Hi. I am Don Glass the co-chairperson of the Arts, Culture, and Audiences TIG. Along with my co-chair Kathleen Tinworth, we are excited to host a week of aea365. Our colleague Joe Heimlich has curated this series to explore evaluation of arts and culture, arts education, arts participation, informal learning, and visitor studies. Please join us this week using the comments feature of aea365 to think about how this work may have implications for your work in the field of evaluation!
Arts, culture, and arts education may have outcomes and outputs that are often creative, innovative, and unpredictable. These may have deep personal and cultural meanings and value to various stakeholders. To understand and evaluate the arts, evaluators tend to explore more naturalistic and qualitative forms of inquiry and reporting. These methods can be rigorous and systematic, as well as allow for responsiveness to the context of the cultural values and aesthetic qualities of a program.
Let’s start the week by visiting two foundational lessons that emerged from the evaluation of arts education, and then look at several resources that feature recent evaluation thinking and tools inspired by engagement with arts and culture.
- Expressive Outcomes: Elliot Eisner in his 1972 article Emerging Models for Educational Evaluation, speaks of expressive types of outcomes that are not predetermined, but are generated out of an activity and then reflected upon through a responsive evaluative lens.
- Responsive Evaluation: In Robert Stake’s 1975 classic To Evaluate an Arts Program, he cautioned us about an “over-reliance on per-conceived notions of success, ” (p. 15) and recommends that we pay close attention, observe carefully, and portray the complexity in ways that are responsive to what people are naturally doing.
Evaluating Arts Education Programs:
- More Than Measuring: Program Evaluation as an Opportunity to Build the Capacity of Communities (2007) by Dennis Palmer Wolf, Jennifer Bransom, and Katy Denson for Big Thought.
- The Contours of Inclusion: Frameworks and Tools for Evaluating Arts in Education (2008) by VSA | Kennedy Center.
Evaluating Arts Organizations/Programs:
- Singing Our Praises: Case Studies in the Art of Evaluation (2004) by Suzanne Callahan for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. *2005 Outstanding Publication Award, AEA*
Evaluating Arts Participation:
- Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation (2011) by Alan S. Brown, Jennifer L. Novak-Leonard, and Shelly Gilbride for the James Irvine Foundation.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arts, Culture, and Audiences (ACA) TIG Week. The contributions all week come from ACA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluator.