Southwest, vaudeville theater ­ in Spanish ­ toured throughout Texas and into California, with bilingual companies presenting plays that made importantstatements about the lives of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (Kanellos, 1990).

Meanwhile, community-based arts organizations were multiplying. The Little Theater movement began in the nineteen-teens and spread rapidly. Quincy, Illinois had a small orchestra with a paid conductor by 1947. There was a visual art league in Fargo that went back to 1911. The arts could no longer be considered the purview of the larger cities.

Communities were starting to think of the arts more broadly. For example, in 1927 the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts was formed  "for the purpose of stimulating the development of art and music in the city of Cincinnati" (Gibans, 1982, pp. 25-26).  A little later, Virginia Lee Comer, on the central staff of the Cincinnati Junior League, recognized the unmet needs of cultural groups across the country and the absence of cultural opportunities in many places. Her 1944 manual, The Arts and Our Town, was the precursor of cultural planning, examining

...all aspects of participation in the arts and also opportunities for appreciation of them, and [in the survey we] included agencies whose sole purpose is to provide cultural opportunity, such as museums, and those whose programs may touch cultural fields, such as radio stations and civic clubs. In addition, organizations of large groups of people such as housing projects, unions, churches, etc, have been included since they are channels through which large numbers can be informed of existing facilities and services and may themselves have developed activities. (Gibans, 1982, pp21)

Perhaps the timing was logical for this community arts development, emerging as it did around the time of the New Deal. The value of artists to a community¹s makeup was publicly acknowledged, as the Works Progress Administration, Federal Theater and other initiatives employed hundreds of artists, writers, playwrights and "arts administrators." These programs were short-lived, but they first articulated the role that artists play in public life, and created corresponding public support mechanisms.

The Creative Community

In 1888, Jane Adams established Hull House in Chicago, perhaps the best known of the settlement houses. Her credo was access. Poverty should not mean disenfranchisement from a decent, educated and creative life. Among the comprehensive social programs of Hull House, which served a diverse immigrant community of 5,000-6,000 people, were a kindergarten, a public kitchen, a gymnasium, a men¹s club, a circulating library, an employment bureau, an art gallery, and a drama group. Today, the schools affiliated with the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts identify their roots in the settlement house movement: Guild schools pledge that no student may be denied access to learning the arts because of inability to pay tuition, nor denied access to learning the arts because of inadequate

In rural America, the Extension Service created similar access to the arts. While our stereotype today may limit 4-H to young people raising animals, and homemakers¹ programs to baking, we couldn¹t be further from the historical truth. Grounded in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, Extension agents organized opera groups in rural Iowa, integrated the arts and recreation in West Virginia, helped stimulate folk arts in Kentucky, and used the arts as a community planning tool in Ohio (Patten, 1932).

Five professors, who were employed by, or collaborated with, their University¹s extension divisions are important to mention. They explicitly linked Extension's programmatic activity to the notion that a citizen whose creativity is supported will be more likely to participate in his society, that community progress will emerge from creative participation, and that American democracy will be furthered as a result. They are:

1. Alexander Drummond, professor of drama at Cornell University from 1912-52. Drummond advertised in agricultural journals for farmers who might be interested in writing plays about their lives and their communities, and assisted them with the writing and producing of these plays.

2. Frederick Koch of the University of North Carolina, Drummond's contemporary. He believed that all people should be writing "folk plays" about their community and life; some 50 such plays, written by students and non-students, black and white, sharecropper and well-heeled, were produced each year.

3. Alfred Arvold, of North Dakota State University, wrote in 1923 that

...there are literally millions of people in country communities today whose abilities along various lines have been hidden, simply because they have never had an opportunity to give expression to their talents (p. 23).
Arvold¹s approach to drama and to life was organic and wholistic. He clearly saw arts development, community development, science, and democracy as interrelated.  In discussing what we might, today, call "cultural
centers" he said:
A community center is a place, a neighborhood laboratory, so to speak, where people meet in their own way to analyze whatever interests they have in common and participate in such forms of recreation as are healthful and enjoyable. The fundamental principle back of the community center is the democratization of all art so the common people can appreciate it, science so they can use it, government so they can take part in it, and recreation so they can enjoy it. In other words, its highest aim is to make the common interests the great interests. To give a human expression in every locality to the significant meaning of these terms ­ "come let¹s reason and play together" ­ is in reality the ultimate object of the community center. (Arvold, 1923, p. 4).
4. Baker Brownell worked in Montana in the1940¹s. Brownell, a philosopher, developed a community self-study process that enabled people to plan together for the future of their community. Integral to this process was the collective writing of a community pageant that helped citizens see issues and options more clearly.  He called this whole process "community development" (Brownell, 1950).

