Community Arts and Popular Education in the Americas

Edited by Deborah Barndt

Subjects: Art, Latin American Studies, Social Movements, Social Change
Series: SUNY series, Praxis: Theory in Action
Paperback : 9781438437668, 188 pages, November 2011
Hardcover : 9781438437675, 188 pages, November 2011

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Table of contents

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
1. Planting Good Seeds: The Kuna Children’s Art Workshops
Jesús Alemancia (CEASPA, Kuna Yala, Panama)
2. The Lost Body: Recovering Memory—A Personal Legacy
Diane Roberts (Personal Legacy Project, Vancouver, Canada)
PART II. TRANSFORMING URBAN SPACES: From PostColonial Neighborhoods to Public Squares
3. Out of the Tunnel There Came Tea: Jumblies Theatre’s Bridge of One Hair Project
Ruth Howard (Jumblies Theatre, Toronto, Canada)
4. Telling Our Stories: Training Artists to Engage with Communities
Christine McKenzie (Catalyst Center, Toronto, Canada)
5. A Melting Pot Where Lives Converge: Tianguis Cultural de Guadalajara
Leonardo David de Anda Gonzalez and Sergio Eduardo Martínez Mayoral (Tianguis Cultural and IMDEC, Guadalajara, Mexico)
6. Painting by Listening: Participatory Community Mural Production
Sergio G. Valdez Ruvalcaba (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico)
7. Connecting the Dots: Linking Schools and Universities Through the Arts
Amy Shimson-Santo (UCLArtsBridge, Los Angeles, USA)
8. With Our Images, Voices and Cultures Bilwivision: A Community Television Channel
Margarita Antonio and Reyna Armida Duarte (URACCAN, Bilwi, Nicaragua)
Epilogue. Critical Hope
About the Editor, Contributors, and Videographers
VIVA! Project Partners’ Contacts
Photo and Drawing Credits
VIVA! Community Arts and Popular Education in the Americas: Nine Videos (on accompanying DVD)

Compelling case studies of groups in Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, the United States, and Canada using the arts for education, community development, and social movement building.


This compelling collection of inspiring case studies from community arts projects in five countries 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. Framed by postcolonial theories of decolonization, the pedagogy of the oppressed articulated by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, and the burgeoning field of community arts, this collection not only analyzes the dynamic integration of the critical and the creative in social justice movements, it embodies such a 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, theater 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.

Deborah Barndt is Professor and Coordinator of the Community Arts Practice (CAP) Certificate Program and Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto. She is the author of Tangled Routes: Women, Work, and Globalization on the Tomato Trail, Second Edition and editor of Wild Fire: Art as Activism.


"¡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