Media & Communication Department

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Tracie Konopinski
Community Arts and Civic Dialogue

Guided by Paulo Freire's (1970/1994) notion of the dialogical method as an "indispensable component of the process of both learning and knowing" (p. 17), I set out to explore the perceived role of community arts within the artist community. I dialogued with community artists and arts leaders in the Lehigh Valley, in order to explore the meanings that emerge from community exchange. Within these dialogues, conversations about collaboration and acknowledgment of the audience became prevalent; allowing a response responsibility to frame the power of dialogue that exists between audience and artist. Although my research reinforced the fact that the arts continue to struggle in finding identity and value within communities, it also clarified that these communities will remain the translators of such identities and values. Ultimately, valuing education in the arts through civic dialogue rather than through Freire's notion of the "banking concept," will bring communities and larger issues of the arts to the forefront of importance.

Freire, P. (1970/1994). Pedagogy of the oppressed. NY: Continuum.