5.  Robert Gard of the University of Wisconsin, playwright for the College of Agriculture from 1945-1980. The "Wisconsin Idea" was a political notion that linked public education, public service, citizen participation and community progress. Gard¹s Wisconsin Idea Theater reached out from Madison and inspired literally tens of thousands of Wisconsinites to write plays, poetry, books derived from their lives and from their sense of place as one way of building Wisconsin by building personal creativity.  In 1955 Gard quoted a rural woman:

She said that there must be a great, free expression.  If the people of Wisconsin knew that someone would encourage them to express themselves in any way they chose....it was her opinion that there would be such a rising of creative expression as is yet unheard of in Wisconsin...for the whole expression would be of and about ourselves (p. 217).
In this context, Gard (1955) reflected on the training of community arts leaders:
New community arts leaders should be issuing from...all the universities and colleges of the nation....The young person graduating from the university [today] has little concept of the scope of the theater to be developed, of the delicate social problems involved in fitting himself and his talents into community life. (p. 250).
The Tolerant Community

While thinkers, writers and activists for decades have described the cultural tensions that exist in this nation, and have prescribed approaches to cultural understanding, Rachel Davis Dubois published a book in 1943 that is seminal to understanding the role of the arts in community. In Get Together Americans: Friendly Approaches to Racial and Cultural Conflicts Through the Neighborhood-Home Festival Davis Dubois counsels readers in
ways still relevant today. She writes

The melting pot idea, or "come-let-us-do-something-for-you" attitude on the part of the old-stock American was wrong.  For half the melting pot to rejoice in being made better while the other half rejoiced in being better allowed for neither element to be its true self....The welfare of the group...means [articulating] a creative use of differences. Democracy is the only atmosphere in which this can happen, whether between individuals, within families, among groups in a country, or among countries. This kind of sharing we have called cultural democracy. Political democracy ­ the right of all to vote ­ we have inherited....Economic democracy ­ the right of all to be free from want ­ we are beginning to envisage....But cultural democracy ­ a sharing of values among numbers of our various cultural groups ­ we have scarcely dreamed of.  Much less have we devised social techniques for creating it (pp. 5-6). (emphasis is the author¹s)

Dubois goes on to describe why and how to undertake a cultural and intercultural festival, as one of the key social techniques.

Birth (1948 ­ 1965)

Within this period of gestation, local groups were sponsoring public art/aesthetics programs; presenting and integrating the arts into teaching; establishing arts groups; using the arts as a planning technique; integrating the arts into recreation and social-work movements; surveying facilities; identifying arts needs; and staging intercultural festivals. Public agencies for the arts existed in such cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston (Yuen, 1990)  The everyday life of significant numbers of Americans, representing all socio-economic groups, included participation in the arts. What, then, is the importance of what happened independently in Winston-Salem, Quincy, and Canon City?

These cities represented the first time that communities made a grassroots, citizen-driven attempt to pull all of the gestational trends together. Local groups were formed that looked at the whole ­ all the arts, all segments of the community ­ where before the emphasis was on the parts ­ certain art forms, certain segments of the community. Each of these three communities began at a different point, given the various needs of each community.


Winston-Salem had a long cultural tradition by 1943 with a Civic Music Association (since 1930), a Little Theatre (since1935), a Children¹s Theatre (since 1940), the Piedmont Festival of Music and Art (since 1943) and much more. In 1943, the local Junior League brought Virginia Lee Comer to Winston-Salem to help analyze the cultural life of the whole community. Comer¹s report outlined gaps in the community's cultural life ­gaps in the existing audience makeup and gaps in what was available. Over the next few years, Miss Comer updated her reports, and key members of the business and arts community responded. In 1946, the local League set aside $7,200 "for the 'Community Arts Council, until such time the Council crystallizes its plans'" (Graham-Wheeler, 1989, pp. 6-7). A vigorous newspaper campaign combined with extensive conversations with existing arts organizations led to the formation of the Winston-Salem Arts Council in 1949. Its purpose was "to serve those members [organizations] and to plan, coordinate, promote, and sponsor the opportunity for, and the appreciation of, cultural activities in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County." (Graham-Wheeler, 1989, p. 9).

