The Community Arts Program (COMAR) is an interdisciplinary, community-based academic program devoted to creative practice in the public sphere. The program focuses on the ways artists and designers interact, collaborate, and intervene in a variety of social networks in order to build sustainable community relationships, engage cultural diversity, and stimulate social transformation.
Students study the historical, social, and theoretical context of community arts and draw from a wide range of cultural theories and practices in art, critical studies, art education, social practices, and civic engagement. Encouraged to experiment with new genres, mediums, and technologies, students create their own set of hybrid practices, adding new thinking and ideas to the field of community arts.
Seeking to address complex issues such as crime, poverty, urban dilapidation, and the lack of educational opportunities, the COMAR Program requires its students to respond by using methodologies that combine intuitive, social, conceptual, and anthropological sensibilities. Through their course of study students are expected to understand themselves in the role of the artist/designer as collaborator, democratic agent, listener, navigator, and activist.
COMAR majors must complete a community arts thesis project and a corresponding written thesis as a culmination to the program. Intrinsic to the successful completion of the program, all student projects and writing must reflect the varied geographical, social, and cultural territories in which their projects are located.
Central to the COMAR mission is the ability for students to focus on community engagement and produce work that reflects an understanding of the complex territories of collaboration, social justice, and diversity.