The latest community engagement inspiration from ArtsEngageCanada
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Your community engagement inspiration: Summer 2019
Take a break from the heat with new resources and stories
to inspire your engagement with your community...

New in the Idea Box: Art At Work

This season, we are featuring not just one project, but an innovative organization that has worked on projects across the U.S. since 2007.

Art At Work is a national initiative to improve municipal government through strategic arts projects with municipal employees, elected officials and local artists.”

The organization carries out unique arts-based projects that are developed with with a city agency and/or community to address a specific need or issue.
Art At Work founder Marty Pottenger discusses her work and the importance of creativity.

Who and Where?

Art At Work was created by the arts non-profit Terra Moto Inc, and is led by the award-winning theatre artist Marty Pottenger. Projects engage various municipal employees and citizens. Art At Work has worked in partnership with the City of Portland, Maine since 2007, and also partnered on municipal projects in cities across the United States.

What and How?

Art At Work begins by interviewing key stakeholders to identify critical challenges. They then design a strategic arts project to address that issue, engaging the city workers, elected officials and union members that are connected to the issue.

Participants sitting in a circle“The process of making art - poetry, collages, photographs, or music - dramatically increases participants’ ability to actively engage, function as a team, envision a positive outcome, remember their connections and be willing to take inspired risks that lead to innovative solutions.” – Marty Pottenger

Art At Work employs creative intelligence as a vital tool for municipalities to leverage the talents of their own workforce as well as the communities they serve. In the face of increasingly complex municipal challenges and diminishing resources, Art At Work has successfully demonstrated that artmaking is a valuable, cost-effective, sustainable tool to both address intransigent municipal problems and deepen the public’s awareness and appreciation of local government’s role in creating healthy, educated, engaged, economically vibrant communities.

Read more!
New in the Resource Centre

Reframing Aging Through the Arts
This article explores Edmonton's GeriActors and Vancouver's Arts & Health: Healthy Aging Through the Arts program. Both are great examples of the ways in which community members can play active, essential roles in artistic programs that address their own health and societal needs. 

Case Study

In 2010, Maine Inside Out worked with immigrant high school students to create a play about their relationship with police, which worsened after the fatal police shooting of a local Sudanese man. Police Chief James Craig then asked Art At Work to work with police to create a play that would convey their experiences and address escalating tensions. 

Together, these two plays made up Forest City Times. Performed at all 3 high schools in Portland, at the public library's theatre, and broadcast on television, the performances are evidence of the momentum that's been created for strategic art projects to engage and impact city policy & practices in Portland.
Watch this video or click here to find out more about Forest City Times
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Communicating the Arts
October 8-10  -  Montreal

The third edition of Communicating the Arts will gather 300 communication and education experts working in the visual and performing arts. They will come together to network, engage in stimulating conversations and rethink their institutions’ communications and audience engagement strategies.

Communicating the Arts is delighted to offer Ontario Presents members and partners a preferred rate to attend the conference. Please register here using the code CTA_PA to benefit from the $500 discount.

Whats is ArtsEngageCanada?


ArtsEngageCanada is a resource website dedicated to helping performing arts presenters and artists to understand and create community engagement projects.

As a project of Ontario Presents, ArtsEngageCanada was designed with the performing arts presenting field in mind. However, community engagement projects often involve many partnerships, and the information provided here may be useful to anyone wishing to engage their community through the arts.

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Arts Engage Canada is a project of Ontario Presents. Our sincere thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting the development of this project.

Ontario Presents gratefully acknowledges the following public funders:

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Contact Ontario Presents:  -  416 703 6709  -  125-215 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C7

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