The Arts Council grew. In 1968 Ralph Burgard wrote:

Over the years, the Winston-Salem council has helped organize seven new arts organizations, established a united arts fund, and constructed an arts center. More importantly, the council¹s comprehensive cultural program has received national acclaim and changed the attitudes of local businessmen toward the arts. This was an important factor when, under the leadership of R. Phil Hanes, Jr., a businessman and arts council trustee, over $1,000,000 was raised in 48 hours to establish the North Carolina School of the Arts....(p. 2).

Canon City, Colorado

Dotty Hawthorne, one of the original founders of the Canon City Fine Arts Association, recalls that in 1947 the City appointed a ten-member committee to look into a publicly-financed community arts center. The group spearheaded a community meeting in this market/ranching/prison town. Some 30 people met with a city planner who talked program development as well as bricks-and-mortar. A cultural facility owned by the community did not happen until 1992; but meanwhile, the citizens brought a nationally known artist to be in residence in Canon City and to spearhead the development of an arts school. They began the "Blossom Festival" exhibit in 1948 that continues to this day. Local musicians and dramatists were also nurtured through a variety of programs, and other visiting artists brought to town as well.

Quincy, Illinois

In 1948, George Irwin, conductor of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra, was well aware of the abundance of talented people returning home from World War II and of their hunger to participate in creative activity. There were plenty of things to do in Quincy ­ though only a small handful of formal arts organizations ­ but it seemed as though there were unnecessary scheduling conflicts. Also, during the war some of the existing arts groups had died. Quincy was a small city and the arts supporters were a close-knit group. The Quincy Society of Fine Arts was founded naturally and easily ("over the teacups," said Nina Gibans though George Irwin says today it was really "over the cocktails." (Gibans, 1982, p. 24) It had three purposes: 1) to help coordinate the calendar of arts events; 2) to provide basic management services to existing arts organizations that did (the Orchestra, the Art Club, the Historical Society, and music conservatory); and 3) to stimulate the re-birth of the Quincy Community Theater and Civic Music Association, and create any new organizations that were needed.

Quincy was too small a city, of 40,000 people, to formally request Junior League assistance. However, Irwin was well aware of Ms. Comer¹s manual.  Moreover, the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL), under the leadership of Executive Secretary Helen Thompson, had taken up the cause of stimulating community arts councils as a strategy for audience development, and Irwin was a participant in the ASOL community training sessions. (Indeed, ASOL¹s entire conference in 1952, "was devoted to discussion of plans for coordinated arts programs in cities" (Gibans, 1982, p. 4).  Irwin brought development and management techniques home.

Statement of commission: This paper was originally commissioned by Americans for the Arts and the Kenan Institute as a background paper for a seminal community arts think tank in October, 1999. Information on this gathering can be found at <www.artsusa.org>.


Arvold, A. G. (1923). The little country theater. New York : Macmillan.

Brownell, B. (1950). The human community. New York: Harper.

Bugard, R. (1968). Arts in the city: Organizing and programming community arts councils. New York, Associated Councils of the Arts.

Dubois, R. D. (1943). Get together Americans: Friendly approaches to racial and cultural conflicts through the neighborhood-home festival. New York and London, Harper & brothers.

Dreeszen, C, & Korza, P. (Ed.). (1994). Fundamentals of Local Arts Management. Amherst, MA : published by the Arts Extension Service, Division of Continuing Education, University of Massachusetts, in cooperation with the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies.

Gard, R. G. (1955). Grassroots theater: a search for regional arts in America. Madison, Universtiy of Wisconsin Press.

Gibans, N. F. (1982). The Community Arts Council Movement. New York: Praeger.

Graham-Wheeler, D. (1989). Forty years in the cultural lane. Winston-Salem, NC: Winston-Salem Arts Council.

