Artists at the Community Development Table Online Classroom

image About this Classroom

Artists at the Community Development Table

Artists of all kinds have always been powerful influencers in the culture of any society. But the roles of artists are changing as the world both shrinks and expands through new means of communication and media. While many artists will continue to work solely - some are adding the practice of working in collaboration and with communities. This self-guided classroom is designed to provide usable information and research on how artists and arts organizations can deepen the capacity for community development and engagement. It will outline ideas about how to bring creativity and new thought to the conversations artists of all disciplines, local arts agencies, organizations, and their communities are having about how to collaborate across sectors, borders, and boundaries. While there are complexities and many layers to working in this way, these webinars aim to connect threads and make those complexities visible. 

There are four modules of learning that are of equal importance and urgency in terms of efficacy and best practices for building and maintaining a creative and culturally competent community. It’s a methodology that considers equity in community culture, artists and agency, partnership and collaboration, and resources for all of the above. Each module contains webinars, interactive worksheets, and quizzes, all aimed at deepening participant's understand of arts-based community development. Participants are encouraged to go complete the course with a group of colleagues and learning partners.


Module 1: Community + Culture + Equity

Module 2: Artist Agency      

Module 3: Partnerships and Collaborations 

Module 4: Assets and Support


Classroom Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Articulate a deeper understanding of the concepts of arts-based community development.
  • Define the complex layers of community.
  • Demonstrate how artists and creative people are part of those communities.
  • Embrace the philosophy of “With Not For”- working with and alongside people.



This course is part of Americans for the Arts' Artists at the Community Development Table initiative. Americans for the Arts gratefully acknowledges The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its support of this initiative.

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  • Module 1: Community + Culture + Equity

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    In the first module, we begin with terms and concepts that will lead us to develop shared language and shared content. As we begin the process of community development, how do we experience and enable listening and language and get comfortable with authentic engagement and relationship building? We explore the ideas of cultural competency and equity as decisions are made in and about communities. We ask: How do we respect and honor all the stories of these communities?

    imageAbout this Lesson


    Artists at the Community Development Table

    Module 1: Community + Culture + Equity


    In the first module, we begin with terms and concepts that will lead us to develop shared language and shared content. As we begin the process of community development, how do we experience and enable listening and language and get comfortable with authentic engagement and relationship building? We explore the ideas of cultural competency and equity as decisions are made in and about communities. We ask, "How do we respect and honor all the stories of these communities?" 


    Participants will:

    • Gain an understanding of communication through models and discussion of communication theory.
    • Realize the importance of effective communication in developing cultural competency.      
    • Recognize the multiple roles of community members in inclusive community development.


    This module includes:

    • A webinar
    • An interactive worksheet
    • A quiz


    Continue to Module 2

    Roseann Weiss

    Creative Advisor

    Roseann Weiss is a creative advisor and strategist about the intersections of art and community working independently as ART +. She has 30 years of experience in arts leadership in nonprofit arts institutions, community organizations, and gallery settings. Her expertise centers in arts-based community development, community and public arts, artists' professional development, and grant-making. For 14 years, she guided the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which is an innovative, cross-sector program designed around art as a powerful agent for social change. Among her current projects are Lead Educator for Arts as Civic Engagement program at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University and working with Americans for the Arts to create guides, webinars, and workshops for “Artists at the Community Development Table.”

    Pacia Elaine Anderson

    Spoken Word Artist

    Pacia Elaine (Anderson) is a St. Louis-based written, spoken, visual, and teaching Word Artist. She is a graduate of the Community Arts Training Institute, an Urban Bushwomen SLI Alumnus, a founding member of the art-based youth initiative Cherokee Street Reach, and serves as a Dean in the Zakatu Madrasa. Pacia is chair of the St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival and a Missouri Regional Coordinator for the NEA-sponsored Poetry Out Loud youth recitation competition. Liaison for the Great Rivers Greenway Artists of Color Council, Pacia is also a consulting artist and facilitator with Americans for the Arts’ Artists at the Community Development Table initiative. Pacia is a Steering Committee member for the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan and does extensive community work in the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District. She has served as Curation Assistant to Inaugural St. Louis Poet Laureate Dr. Michael Castro, is a past Springboard to Learning Professional Development Facilitator for teaching artistsand has collaborated as a teaching artist and consultant with numerous schools, non-profit, and community-based organizations, both locally and nationally.  In 2016, Pacia released her first spoken word poetry album titled circa.ep. Her work has been published in collections, anthologies, and media such as Drumvoices RevueCrossing the Divide, and All the Art. Her first collection of poetry and writing is forthcoming.

