Cultivating the Arts at Penn State Brandywine

Open Access
Author:
Meyers, Teron Antuan
Area of Honors:
Elective Area of Honors - Civic and Community of Engagement
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Myra Margaret Goldschmidt, Thesis Supervisor
  • Paul D Greene, Faculty Reader
  • Myra Margaret Goldschmidt, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Art
  • Campus Culture
  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Cultivating
  • Photography
Abstract:
Cultivating the Arts at Penn State Brandywine is a project that involves fostering artistic expression at a small, commuter campus. For some time, students have expressed a strong interest in Brandywine showcasing the arts more on its campus. During my four years at Brandywine, I discussed with many students about an increase in music programs, art festivals, dance performances and the like. Because of these experiences, I was motivated to help the campus achieve a greater arts presence. For this thesis, the medium of art that I chose to use was photography. In order to cultivate the arts, I facilitated three events: a photography lecture, a photography contest, and a photography exhibition, “The Natural World.” With the data collected from these events, this thesis aims to answer two research questions: (1) How effective was “The Natural World” photography exhibition at cultivating any of the four roles (Container, Connector, Convener, and Catalyst) identified by The Walker Art Center's model of civic engagement? (2) Did the “The Natural World” photography exhibition effectively cultivate the arts at Penn State Brandywine? From my research, I learned that when artistic expression is added to a particular environment, it can foster individual and social change. Specifically, I focused on three elements of artistic expression: arts-based programming, art as a medium for civic and community engagement, and photography as a means of presenting aesthetic qualities. The research conducted on civic and community engagement, a key component of this thesis, highlights how such engagement can serve to better one's community and provoke change.