We Believe In Service & Community
A culture of community engagement and community service will be a hallmark of successful arts organizations in the twenty-first century. These organizations will not only take an active role in the affairs of their communities but will also demonstrate leadership and creative problem-solving that reflect the best of their communities’ traditions as well as the most innovative ideas.
Arts and cultural organizations should be vital and catalytic members of communities, an essential part of the complex whole of community life. Arts and cultural organizations have the capacity to build and support positive interconnections within a community, connecting individuals, societal groups, and organizations.
Arts organizations can support vibrant communities by identifying, connecting with, and allying themselves with existing community assets, and seeking opportunities to use those assets to adapt to changing community dynamics, including ongoing shifts in the larger social, political, economic and environmental forces impacting all areas of society, including the arts. To have the greatest impact, arts organizations will learn to be active members of their local, regional and national civic environment.
Arts managers must learn to see, appreciate and know how to work within the broad context of creative and cultural needs and expressions of their local communities, including the full range and mix of cultural and creative traditions and practices from all segments of society and all parts of the world that are present in their communities. This requires an ability to ascertain who is present within a community, who is currently well-served by arts organizations, and which groups and traditions could be more fully and publicly engaged.
Arts practitioners require strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to speak and listen openly across potential cultural and experiential divides in order to develop genuine cultural collaborations that serve the intended communities in ways that meet their self-identified needs.
Community engagement is fundamentally about relationship-building, connecting an organization’s mission and goals to the cultural assets and desires of all segments of their local community. Arts administrators should understand the range of community engagement practices, and be able to develop models for successful programs.
Edited from Standards for Arts Administration Graduate Program Curricula, Association of Arts Administration Educators