  • Module 2: Artist Agency

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    What does it mean and what changes when an artist is at the community development table? Here we explicitly look at how artists engage, take risks, invest time, talent, and commitment. And we look at how the community across sectors can understand the value of artists’ perspectives, creativity, and experiences. Creativity help participants reach across the table, move across the street, and across community sectors.

    imageAbout this Lesson


    Artists at the Community Development Table

    Module 2: Artist Agency


    What does it mean and what changes when an artist is at the community development table?  Here we explicitly look at how artists engage, take risks, invest time, talent, and commitment. And we look at how the community across sectors can understand the value of artists’ perspectives, creativity, and experiences. Creativity help participants reach across the table, move across the street, and across community sectors. 


    Participants will:

    • Identify creativity and the creative process as powerful tools for community development including the notion of “process over product”.
    • Define the concept of artists and their personal agency as a powerful element in community context and development.
    • Analyze how artists work with communities and what constitutes authentic community engagement.
    • Synthesize concepts of communication, culture, creativity, and collaboration as parts of the big picture of community development.


    This module includes:

    • A webinar
    • An interactive worksheet
    • A quiz


    Continue to Module 3

    Roseann Weiss

    Creative Advisor

    Roseann Weiss is a creative advisor and strategist about the intersections of art and community working independently as ART +. She has 30 years of experience in arts leadership in nonprofit arts institutions, community organizations, and gallery settings. Her expertise centers in arts-based community development, community and public arts, artists' professional development, and grant-making. For 14 years, she guided the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which is an innovative, cross-sector program designed around art as a powerful agent for social change. Among her current projects are Lead Educator for Arts as Civic Engagement program at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University and working with Americans for the Arts to create guides, webinars, and workshops for “Artists at the Community Development Table.”

    Con Christeson

    Community Artist

    Con is an artist exploring communities. She experiences community by observing pools of knowledge and experience that exist alongside historical rootedness and the complex concept of place. It is a topographical map of wind, weather, and time. It is the science of hard scape. It is multiple layers of memory and story. It is individual and institutional. It can reinforce or bury the human experience. 

    Con’s work is at the intersection of space and place, a collaboration between consciousness and creativity. She works locally, nationally, and internationally because those virtual lines drawn by humans on the surface of this planet are not real. And yet, she believes they slow us, confine us, stop us, turn us away from each other. 

  • Module 3: Partnerships and Collaborations

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    This module dives into what it takes to work together in arts-based community development. Here we look at what the elements are of both partnership and collaboration. As we lay the groundwork, there are ways to check assumptions and promote understanding as we agree to and manage outcomes and evaluation criteria. Partnerships and collaborations form maps of relationships, actions, and expectations.

    imageAbout this Lesson


    Artists at the Community Development Table

    Module 3: Partnerships and Collaborations


    This module dives into what it takes to work together in arts-based community development. Here we look at what the elements are of both partnership and collaboration. As we lay the groundwork, there are ways to check assumptions and promote understanding as we agree to and manage outcomes and evaluation criteria. Partnerships and collaborations form maps of relationships, actions, and expectations. 


    Participants will:

    • Define and compare what makes a successful partnership and what makes a successful collaboration.
    • Explore the concept of power dynamics and how it applies to community development and relationships.
    • Review program models that illustrate how to successfully enter, work with, and exit a community.
    • Understand the notion of accountability and ‘who holds the stories’ of a community including ethical sharing and archiving in a community.


