Community Arts and Popular Education in the Americas

Edited by Deborah Barndt



This format can only be shipped to Canada.

With examples from community arts projects in five countries, this collection will inform and inspire students, artists, and activists. ¡VIVA! is the product of a five-year transnational research project that integrates place, politics, passion, and praxis.

Learn from Central America: Kuna children’s art workshops, a community television station in Nicaragua, a cultural marketplace in Guadalajara, Mexico, community mural production in Chiapas; and from North America: arts education in Los Angeles inner-city schools, theatre probing ancestral memory, community plays with over one hundred participants, and training programs for young artists in Canada. These practices offer critical hope for movements hungry for new ways of knowing and expressing histories, identities, and aspirations, as well as mobilizing communities for social transformation. Beautifully illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, the book also includes a DVD with videos that bring the projects to life.

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[¡VIVA!] is a fascinating exploration, a pan-American quest for truths, justice, art and beauty, a quest with many possibilities, contradictions, and always more questions. I am very impressed and excited by this book: it is a gift, a major contribution to our understanding of oppression, popular education and community art, but also and always, of the human longing for justice. A very welcome source of inspiration in these times.

– Laurie Mcgauley, community artist, activist and professor of Women’s Studies and Community Arts, Laurentian University

¡VIVA! is a powerful read, raising the bar on what we need to know and where we can grow. It is heartening to sense that we are part of a rising stream on its way to becoming a river. This book will become a touchstone in a growing international network of allies, so that more untold stories and projects can be heard and become part of a building momentum.

– Beverly Naidus, author of Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame

¡VIVA! offers community art practitioners and theorists a complex and engaged analysis of the conjuncture between politics, economics, pedagogy and culture. The narratives that are constructed within this book are as articulate as they are diverse leaving me with the impression that it would be even more instructional to hear from a greater number of the actual projects’ participants. This book is an important contribution to the discourse about the problematics of institutionalizing community art practice; the tendency towards the imbalance of power within collective creative endeavors; and the tensions between oppression, empowerment and resistance through art and education.

– Devora Neumark, practicing interdisciplinary artist and co-editor of Affirming Collaboration: Community and Humanist Art in Québec and Elsewhere (Célébrer la collaboration: Art communautaire et art activiste humaniste au Québec et ailleurs


Preface Who, Why and How ¡VIVA!?
Introduction Rooted in Place, Politics, Passion, and Praxis: Decolonization, Popular Education, Community Arts and Participatory Action Research
Part I Recovering Cultural Histories: From Indigenous to Diasporic Contexts
Chapter 1 Planting Good Seeds: The Kuna Children's Art Workshops
Jesús Alemancia
Chapter 2 The Lost Body: Recovering Memory: Personal Legacy
Diane Roberts
Part II Transforming Urban Spaces: From Post-Colonial Neighborhoods to Public Squares
Chapter 3 Out of the Tunnel There Came Tea: Jumblies Theatre's Bridge of One Hair Project
Ruth Howard
Chapter 4 Telling Our Stories: Training Artists to Engage with Communities
Christine McKenzie
Chapter 5 A Melting Pot Where Lives Converge: Tianguis Cultural de Guadalajara
Leonardo David de Anda Gonzalez and Sergio Eduardo Martínez Mayoral
Part III Community-University Collaborations: Blurring the Boundaries
Chapter 6 Painting by Listening: Participatory Community Mural Production
Sergio G. Valdez Ruvalcaba
Chapter 7 Connecting the Dots: Linking Schools and Universities Through the Arts
Amy Shimshon-Santo
Chapter 8 With Our Images, Voices and Cultures Bilwivision: A Community Television Channel
Margarita Antonio and Reyna Armida Duarte
Epilogue Critical Hope