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MICA Publishes One-of-a-Kind International Community Arts Research Journal

Journal's mission is to advance the practices and principles of the community arts field by providing a platform for inclusive dialogue and documentation linking academia and community

Posted 12.19.11 by mica communications

I-Hotel Mural Opening, August 4, 2010. Photograph © Bob Hsiang 2011.

BALTIMORE - MICA announces the recent publication of the MICA-sponsored Community Arts Journal: Cultural Practice, Research & Higher Education, the only online journal of its kind dedicated to the community arts field. The journal's mission is to advance the practices and principles of the community arts field by providing a platform for inclusive dialogue and documentation linking academia and community. In this year's journal, emphasis was placed on the historical aspect of organizations and collectives, from several regions around the world, working on projects in community arts settings.

"The Community Arts Journal continues to expand upon the development and dissemination of new research and ideas in the field," said Ken Krafchek, journal project director and managing editor as well as MICA graduate director of the M.A. and M.F.A. in Community Arts programs and faculty member. "By stimulating dialogue, meaning-making and action, the journal reinforces how crucial the community arts field is for the wellbeing of the arts, community and higher education, and therefore exemplifies the need for continued investment in such programming."

The Community Arts Convening and Research Project, which began in 2006, has hosted three convenings and sponsored three journals. The project provides the opportunity for college and university faculty and students, community scholars and community-based practitioners to meet and share resources and models for best practices in the field; define and solve current challenges facing the field; identify and discuss new research and generate new ideas; develop strong leadership; and cultivate new partnerships.

Journal texts:

· Visions and Voices of the I-Hotel: The San Francisco-based International Hotel (I-Hotel) writing group investigated the decades-old history of community resistance and empowerment around housing for the Asian immigrant elderly, urban development and community displacement. This writing introduces the history and spirit of the community through the lens of the artists who worked hand in hand with activists to bring visibility to this long-term struggle. The merging of text and image captures the themes of social history, community life, the role of the artist in community, and a rich and diverse ethnic legacy.

· Littleglobe: This collective of artists, writers, dancers, filmmakers, musicians and community/cultural leaders bring insight to a collaborative model embedded in the deep regional history of New Mexico and the southwest United States. Eleven essays explore the complexity and rich diversity of this ancient landscape and its people while illuminating powerful examples of creative practice and community transformation-from nursing homes to tribal life in projects spanning theater, dance, music, poetry and visual artmaking.

· Community Arts University Without Walls: A Collaboration: This writing group formed to establish a community arts certificate program in Puerto Rico that addresses the challenge of educating community members in an era of escalating college costs. This collective of educators, artists and students has drafted an interdisciplinary curriculum, building coursework and evaluation models that reflect the principles of social justice, cultural equity and the artistic practices of diverse communities. In a collaborative exchange among the Caribbean Cultural Center/African Diaspora Institute, New York University, MICA and Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, the writers have developed coursework and community-sponsored residencies. These essays address both process and product in this visionary program.

· The Baltimore United Viewfinders: A Long History in a Short Time: This article illuminates the process of working with a vibrant collection of youth living in distressed Baltimore neighborhoods. The project uses graphic, photographic and video media that engages these youth in the examination of civic life, individual and collective voice, leadership development and community service.

· Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing: This writing group took on a rarely discussed process of grief, remembrance and healing within a community. This essay provides an in-depth case study of loss and remembrance in a Baltimore cancer center where the artist collaborated with social work, chaplaincy and medical providers in the creation of a Service of Remembrance for grieving families and staff. Art's role in rituals for meaning-making provides the context for this narrative of mourning and loss, in which the writing group believes the true transformative and healing potential of art is revealed.

The third Community Arts Convening was held at MICA from March 13-15, 2011. At the convening, a gathering of practitioners and educators from across the country shared their own projects, practices and insights. Three of these presentations have been published as convening reports: Helping the Field Flourish: Community Arts Research; Alternate ROOTS Resources for Social Change; and Arts and Democracy Bazaar: Challenging the School-to-Prison Path.

MICA has a long history of creative community engagement and is dedicated to the development and advancement of community arts models at several levels. Through its M.A. and M.F.A. in Community Arts, under the umbrella of the College's national Center for Art Education, and M.A. in Social Design and M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice, MICA prepares graduate-level students in the art of building community through collaboration in the arts. The Community Art Collaborative, an AmeriCorps-funded program, places graduate students and independent artists in intensive yearlong residencies with Baltimore nonprofit organizations to create, support and sustain arts-based programming, while the Community Arts Partnership program provides similar opportunities for undergraduate students each semester. The College's new Office of Community Engagement provides resources and support for MICA-affiliated projects, programs and courses that use art and design to strengthen communities and create positive, community-centered change. Social design initiatives include the Center for Design Practice, a multi-disciplinary studio that collaborates with outside organizations enabling the students to problem solve and use design to make an impact on society, and the Design Coalition class, founded 10 years ago as a MICA and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health partnership, which challenges students with social- and community-based design work with an emphasis on East Baltimore projects and relationships. Through MICA's applied and fine arts departments, students and faculty engage in real-world projects in collaboration with communities that focus on public health education, urban development, historic preservation, and the empowerment of Baltimore communities and the surrounding region.

The journal's volume III, fall 2011 issue was created thanks to project director and managing editor Ken Krafchek (MICA graduate director and faculty member, M.A. and M.F.A. in Community Arts); coordinating editor Amalia Mesa-Bains; convening coordinator Paula Phillips (MICA faculty member); fellowship coordinator Frankie Gamber; manuscript editor Linda Frye Burnham; funder, the Nathan Cummings Foundation; and publisher, MICA. The editorial board included: Ken Krafchek, MICA; Ron Bechet, professor of art at Xavier University of Louisiana; Nicole Garneau, cultural worker, adjunct faculty of cultural studies at Columbia College Chicago and research assistant at John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Debra Rubino, director of strategic communications at Open Society Institute-Baltimore and artist; and Amalia Mesa-Bains, professor emerita at California State University Monterey Bay.

The full publication of Community Arts Journal: Cultural Practice, Research & Higher Education is available to read, at no charge, on the MICA site at www.mica.edu/community_arts_journal. Previous volumes of the journal, titled Community Arts Perspectives, can be found online at the Community Arts Network.





Image caption: I-Hotel Mural Opening, August 4, 2010. Photograph © Bob Hsiang 2011.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.