    This module includes:

    • A webinar
    • An interactive worksheet
    • A quiz


    Continue to Module 4

    Roseann Weiss

    Creative Advisor

    Roseann Weiss is a creative advisor and strategist about the intersections of art and community working independently as ART +. She has 30 years of experience in arts leadership in nonprofit arts institutions, community organizations, and gallery settings. Her expertise centers in arts-based community development, community and public arts, artists' professional development, and grant-making. For 14 years, she guided the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which is an innovative, cross-sector program designed around art as a powerful agent for social change. Among her current projects are Lead Educator for Arts as Civic Engagement program at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University and working with Americans for the Arts to create guides, webinars, and workshops for “Artists at the Community Development Table.”

    Pacia Elaine Anderson

    Spoken Word Artist

    Pacia Elaine (Anderson) is a St. Louis-based written, spoken, visual, and teaching Word Artist. She is a graduate of the Community Arts Training Institute, an Urban Bushwomen SLI Alumnus, a founding member of the art-based youth initiative Cherokee Street Reach, and serves as a Dean in the Zakatu Madrasa. Pacia is chair of the St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival and a Missouri Regional Coordinator for the NEA-sponsored Poetry Out Loud youth recitation competition. Liaison for the Great Rivers Greenway Artists of Color Council, Pacia is also a consulting artist and facilitator with Americans for the Arts’ Artists at the Community Development Table initiative. Pacia is a Steering Committee member for the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan and does extensive community work in the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District. She has served as Curation Assistant to Inaugural St. Louis Poet Laureate Dr. Michael Castro, is a past Springboard to Learning Professional Development Facilitator for teaching artistsand has collaborated as a teaching artist and consultant with numerous schools, non-profit, and community-based organizations, both locally and nationally.  In 2016, Pacia released her first spoken word poetry album titled circa.ep. Her work has been published in collections, anthologies, and media such as Drumvoices RevueCrossing the Divide, and All the Art. Her first collection of poetry and writing is forthcoming.

  • Module 4: Assets and Support

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    What do we need to do the work? In arts-based community development, with partners and collaborators across sectors, we look at the possibilities of ‘Arts and ______.’ The arts can be a means to cross sectors to non-arts disciplines, fields, and institutions and to access the funds available in these sectors. We can also look at assets beyond the financial with examining social capital, creative capital, and the validity of the process.

    imageAbout this Lesson


    Artists at the Community Development Table

    Module 4: Assets and Support


    What do we need to do the work? In arts-based community development, with partners and collaborators across sectors, we look at the possibilities of ‘Arts and ______.’ The arts can be a means to cross sectors to non-arts disciplines, fields, and institutions and to access the funds available in these sectors. We can also look at assets beyond the financial with examining social capital, creative capital, and the validity of the process. 


    Participants will:

    • Identify what is needed to support community development work.
    • Outline multiple sources of support.
    • Articulate the differences and the assets of social capital, creative capital, and financial support.
    • Examine the concept of and best practices for equity in funding.


    This module includes:

    • A webinar
    • An interactive worksheet
    • A quiz

    Roseann Weiss

    Creative Advisor

    Roseann Weiss is a creative advisor and strategist about the intersections of art and community working independently as ART +. She has 30 years of experience in arts leadership in nonprofit arts institutions, community organizations, and gallery settings. Her expertise centers in arts-based community development, community and public arts, artists' professional development, and grant-making. For 14 years, she guided the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which is an innovative, cross-sector program designed around art as a powerful agent for social change. Among her current projects are Lead Educator for Arts as Civic Engagement program at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University and working with Americans for the Arts to create guides, webinars, and workshops for “Artists at the Community Development Table.”

    Con Christeson

    Community Artist

    Con is an artist exploring communities. She experiences community by observing pools of knowledge and experience that exist alongside historical rootedness and the complex concept of place. It is a topographical map of wind, weather, and time. It is the science of hard scape. It is multiple layers of memory and story. It is individual and institutional. It can reinforce or bury the human experience. 

    Con’s work is at the intersection of space and place, a collaboration between consciousness and creativity. She works locally, nationally, and internationally because those virtual lines drawn by humans on the surface of this planet are not real. And yet, she believes they slow us, confine us, stop us, turn us away from each other.