Kanellos, N. (1990). The history of Hispanic theater in the United States: Origins to 1940. Austin: University of Texas.

Overton, P. (1997). Rebuilding the front porch of America: Essays on the art of community making. Columbia, MO: The Front Porch Institute.

Patten, M. (1932). The Arts Workshop of Rural America: A study of the rural arts program of the Agricultural Extension Service. New York, Columbia University Press.

Yuen, C. (1990). Community visions: A policy guide to local arts agency development. Washington, DC: National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies.

Case Summary: Part One: Case Overview


Both human service agencies and nonprofit arts organizations have been developing and implementing programs for families that offer realistic opportunities and options for an enhanced Quality of Life (QoL).

The arts can bring values that engage and empower, while social services can offer support and counseling (Katz & North, 1991).

Since both sectors have a genuine interest in the general well being of their local community, collaboration is a natural tendency. As a result, several human service agencies and nonprofit arts organizations have formed collaborative relationships and soon discover that each sector brings unique and valuable talents to the partnership.

What the arts partner can offer to the collaboration
Art administrators Dickey & Katz state that the arts can bring new life to small towns and celebrate bonds of heritage and common experience as well as give creative expression to shared values (1991). Throughout the U.S. several community art organizations are creating dialogues with other sectors, including social services, in an effort to nurture a better understanding of an evolving American culture. Over the years, as funding and general support for the arts has diminished art administrators and art advocates have become quite adept at exploring new options and collaborations with different sectors such as social services and tourism.

What the social service partner can offer to the collaboration
While the arts bring a creative value component to the partnership, social service agencies provide access to the populations that must be served. In Oregon, these partnering social service agencies include the Oregon Department of Education, The Oregon Youth Authority, and the Oregon Commission on Children & Families. These primarily local collaborations between the social services and arts organizations, and the community at large offer a safe, hopeful, and positive way to raise self-esteem and QoL to targeted populations that exhibit some of the following characteristics: Low self esteem, poor communication skills, low actualization skills, poor literacy potential, and family instability (Young, 1997).

Why Family-Focused?
The family is an essential and necessary part of a community. It is a private entity that is also critical to public identity. Families teach us our first lessons in proper behavior, social responsibility, and moral values. Finding value in oneís life is an essential ingredient for a strong, healthy, and nurturing community.

The purpose of this study was to identify and document the process of designing and structuring programs between the social service and arts sectors targeted toward families living in the small, rural communities of Yachats and Newport. Of particular interest were the arts as an integral program component. Therefore, an aspect of this case study was to examine the program directorsí and family participantís perception of the arts as an integral focus in a family-centered program as well as ways in which the program responded to local needs and issues.


The focus of this study was limited to one provider, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA); the two conveners, the Oceanspray Family Center (OFC) and Yachats Youth Activities Program (YYAP); and the funder, the Lincoln Commission on Children and Families (LCCF). The other provider, the Sexual Abuse Victims Education (SAVE) organization, is not considered in this study. To provide background for the study, books and articles on interagency collaborations between the arts and social services sectors were researched (see resource section). Also studied were ways rural communities in the United States are addressing community needs and issues. Literature pertaining to rural communities and family, arts and social concerns, and quality of life was selected.

The towns of Newport and Yachats, Oregon are located along a stretch in Lincoln County where small towns, no larger than 10,000, are strung like beads along coastal Highway 101. The base population of Lincoln County is 42,000 which includes Oregonís highest per capita ratio of senior citizens, single-parent families, substance abuse, child abuse, and teen suicides. Teen pregnancies have declined to third in the state (Morgan, 1997). Newport has a population of 9,000 and Yachats has a population of 700. These towns are both historic fishing communities that have been hit hard with the decline of the logging and fishing industries and the growth of low-wage jobs brought to the area by the tourist industry (Luloff & Swanson, 1990).

Design of Case Study
This study was designed to examine a community-based collaborative program centered on the family and the arts. Embedded within this case study were four units of analysis: the OCCA, OFC, YYAP, and the LCCF. In order to identify and document the programís process in designing and structuring its programs and to examine the inclusion of the arts in the social service sector, data was gathered from three sources and then analyzed.

