Community Arts Caucus (CAC) Interest Group Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

Influential (from in, “into, in, on, upon” + fluere “to flow”) Action

As we continue to (re)imagine together how the CAC is structured, this column focuses on action, specifically artist and collective action. We ask ourselves, what are actions that we take as artists? As folks in communities? As art educators? The column is a working manifesto that the Co-Directors have developed together. As we cowrite, we build trust in each other, our process, and identify other ways of working collaboratively that enable us to build collectively.

Our Emerging Manifesto

As artists and educators, we understand that it is important to consider our responsibility to attend to our relationships as they continue to change and form in new ways over time. We believe art is a tool to address injustices in communities and create solutions to inequity. This manifesto reflects the work we are doing on ourselves then points to how to sustain our practice.

To do so we commit to the following:

Uphold and perpetuate antiracism …in curriculum… …by continuing our own learning

Humble ourselves

Analyze our intentions

Engage in frequent and continual uncomfortable self-reflection


Move at the speed of trust

Complicate our assumptions and biases

Practice attunement

Unravel our thinking

Deconstruct our learning …Seek and nurture friends to learn and think with …Write and think together …Challenge siloed thinking …Study and intentionally reconfigure thoughts …Remember that others are not responsible for your learning

Approach failures as generative openings for transformational change

Address tensions, pause, and heal

Complicate conversations and approach them with critical love when possible

Realize the political

Challenge normative structures

Work to decentralize systems of oppressive power

Consider how we are complicit in upholding harmful systems

Use institutional literacy to transform power structures

We are never really alone, keep our interlocutors perpetually present …Borrow from a variety of people and sources


Imagine otherwise

Evolve from the plug and go

Be okay with what is not yet

This evolving manifesto is the beginning rumination on how we approach our work together and with communities. While we wrote this list together, other ideas emerged. We plan to take up our lingering thoughts in other forms. It is often difficult to sustain this work. Recognizing this to be true, generating manifestos and thinking about how we do this work is an integral part of actively and intentionally engaging with each other. We recognize the emotional labor that critical work demands of us. We lean on one another and our communities to help sustain our work. We remind ourselves of our collective magic. We seek parallels between our work and align our labor to create solidarity and mutual reciprocity. We orient ourselves in response to who inspires us and what we inspire. We choose to do this work.

In our next issue, we will follow with an offering of a series of artists, organizations, and collectives we look to for guidance, inspiration, and even healing. These influential communities of practice have inspired us individually to think through our responsibility as artists, community members, and educators.

Join us on Facebook as we continue the conversation to build a community list reflecting our individual and collective practice and solidarity by discussing ways artists, organizations, and collectives shape your practice.

Column by:
Community Arts Caucus Co-Directors, Angela Baldus, Carina Maye, Paulina Camacho Valencia, and William Estrada

CAC Co-Directors:

Paulina Camacho Valencia
PhD Student, Art Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Angela Inez Baldus
PhD Student, Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia.

William Estrada
Art Teacher, Telpochcalli Elementary; Faculty, School of Art and Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Carina Maye
EdD Student, Art and Art Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

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