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Building Community through the Arts

Adapted from Tulane University DANC 4900

With New Orleans as the primary source, this course explores the theory and practice of community-based arts, civic engagement in higher education, and the relationship between art and community development or impact. The course is team taught by dance and visual artists who work in community and who teach at Tulane University and Xavier University. The course is grounded in community cultural development projects and community engagement practice is embedded in the course. Students work directly with local artists on community based arts projects - visual artists, dance and theatre artists, music artists, and visual and performance artists who work to build and rebuild community through the use of the arts. The chapters of the course are Introduction to Community Arts, Arts and Culture in New Orleans, New Orleans Community Partner Projects, and Evaluation/Reflection. With guest artists and excursions into the city of New Orleans, the course encourages students to understand the theory and practice of community-based arts and art-making, distinction between types of public service, working and collaborating with local artists and organizations, the relationship between art as a tool for social change and community cultural development, the form community projects take based on needs of community partners, how to enter, build and exit a community in a sustainable fashion, and responsibility as citizens and citizen artists.

Barbara Hayley

Professor, Modern Dance

Barbara Hayley has been a member of the Newcomb Dance Program faculty since 1985, Coordinator of Dance, 1989-2006, Chair of Theatre and Dance, 2001-2007, and teaches ballet, modern dance, choreography, dance history, and courses in community engagement through the arts. . In New York, Ms. Hayley taught dance at Wagner College on Staten Island, danced with numerous choreographers, and directed Barbara Hayley & Dancers. She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 1997/1998 for work throughout Russia, the impetus for creative work/exchanges on the international dance scene. Ms. Hayley is active in community partnership building and concert modern dance in New Orleans, including the direction of New Orleans Dance, a modern dance company comprised of local professional dance artists. New Orleans Dance and Ms. Hayley have received awards for both original choreography and modern dance production, including the 1999 Mayor’s Arts Award. Research: choreographic projects and oral history of early Alwin Nikolais dancers/German lineage of modern dance.

Course Chapters

  • About This Chapter

    Because much of community based art making success is contingent upon community partner input, contributions and collaboration, the course begins with…

  • About This Chapter

    While all units interweave, as with the cultural aspects of New Orleans, this unit focuses on aspects of community that are…

  • About This Chapter

    Course and Community Engagement Requirements: Community engagement projects are decided each semester after consultation with professors and in accordance with agreements…

  • About This Chapter

    With each unit, a feedback grid is developed for reflection on each reading in class, video viewing in class, and each…