Arts Engaged
Engage Now

AAAE Back To School Newsletter

Preparing Artists for the Future

A Residency for Higher Education

The economic, social, and political environments out of which the infrastructure for Western “high arts” grew have changed radically.Labor is no longer inexpensive, society is increasingly heterogeneous, expenses are rising precipitously, and competition for major donors is fierce.These changes mean thatthe survival of established arts organizations hinges on their ability to engage effectively with a broader range oftheir communities. Artists are affected by these changes as well. Those who work for or with arts organizations need skills in “community engagement.” New relationships and new ways of thinking can create opportunities for independent artists as well.All artists need training in how to be in community at the same time they develop their requisite arts-specific skills.

While community engagementis a hot topic in arts circles, there is little common understanding of what it means. (See definitions below.) An ArtsEngaged residency will assist college and university arts programs in preparing students for the future. It will clarify the terminology, present the arguments for systemically engaging, acknowledge the difficulties in doing so, introduce principles for effective engagement, provide examples of individual artists and organizations in successful interaction with communities, and explore the implications of the new environment for the rising generation of artists. If desired, the opportunity for faculty and administrators to consider the curricular implications of engagement can be included.

Audience Development: A marketing strategy for immediate results (e.g., sales, donations)

Audience Engagement: A marketing strategy for deepening relationships with current stakeholders and expanding reach over time.

Community Engagement: A mission strategy that builds deep relationships between the arts and their communities for the purpose of achieving mutual benefit.


Author of Engaging Matters, a blog for ArtsJournal, author/editor of Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S., and author of Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts IndispensableDoug Borwick is one of the country's leading advocates for the arts and community engagement. Past President of the Board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, an international organization of higher education programs in the field, he led AAAE’s comprehensive graduate and undergraduate curriculum standards developmentand wroteits first statement on community engagement. For three decades he served as Director of the Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management Programs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. At Salem he was for three years the College’s Associate Dean.

Dr. Borwick has been a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences across the U.S. and Canada as well as in Beijing and Singapore. Notably, he has been featured speaker for statewide arts gatherings in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin as well as for the Canadian Arts Summit in Banff, Alberta.He holds the Ph.D. in Music Composition from the Eastman School of Music and is an award-winning member of ASCAP.