Data Sources
Three data sources were selected for this study in order to gather and analyze information from three different sources to provide three distinct perspectives:

  • interviews
  • on-site observation
  • written documents
  • Next, each data source was initially reviewed and analyzed respectively and then considered in combination, so that the studyís findings were based on the convergence of information from different sources, not one data source alone. This type of analysis is called triangulation and allows for findings to be presented with more confidence and accuracy.

    Case Summary: Part Two: Results and Findings

    Reviewing literature in the areas of interagency collaborations, families and rural community, and arts and community established a basic understanding of how the arts and social services in rural areas combine efforts to serve families and youth and address needs in their community. Based on this information, interview questions were developed. In an effort to systematically order the data and allow for meaningful interpretation, the analysis and resulting interpretations were structured around three foci, two of which emerged from the literature and one that emerged from the data itself.

    The two foci and sub-foci which emerged from the literature were:

  • Perceptions of collaboration (definitions of collaboration, arts and social service collaboration, program focused vs. collaboration focused, key practices)
  • Perceptions of quality of life (community concerns, Yachats Youth Activities Program, arts component)
  • The foci and sub-foci which emerged from the data were:
  • Perceptions of the planning process (roles & responsibilities)
  • Based on the results and findings of the case study example, the following commendations and recommendations were made about the series of actions undertaken by the collaboration and about the arts moving across sectors to create programs that encourage and foster a rich and meaningful life in the community.

    Commendations & Recommendations

    The intent in listing the following recommendations and commendations from the case study example is to provide art and social service administrators with ìlearned experienceî guidelines as they plan and develop future community-based collaborative grants between the social service and arts sectors. The commendations and recommendations are structured around three aforementioned sub-foci areas of the case study.

    Community Concerns (Quality of Life Foci)


  • Clearly emergent in the case study data were quality of life issues (family well-being, empowerment and self-sufficiency, arts activity as a way to open people up)
  • Interviews and observations revealed a genuine willingness by the partners to work with a mandated collaborative process.
  • Recommendations
  • Regularly scheduled meetings during the planning stage can facilitate a more holistic environment
  • The creation of a Listserve and Internet connection can allow for continued group dialogue
  • A slow and consistent process of information distribution and training can generate clear expectations and eliminate confusion at several administrative levels
  • Roles and Responsibilities (Planning Process Foci)


  • A stronger facilitation role to help gain a clearer understanding of the expected roles and responsibilities between each of the partners
  • The mandatory attendance of all program partners at the local collaboration meetings can help to develop and nurture an authentic and credible relations and clear delivery of each agencyís expectations and responsibilities
  • Arts Component (Quality of Life Foci)


    An actual art activity programmed with the arts and social service partners can give the program partners a concrete example of how the arts can be a major part of the social service delivery.
    Collaboration Works

    Should you pursue developing an interagency collaboration between the arts and social service sectors that is family-focused and located in a small, rural community, it is wise to consider collaborating with other agencies that serve families as a whole or who are involved in the arts. Drawing together a variety of agencies or organizations to create a family-focused interagency collaboration allows for different perspectives, ideas and resources. Also, the pooling together of resources between groups can make a stronger case to potential funders for support.

    Careful planning is the key to a successful and meaningful interagency collaborative program between the arts and social service sectors. The research of this case study and experience from other interagency collaborations has demonstrated that program success and sustainability is directly related to the time invested in the planning process. The planning process includes several components. The most important of which are listed below:

  • Identify and secure collaboration partners
  • Identify and secure funding sources
  • Set the scene
  • Facilitate training and familiarization workshops
  • Develop structural guidelines
  • Develop collaboration tools with outcomes and goals that monitor, evaluate and document the interagency collaboration
  • Concluding Remarks and Implications for Future Research

    This study identified and documented the process of designing and structuring programs for a community-based collaboration between the social service and arts sectors, ways it responded to community needs and issues, and examined the inclusion of the arts component in the overall design.

    Now that I am finished with my study, I believe social service agencies that procure an ìout of the boxî approach and arts agencies that procure a ìsocial activistî approach can bring themselves closer to a meaningful collaborative relationship. Arts and quality of life are closely tied together. Art organizations can engage in human service education. They can empower social service clients through art programming and art experiences. Social service organizations such as the Oregon Commission on Children & Families are experimenting with the implementation of tools that track system change in order to document and better articulate ways in which behavioral change occurred.

