Enriching Communities with Community-based Arts Education
Master of Education
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This research aims to describe the value of community-based arts education. Community-based arts organizations focus on community concerns and issues as well as support individual development (Hoffman Davis, 2010), yet encounter challenges related to funding and support and are continuously asked to prove the value of their work. This research looks specifically at the arts education programming of three community-based organizations in the Thunder Bay area. This research uses narrative inquiry to interpret the stories of the leading figures in these organizations by looking specifically at their experiences working and participating in community-based arts education from an out-of-school context. This research describes how these organizations enrich this particular city and the communities within it by bringing mentorship, access to safe spaces and valuing care in arts education. Despite challenges with funding, space, and support, the leaders of these organizations are driven and inspired by the people with whom they work, the collaboration possible, and the changes observed and experienced. This research examines the ways in which community-based art organizations respond to the need for an education that supports well-being by valuing “community consultation” (Kay, 2000). Concurrently, as a form of arts-informed indwelling of the data, the author presents a personal art series that visually represents the themes within this research. This research provides recognition to community arts and community-based arts education within the City of Thunder Bay. Furthermore, this research advocates for the continued positive impact of, and ongoing research on, community-based arts education.