Evaluation has always been a challenge for the arts, but in these days of tight budgets and competing demands, concerns about evaluation are on the rise. Artists, arts managers and funders are all asking: How can we document the civic impact of our work? What kinds of indicators are meaningful to measure? What are some practical ways to collect information about the difference that an arts activity makes in its community?
To explore these questions, this Web seminar taps into lessons learned from the
Art At Work
initiative. Art At Work aims to strengthen municipal government through art-making projects with government employees, elected officials, local artists and community members. The initiative includes
Thin Blue Lines
, a poetry project with the Portland, Maine police department, as well as other projects designed to foster pride and mutual understanding between local governments and the public.
During the past two years, Art At Work has been evaluating the impact of its activities on city workers, civic leaders and the Portland community. This web seminar reviews the evaluation strategy used for Thin Blue Lines, emphasizing how an "evaluative thinking" approach has supported positive program outcomes. The session points participants to on-line tools that can help arts providers, evaluators and grant makers show how the arts contribute to civic life.