    As our local communities are becoming increasingly bombarded with societyís ills, more and more local partnerships will need to be formed. Ignoring or being unaware of how the arts can provide youth and families with a positive outlook on life and can train a person important job and life skills is a grave misfortune. Transformed arts organizations and social service agencies must find ways to urge others to get involved in a collaborative process that both documents and articulates how collaborations bring about positive change and impressive results.


    [Source: Oregon Arts Commission, Arts Build Communities by Flood, B. & Morgan, S. (1998). pp. 53-54]

    Benchmarks are measurable goals identified specifically to ìprovide guidance for leaders, policy-makers, managers and citizens to build the kind of Oregon we want.î There are currently 92 benchmarks.

    Local Governments
    Local governments are interested in beautification, economic development, public safety, youth issues and building a sense of community.

    Social Service Agencies
    Social service agencies are becoming more open to creative use of resources to meet clientsí needs, particularly for building self-esteem, strengthening the family and parenting training. Some social service agencies to consider include: Childrenís Services, Adult and Family Services and Juvenile and Human Resources (Health, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol programs).

    Commissions on Children and Families
    Through the State Commission, each local commission (located in every county in Oregon) participates in a broad range of funding mechanisms óGreat Start, Teen Pregnancy, Child Care Block Grants, Youth Conservation Corps. Oregon Commission on Children & Families. 530 Center St. NE, Suite 300, Salem, OR 97310; 503/378-8395.

    Community Partnership Team, Department of Human Resources
    Integrates the work of state and community partners delivering human services. 500 Summer St., 4th Floor, Salem, OR 97310; 503/945-6131.

    Oregon Tourism Commission
    Technical assistance, marketing & development and some grant funding . 775 Summer Street NE, Salem, OR 97310; 503/986-0001.

    Chambers of Commerce & Downtown Associations
    Focus is on business development, leadership and community development issues.

    Health, Housing & Education, and Cultural Facilities Authority (HECFA)
    A public bonding authority offering offers tax free, low interest bonds. Contacts: William Love, 503/228-6127; Linda Escobar, 503/796-2428.

    Livable Oregon
    Concerned with the revitalization of downtowns. 921 S. W. Morrison, Portland, OR 97205.

    Coalition for a Livable Future
    Assists in economic development planning that sustains the values of the community. 534 SW Third Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97207; 503/294-2889.

    Jobs Programs
    JPTA, Jobs Corps, adult literacy and retraining programs. Every county has a federally funded jobs and training agency.

    Small Business Development Centers or SBA
    Frequently associated with community colleges. SBAís provide business seminars, counseling, business plans, and access to low interest loans.

    Oregon Department of Economic Development and Regional Strategies
    Most counties also have local economic development commissions or committees. 775 Summer Street NE., Salem, OR 97310; 503/986-0069.

    Oregon Arts Commission
    Technical assistance, networking contacts and grant funding available for projects that involve the arts. 775 Summer St. NE, Salem, OR 97310; 503/986-0088.

    Regional Arts Councils (9 total in Oregon)

  • Arts Council of Southern Oregon in Medford, OR; 541/779-2820
  • Central Oregon Arts Association in Bend, OR; 541/317-9324
  • Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council in La Grande, OR; 541/962-3624
  • Lane Arts Council in Eugene, OR; 541/485-2278
  • Linn-Benton Council for the Arts in Corvallis, OR; 541/754-1551
  • Mid-Valley Arts Council in Salem, OR; 503/364-7474
  • Oregon Coast Council for the Arts in Newport, OR; 541/265-9231
  • Regional Arts and Culture Council in Portland, OR; 503/823-5111
  • Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseburg, OR; 541/672-2532
  • U.S. Forest Service
    Resources may be available in recreation, interpretation, media and print production.

    Rural Development Council
    Oregon Rural Development Council. 775 Summer St. NE, Salem, OR 97310;503/229-6357.

    Rural Development Initiatives, Inc.
    This organization provides leadership training to rural community volunteers and assists in implementing development strategies. PO Box 265, Lowell, OR 97452; 541/937-8344.

