Evaluator / Researcher Companion - Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change
The Evaluator / Researcher Companion guide to Animating Democracy’s framework, Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change, offers ideas and insights to help evaluators and researchers apply the framework to address their needs and interests. Aesthetic Perspectives aims to enhance understanding and evaluation of creative work at the intersection of arts and community/civic engagement, community development, and justice. It offers 11 artistic attributes that elevate aesthetics in civically and socially engaged art, expand the criteria for considering aesthetics, and promote appreciation of the rigor required for effective work.
Author Susannah Laramee Kidd describes how the aesthetic attributes provide a reference for evaluators who might not have experience assessing artistic projects with social or civic intent, but who are increasingly being engaged by funders and cultural organizations to do so. The framework reflects language generated by artists to describe this work and can help evaluators to: understand the community’s experience of art; work within cross-sector partnerships; further organizational learning for arts organizations; define artistic excellence, and figure out how aesthetic properties of these projects contribute to change efforts.
Laramee Kidd outlines ways evaluators and researchers can apply and adapt the framework in: developing a shared language with stakeholders about the creative work; defining indicators of artistic success; guiding data collection; designing developmental evaluations; communicating findings and lessons learned to the field; and informing evaluation consulting and training.
Aesthetic Perspectives was developed by artists and allied funders and evaluators who participated in the 2014-15 Evaluation Learning Lab (ELL) led by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Arts x Culture x Social Justice Network. Framework dissemination and activation is supported by Hemera Foundation.