Creating a Field Guide

The beauty of a live performance is that it only exists in that moment. It is a shared moment of creation and artistic expression joined with audience experience and appreciation.

A similar feeling occurs when a successful art project has taken place within a community. Sadly, due to lack of funding, support or vision, many successful projects are never shared with a wider community. This makes it difficult for interested people to learn from and expand on community art projects. Each project that is launched within a community should have an accompanying field guide. Whether the project ends up being successful or not, creating and updating a field journal of your project adds to the literature of artist and community collaborations.

The creation of project field guides is essential for the future of community arts programs. The field guide should include:

  • Key organizers and other important contacts
  • Copy of any grants/funding proposals
  • Copies of posters or advertisements
  • Copy of media coverage – both online and off
  • Copy of surveys and interviews
  • Statistics on ages and number of participants
  • Log reports from each session
  • Pictures of the workshops and final events
  • Evaluation – suggestions for next steps, lessons learned, obstacles
  • Contact information

Imagine if a project done in your community came with such a guide. You would easily get a glimpse into what has been done in the past, how it was done, and what made it a success or a failure. Imagine how much more confident you could be starting another project with that knowledge. Please share what you do, whether it is a wonderful project or a complete failure. We would all love to learn from your experiences.

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