    Extension Service
    Oregon State University has Extension Services in every county. 4-H and Homemaker programs are examples.

    Public Housing Authorities
    These Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agencies are required now to "provide services" for their clients. Some services are training in nutrition, home repairs, etc.


    Brownell, B. (1939). Art is action: A Discussion of Nine Arts in a Modern World. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press.

    Community Strategic Training Institute. (1991, November). Music, Art, and Culture as Tools for Community Empowerment. Portland, OR: Bill Flood.

    Coward, R.T. & Smith, W.M., Jr. (1981). The Family in Rural Society. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Craine, K.D. 1992). A Rural Arts Sampler: Fostering Creative Partnerships. Washington, DC: National Assembly for State Arts Agencies.

    Dickey, E. & Katz, J. (1992). In K.D. Craine (Ed.), A Rural Arts Sampler: Fostering Creative Partnerships. (Forward) Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

    Dissanayake, E. (1988). What is Art For? Seattle: University of Washington Press.

    Etzioni, A. (1993). The Spirit of Community. New York: Crown Publishers.

    Flood, B. (1985). Windows on the Prairie: A look at Cultural Animation. Unpublished manuscript.

    Flood, B. & Morgan, S. (1998). Arts Build Communities. Salem, OR: Oregon Arts Commission.

    Jesien, G. (1996). Interagency Collaboration: What, Why and with Whom? In P. Rosin, A.D. Whitehead, L.I. Tuchman, G.S. Jesien, A.L. Begun, and L. Irwin (Eds.), Partnerships in Family-centered Care: A Guide to Collaborative Early Intervention. (pp.187-204) Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks Publishing.

    Jurich, A.P., W.M. Smith, & C.J. Polson. (1983). Families and Social Problems: Uncovering Reality in Rural America. In R.T. Coward & W.M. Smith (Eds.), Family Services: Issues  and Opportunities in Contemporary Rural America (pp.40-65). Lincoln, NB: University  of Nebraska Press.

    Katz, J. & North, A. (1991). Serving the Arts in Rural Areas: Successful Programs and  Potential New Strategies. Washington, DC: National Assembly of State Art Agencies.

    Larson, G. (1997). American Canvas: An Arts Legacy for our Communities. Washington,  DC: National Endowment for the Arts.

    Luloff, A.E. (1990). Small Town Demographics: Current Patterns of Community Change.  In A.E. Luloff & L.E. Swanson. (Eds.), American Rural Communities (pp.7-18).  Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Magie, D. (1995). Untapped Public Funding for the Arts. Washington, DC: National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies.

    Magie, D. & Miller, C.E. (1997). Art Works: Prevention Programs for Youth & Communities.  Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts

    Morgan, S. (May, 1997). Oregon Arts Commission Arts Education Grant Application. Newport, OR: Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.

    Oregon Commission on Children & Families. (1997). Lincoln Commission on Children & Families Comprehensive Plan for 1995-1997. (Issue Brief). Salem, OR.

    Nesbit, R.A. (1966). Moral Values and Community. In R.L.Warren (Ed.) Perspectives on the American Community: A Book of Readings. (pp.574-582). Chicago: Rand McNally & Co.

    Oregon Progress Board. (January 21, 1997). Oregon Shines II: Updating Oregonís Strategic Plan, a Report to the People of Oregon. Salem, OR: Oregon Progress Board.

    Oregon Progress Board. (December, 1994). Oregon Benchmarks: Standards for Measuring Statewide Progress and Institutional Performance Report to the 1995 Legislature. Salem, OR: Oregon Progress Board.

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    Pratt, C.C., Katzev, A., Henderson, T., & Uzetich, R. (1997). Building Results: From Wellness Goals to Positive Outcomes for Oregonís Children, Youth, Families. Oregon Commission on Children & Families: Salem, OR.

