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About the Curriculum Project

The Curriculum Project began early in 2007, when three colleagues—Jan Cohen-Cruz, Dudley Cocke, and Arlene Goldbard (read more about the project principals) compared notes from their combined experience with higher education-based programs for community artists. (Download A Call for Excellence in Community Cultural Development Curriculum in Higher Education for a full description of their observations.)

They recognized a unique moment of opportunity: more people were writing and documenting practice; universities across the U.S. had created dozens of individual courses, certificates, and degree programs in some aspect of community cultural development; growing numbers of students were interested in this work; and increasingly, social justice activists were bringing cultural awareness into their efforts, understanding the relationship between culture, community development, and social change.

They proposed to research current practice and future potentials for excellence in community artists’ education. Jan became director of Imagining America, a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design, and IA offered a home to the project. In the fall of 2007, the Nathan Cummings Foundation agreed to underwrite this first phase of project work. At the end of 2007, three advisors joined the team: Ludovic Blain III, an experienced organizer who currently serves as National Campaign Coordinator for the Marguerite Casey Foundation's Equal Voice for America's Families Campaign; Jamie Haft, a recent graduate of New York University who also works as project administrator; and Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, executive director of the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts, who recently accepted the newly created position of vice president of diversity and strategic partnerships at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. (read more about the project principals).

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Timeline
January-March 2008
Research

March 16
Story Circles at Community Arts Convening & Research Project at MICA, Baltimore, MD. Project online surveys launched. Research continues until mid-May.

May 15           
Surveys close.

June           
Project team and advisors review findings.

July-September
Preparation and review of report and implementation plans.

October 2-4
Presentation of report at Imagining America national conference in Los Angeles, distribution to participants and field.

October 12-15
Presentation to Grantmakers in the Arts conference in Atlanta.

November
Implementation plan begins through 2009.