Placing the arts at the heart of the creative campus

Higher education United States of America

Executive Summary: Artists today are increasingly leaving their stages and studios to work in new ways. They are working with artists from other disciplines; with community partners; with health professionals; and with a broad range of educators at every level. This interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral work is partly the result of a change in the nature of artistic careers, with artists driven to opportunistically work in many capacities and in multiple jobs in order to piece together work. But it is also the result of changes in how artists choose to work and create, and changes in the nature of artistic projects being conceived by performing arts presenters and their campus and community partners. Paralleling the rise of the omnivorous arts consumer, we are also witnessing omnivorousness among artists and curators who are inspired to work outside of narrow disciplinary boundaries.

Against this backdrop, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, with a grant of $3.5 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Trusts, created the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program. The grant program was designed to seed innovative, interdisciplinary programs that brought together artists with a range of community and campus-based partners in order to stimulate arts-based inquiry and elevate the role of the arts in academic life. Over a six-year period, fourteen campus based performing arts presenters received grants, all of which involved one or more artists-in-residencies.

The grant program yielded important insights into the nature of interdisciplinary arts-based inquiry and the challenges and possibilities such collaborations encounter on university and college campuses. This white paper unpacks these insights and raises the question of what might be next as artists and arts presenters explore and expand their role on campuses and in communities.

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