New program in Community-based Arts Practice launched
September 9, 2010

NSCAD University’s School of Extended Studies is launching a new professional development program designed to train leaders in developing, managing and facilitating community arts projects.

The new Certificate in Community-Based Art Practice will meet the needs of artists interested in applying their talents and skills to working in the community, along with educators and individuals working with community-based organizations who want to incorporate the arts into their programming.

“As a collective expression, community-based art can provide a voice for the community or create a space for community reflection or celebration,” says Sharon Blanchard, Director of the School of Extended Studies. “At the heart of community-based art is a belief in cultural and creative expression as a means to effect deep and lasting personal and social change.”

“The certificate program will integrate theory and practice in the training of leaders capable of developing, coordinating and facilitating projects that involve using the arts within a wide variety of community and educational contexts, and with diverse communities,” explains Blanchard.

The two-term program, which includes a 14-hour community practicum, starts in January and runs evenings and Saturdays to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Participants will gain a theoretical and historical overview of community-based arts, develop skills and models for facilitating learning using the arts, and build their project development and management capabilities in areas such as budgeting, fundraising and communication. Each student will also develop and facilitate a project using arts in the community.

"Incorporating the arts - whether it's theatre, dance, storytelling or visual arts - into the community, and into work with multiple populations, is an exciting and growing field,” says Tessa Mendel, course coordinator and facilitator.  “The arts can really bring people together; they inspire and connect us, and make it possible to express our stories and our voices.”

“This is the first really comprehensive program of this kind being offered east of Montreal - and I'm thrilled to be involved with making it happen at NSCAD," adds Mendel, a theatre educator and director with more than twenty-five years experience facilitating community-based art both throughout Canada and internationally.

Registrations are currently being accepted for the Certificate in Community-Based Arts Practice, which is eligible for the T2202 Education Amount Certificate. Anyone interested in learning more about the program or enrolling is encouraged to contact the NSCAD University School of Extended Studies by calling (902) 494-8185 or e-mailing