The Art of Community: Creativity at the Crossroads of Immigrant Cultures and Social Services

by Amy Skillman; Bobby King; Laura Marcus; Patty Haller; Victoria Patterson; William Westerman

Jul 15, 2013
These are case studies that give credance to the belief that respect for one's own artistic traditions is critical to the acculturation process. The essays contained here offer clear and shining examples of how paying attention to culture and creativity can build self-confidence, nurture a productive and valuable citizenry, and even save a life. Through these stories, we begin to see that encouraging the practice of cultural traditions and participation in arts activities will help newcomers spread their wings and fly.
  • For newcomers who have made the United States their home by choice or necessity, traditional culture is often a thread of continuity between a person's homeland and a new neighborhood.
  • Enhanced general and mental health, English language acquisition, professional and economic development, and opportunities for cross-cultural interaction are among the benefits of incorporating the arts into the processes of resettlement and cultural integration.
  • For folklorists and arts organizations, outreach to social service agencies working directly with immigrants can create better access to existing programs, and develop more inclusive and representative constituencies.
  • For those who work in social service settings, learning about local arts resources can open the door to new ways of assisting clients.
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