Political Science Now

Fostering Civic Engagement Through the Arts: A Blueprint

Chapter 13: Fostering Civic Engagement Through the Arts: A Blueprint

Constance DeVereauxColorado State University

Civic engagement is a core principle in efforts to establish the arts as an integral component of daily life, particularly in the context of community. In defense of the value of arts instruction and participation as part of a core curriculum for K–12 students, and the inclusion of the arts in daily community life, is the argument that the arts help to foster citizenship and promote democratic government. A number of challenges exist, however, for teaching of arts-based civic engagement. They include lack of formal training for instructors in political science fundamentals, definitions of civic engagement in the arts that de-emphasize political engagement, over-reaching claims about the arts and their effects, and lack of teaching materials that connect the arts to political science basics such as workings of government institutions or the processes of public policy. This chapter addresses these challenges drawing on examples from courses in arts policy and community engagement taught by the author. Student samples, course assignments, and teaching recommendations are included.

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About the Author

Constance DeVereaux is the director of LEAP Institute for the Arts at Colorado State University, which trains graduate and undergraduate students in the skills of arts management, arts policy, and arts-based community engagement. She earned a doctorate degree in philosophy and political science at Claremont Graduate University and an MFA in fiction at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She is a leader in the field of cultural policy and cultural management; her research focuses on cultural identity, cultural citizenship, and the philosophical challenges that arise in arts policy processes. She has authored multiple articles and book chapters on arts and cultural policy including, “Is Art a Fruit or a Vegetable? On Developing a Practice-Based Definition of Art,” “Chagrin and the Politics of American Aesthetics,” and the coauthored Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy: Once Upon a Time in a Globalized World.

Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines / Copyright ©2017 by the American Political Science Association / pp: 183-194