Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

The Arts and Civic Space: An Experiment in Community Education


by Frances McCue — 2007

Background/Context:

While the arts are being elbowed out of school curricula, new community-based education venues for the arts are emerging in cities across the country. This article describes Richard Hugo House, an arts center for creative writing in Seattle, which attracts people of different ages and sociocultural backgrounds who participate in not only writing studios, but in a wide range of activities such as literary readings and plays. Hugo House also maintains a gallery, a café, and a “zine” library, an underground collection of almost 16,000 homemade magazines from around the world. It has come to function as a civic space for the arts that fosters in participants not only a range of real-life skills, but also a sense of democratic values.

Purpose:

This essay explores the theoretical underpinnings of a community learning place for the arts and includes some observations about how people of different backgrounds, ages, and skill levels engage with an art form and how the art becomes a pivot of dialogue for a larger community.

Research Design:

In this particular civic arts space, I am identifying traits that make the learning environment a vibrant and inspiring one. For example, at Richard Hugo House, we are able to ask: “What do people need as they are learning to write? What does anyone coming to an artistic enterprise need? How does she sustain her work and improve her craft?” and we can trace the responses to these questions through the experiences of particular students and their teachers.

Conclusions/Recommendations:

Good teaching in this informal setting is idealistic and pragmatic: it gives voice to more stories, and more stories help us see the “what ifs” of the world. Teaching at Hugo House facilitates more than it instructs—it’s a process theory approach and our observations are grounded similarly—in action research. While good teaching lets more people be the tellers of their stories, it also helps to hone and craft them, making both the story and the telling of it culturally urgent. That, at its best, is highly democratic.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase The Arts and Civic Space: An Experiment in Community Education
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 3, 2007, p. 590-602
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12825, Date Accessed: 8/19/2017 1:40:20 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Frances McCue
    University of Washington
    E-mail Author
    FRANCES MCCUE is a poet, essayist, scholar and writer in residence at the University of Washington’s Honors Program. Her publications include articles in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Nest Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review. Her book of poems, The Stenographer’s Breakfast was published by Beacon Press. McCue is a public scholar-- a writer who connects academic scholarship to the life of the region by working in fields as diverse as poetry, architecture, organizational leadership, education and Northwest history. Her MFA in Creative Writing is from the University of Washington and her doctorate is from Teachers College where she received a Klingenstein Fellowship. With two friends, she co-founded Richard Hugo House, a nonprofit center for creative writing in Seattle. She was the founding director there from 1996-2006.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS