To advocate on behalf of, provide preparation for, and support community engagement ArtsEngaged offers the following services:



In order to encourage discussion and promote the value of community engagement, we advocate for the practice through conference presentations, workshops, blogging on’s Engaging Matters, and promotion of our books, Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S. and Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts Indispensable.

  • Keynote/Plenary Presentations
  • Book Signings
  • Conference Sessions & Local Arts Agency Workshops
  • Board Presentations
Community Engagement: Myths, Motivations, and Means

Community engagement holds much potential for invigorating arts organizations and supporting healthier communities. Unfortunately, there is much misunderstanding about what it is and what it is not. This facilitated conversation, designed for arts organizations’ internal stakeholders, will address the relevant issues and lay the groundwork for efforts to increase relevance to the community.



To expand the number of practitioners with understanding of the principles and practices of effective community engagement, ArtsEngaged conducts workshops for groups and provides training for individuals. Individual training is designed for staff members or volunteers to put into practice in their own organizations. Advanced training is available for people interested in furthering the field of community engagement by becoming trainers themselves. Additional training is offered in higher education both to students in the arts and in arts administration. Finally, training is available for individual artists to highlight career options available when taking a community oriented approach to their art. [See the "work in progress" Arts-Community Engagement Toolkit]

  • Individuals
    • Basics (for use in their orgs.)
    • Trainers (for those interested in becoming community engagement trainers)
  • Local Arts Agency/State Arts Agency Workshops
  • Higher Education
  • Individual Artists
Engagement: Making It Real

ArtsEngaged's flagship offering, this workshop provides opportunity to examine how community engagement can be incorporated into the fabricof what arts organizations already do, recognizing the fact that resources do not exist to "do one more thing."

  • Part I–Understanding Engagement
    Terminology, rationales for, misunderstandings about, and principles of successful community engagement.
  • Part II–The Engagement Process
    An overview of the process of planning for and implementing community engagement strategies.
Preparing Artists for the Future: A Residency for Higher Education

Presentations for students and consultation with faculty on preparation for careers in the arts that understand the importance of community focus–awareness, communication, and experience in the skills required to effectively interact with the public.

Artists and Community Engagement: New Thinking Yields New Options

This workshop examines the close connection between arts entrepreneurship and community engagement.



ArtsEngaged provides consultancy support to organizations for detailed planning and implementation of community engagement infrastructure and activities. In the interest of cost effectiveness, small and medium size organizations can be grouped in cohorts to receive this support together. Larger organizations are dealt with on an individual basis.

While each organization is unique, the following presents the elements generally included in the process:

  • Organizational Assessment
  • Internal Advocacy Plan (If necessary)
  • CE Plan–Internal: Goals, Strategies, Tactics
    • Mission, Goals, and Infrastructure
    • Training
    • Mainstreaming Engagement
  • CE Plan–External: Partnering
    • Develop/Enhance Relationships
    • Maintain Relationships


Plus specially designed presentations, workshops, and consultancies for individual arts organizations and institutions of higher education.

What they say:

Participant Comments:

  • More real information imparted than any other session! Don't know how it could be improved.
  • It caused me to look at things in a new way.
  • It made me rethink some of the programs my organization produces and why. 
  • [It] gave important perspective. It made me think differently about what we are doing and how we are doing it. Thanks for a great session.
  • This presentation . . .  addressed the concept of engagement in a pragmatic and accessible manner with concrete examples.
  • The concepts were well presented, clear, and offered some real insight into areas that are important to the vitality of our organization.
  • The concept of community engagement versus selling tickets is something that the presenting community (myself included) struggle with. The two do not necessarily go hand in hand, it’s about building relationships.
  • [The workshop] gave me a new perspective on the concept of community engagement as a responsibility of a presenter rather than an added bonus.
  • The Artistic Director, Audience Development officer and E.D. are discussing Doug’s concepts and how we can position our organization to be more engaged with the communities we serve.
  • "Everyone deserves a way to reflect their culture." When Doug Borwick said that early in his presentation, I resolved to do more to engage our minority population in Arts Council programming.
  • Doug's presentation places "art" BETWEEN the arts organization and the larger community---so that art is a means of exchange between the two entities, rather than a product or commodity that the arts organization holds in its possession.
  • Wonderful language, story, motivation and validation. Thank you.

Presenter Comments:

  • The enthusiasm for these workshops was tremendous. We were happily surprised by the thoughtful and strategic responses in the days following. The topic really seemed to spark several ‘ah-ha’ moments with our participants and stirred up ideas for specific actions steps they needed to take to be more effective in their role. Jennifer Armstrong, Illinois Arts Council; Scarlett Swerdlow, Arts Alliance Illinois (workshop organizers)
  • Doug was inspirational and full of information. I was especially struck by his comment that the arts started in community and will be saved by the community.
  • Wonderful language, story, motivation and validation. Thank you.Totally worthwhile. Janet Harvey, Arkansas Arts Council
  • Great presenter. Very engaging. Gets to the heart of the matter.
  • Everything was perfect. I would highly recommend it for content, delivery and engagement.
  • Doug was wonderful communicating with faculty and student arts managers alike. Looking forward to future conversations and collaborations! Ursula Kuhar, Professor, Sweet Briar College
  • A number of students (and our faculty) said it was a "turning point" for the way they view and approach the arts within the context of our communities.