Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Skins: Exploring the transformational aspects of the arts as process and product through food and gardening in a rural Arizona community
by Wallace Cooper, Eve Morgana, M.A., Prescott College, 2013, 84; 1549711
Abstract (Summary)

Skins is a project that evaluated the impact of art participation on choices regarding food and gardening in a rural Arizona community. The study was structured by an emergent methodological design, making use of survey, interview, and observation in an effort to capture the full richness of participant experience. The purpose of the project was to meet community wide health goals and measure if and how the arts can create conversation that will result in positive social change. Participants were invited to join open public groups and were also generated from existing groups and organizations in the town of Ajo, AZ. As an artist and former teacher, I chose to implement this project in Ajo partly because of its unique geography, history, and culture, and mainly because of my committed role in the community. In addition to proving that the arts can indeed lead to social change, I also implemented the Skins project as a way to practice my community based arts facilitation and leadership skills and put theory to practice. The results of this project support current theories and trends in the community development field including efforts such as building social capital and utilizing asset based strategies. The project exemplified arts education at work in the community and made a strong case for the positive outcomes of involving youth in the arts process. Planning and activities exhibited the value of one of the Community Based Arts field's main tenants of allowing process to dictate product. Statistics and quantitative data showed that by participating in arts activities on the topic of food and gardening, Ajo community members found a desire to change their eating and nutrition habits and manifested this desire in numerous ways. By impacting personal decision making and provoking a shift in thought patterns and in behavior this project contributed to wider community change. This study allowed for many directions for further research and serves as a contribution to the evolving Community Based Arts field.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fleischman, Lynn
Commitee: Greenblum, Ellen, Johnson, Ann
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Social research, Food Science
Keywords: Arts, Change, Community, Development, Rural, Social
Publication Number: 1549711
ISBN: 9781303623899
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