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    Smith, W.M. & Coward, R.T. (1981). The Family in Rural Society: Images of the Future. In R.T. Coward & W.M. Smith (Eds.), The Family in Rural Society (pp.221-230). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Tilghman, R. (1992). The Family Arts Agenda: A Lighthouse for Rough Waters. In L. Costello (Ed.), Part of the Solution: Creative Alternative for Youth (pp. 60-65).  Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts and Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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    To obtain information on the complete case study, please contact the Arts & Administration Graduate Program at (541) 346-3639 or send an email to culturwk@laz.uoregon.edu

    Barbara Harris holds a Master's degree in Arts Administration from the University of Oregon and a BA in Art History from Michigan State University. Prior to her graduate work, she was Outreach Coordinator for the Art Center of Battle Creek and Executive Manager for the Battle Creek Youth Orchestra, as well as Program Director for a Summer Enrichment Program for Youth at Kellogg Community College. She is currently director of the Jacobs Gallery in Eugene, Oregon.

    Maryo Ewell is Associate Director of the Colorado Council on the Arts. Prior to joining the CCA Council in 1982, she  was Director of Community Programs at the Illinois Arts Council, and before that, she worked for two community arts councils in Connecticut.  In fact, she has been hooked on community arts since her first summer job in Wisconsin in 1967. In 1995 she was honored by Americans for the Arts with their highest award in grassroots community arts development, the Selina Roberts Ottum award. She has a M.A. in Planning from CU-Denver; a M.A. in Organizational Behavior from Yale; and a B.A. in Social Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.

    Back Issues:

  • May, 1997. Volume 1, No. 1: A Tool for Analysis of Web Sites' Accessibility to Users with Disabilities. Douglas Blandy, Ph.D.
  • July, 1997. Volume 1, No. 2: The Arts Management Employment Interview. Deborah Snider
  • November, 1997. Volume 1, No. 3: The Invisible Careers for Latinos: Public History and Museum Studies. Miguel Juarez
  • February, 1998. Volume 2, No. 1: Art Crimes: Building a Digital Museum/Graffiti Battle Crown. Susan Farrell
  • April, 1998. Volume 2, No. 2: The Florida Farmworkers Project. Kristin Congdon.
  • June, 1998. Vol. 2, No. 3: The Arts as Commodity, Stan Madeja; The Non-Profit and Commercial Arts: Understanding Future Options, David B. Pankratz
  • September, 1998 Vol. 2 No.4: What Is Community Cultural Development and How Do We Practice It? Bill Flood
  • January, 1999 Vol. 3 No.1: The Rise and Fall of the California Confederation of the Arts: 1976 - 1997. Anne W. Smith
  • April, 1999 Vol. 3 No. 2:  Paul Olum Mobile Hemi-Bust, Michael Randles; Outlaw Murals, Laura Feldman
  • July, 1999. Vol. 3, No. 3: Economic and Leisure Factors Impacting Participation in the Arts by Middle Aged Adults, Gaylene Carpenter, Ed.D.; WESTAF Launches www.artjob.org, Searchable Arts Employment and Opportunities Web Site.
  • September, 1999. Vol. 3, No. 4: Art Teacher Censorship of Student Produced Art in Georgia's Public High Schools. Bruce Bowman

  • CultureWork is an electronic publication of the University of Oregon Institute for Community Arts Studies. Its mission is to provide timely workplace-oriented information on culture, the arts, education, and community. For links to other sites of interest, see the ICAS Forum.

    CultureWork seeks submissions of concise (500-1500 words) critiques and advisories on community arts and the preparation of community arts workers. Graphics that express the spirit of community arts are welcome, to be published with attribution. Manuscripts should be sent in plain text format (i.e., not MS Word .doc format), via email, on Macintosh or Intel high-density 3.5 inch floppies or zip disks. Use American Psychological Association guidelines for style and citations. Send submissions to Maria Finison at <mfinison@darkwing.uoregon.edu> or via snailmail: care of Arts & Administration Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon, Eugene Oregon 97403. If accepted for publication, authors may be asked to make revisions.

     Opinions expressed by authors of CultureWork broadsides do not necessarily express those of the editors, the Institute for Community Arts Studies, or the University of Oregon.

    Arts and Administration | The Institute for Community Arts Studies (I.C.A.S.)

     ©2000 The Institute for Community Arts Studies unless otherwise noted; all other publication rights revert to the author or artist.

     Editor: Richard Bear.  Advisor: Dr. Douglas Blandy.
    Comments to: mfinison@darkwing.uoregon.edu

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