Arts & Community Development


Units: 6


Students in this course will learn the basics of community development and the role arts and culture can play in creating vibrant and engaged communities in which to live, work, and play. They will become familiar with the work of local municipalities, tourism bureaus, community development organizations, private businesses, and individual stakeholders and understand how the arts can partner with these and other entities to support and enhance the social and physical character of a community and build a sense of place. They will also learn how collective efforts can position the arts as a key partner in solving civic and social concerns. Tools, resources, and case studies will be explored as students discuss the economic and social impact of the arts on communities and design solutions to solve community development matters. This course introduces students to fundamental creative community development practices and equips students with heightened creative leadership skills that can be used toward advanced work in this subject area. 

Arts and community development is a large and growing field involving a wide range of stakeholders and cross-collaborative partners. Many topics and angles could be covered. For the purposes of this course, topic areas examined will include: creative workforce development; public art; cultural tourism; and cross-sector collaborations in transportation, public safety, and housing.

Learning Outcomes:

Skills and knowledge gained through this course will be assessed through readings, class participation, and assignments. Upon the successful conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the physical and social impact of the arts in community development
  2. Articulate arts and community development key concepts and terminology
  3. Locate tools, case studies, and resources for best practices in arts and community development
  4. Understand how cultural districts, main street programs, and neighborhoods utilize arts and culture to build social connection, define community identity, and drive economic change
  5. Assess community assets, strengths, and areas for creative community development opportunity
  6. Explore how funding mechanisms and workforce development opportunities builds economic vitality and supports the creative economy 
  7. Understand how cross sector collaborations that engage arts and culture helps address community concerns
  8. Propose strategies to identify and engage stakeholders in community planning, implementation, and evaluation processes
  9. Design a vision, core strategies, and measurable community development outcomes that can improve a community’s social and economic environment