A glance: Institute for Art and Civic Engagement

The Institute for Art and Civic Engagement (IACE) recognizes the potential for artists to impact contemporary issues in public life, from local to global communities. IACE serves as a catalyst for the development of creative ideas, programs, research, and action.
The Institute is a program of SMFA’s Artist’s Resource Center, in partnership with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
IACE fosters the development of partnerships with art, culture, research, education, healthcare, social service, business, and entrepreneurial ventures. It acts as a resource for students, faculty, and community members interested in the intersection of art and other fields and technologies. IACE also provides a place for research, dialogue, and program development in order that artists may serve to enrich their communities and create innovative strategies for civic participation.
Goals of the IACE include:
· Providing SMFA and Tufts students with resources and support to engage in artistic research, projects, internships, and other initiatives that contribute to the vitality of communities, both domestic and abroad
· Providing SMFA and Tufts faculty with resources and support for the advancement of creative research, scholarship, projects, and other initiatives that embrace active citizenship as an integral component of their professional practice
· Through institutional partnering, leverage the creative capital of each partner (MFA, SMFA, Tufts) to meet common areas of mission, responsibility, and concern, including scholarship, leadership, advocacy, and activism.
Below are examples of the innovative partnering that has led to the establishment of this initiative.
The Art Studio program at Mission Hill. Student teachers from the SMFA lead weekly art classes for young people at nearby Mission Main Housing and Community Center and City on a Hill Charter High School. Community youth also shadow SMFA undergraduate students in a studio setting, learning about art as process, collaboration, and mentorship.
Change This Picture: Exploration & Innovation in Art and Healthcare. This four-way partnership project was conceived as a pilot curricular offering at SMFA, funded by Johnson & Johnson, and with contributing funds from Tisch College. Partners include SMFA, Tisch College, Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), and South Cove Community Health Center.
Public Art/Public Action. In this studio course, SMFA students work in partnership with area teenagers to design and build a site-specific public art project. Participants study activist art and engage in public art projects.
Youth-Art-in-Action. An intensive arts education and leadership development program, this award-winning program supports diverse urban youth from local communities. Each semester an SMFA students collaborate in all aspects of the program, developing the skills required to work in leadership development through art, community collaboration, and public art installation. Youth-Art-in-Action is a recipient of YouthReach funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a proud winner of the Presdential 2005 Coming Up Taller Award.
Visions of Active Citizenship. Tisch College and ARC jointly facilitated a call for submissions by SMFA students and faculty for an exhibition on the Tufts University campus at Lincoln Filene Hall. Twenty pieces were installed and will remain on view for one year, with plans to rotate work on a yearly basis.
Art, Activism, and Community: Visual Art and Social Change. Seven SMFA students and 18 Tufts students enrolled in this course, taught by Tisch College staff member Mindy Nierenberg and offered through Tufts’ Experimental College.
Internship for Studio Credit Program. SMFA students have opportunities to engage in experiential learning for studio credit at a diverse range of internship sites, including many that embrace the role of art in public life. Click here to view a partial list of participating sponsors.
Art and Science Intersections. ARC has partnered with Boston Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI) to facilitate a summer residency opportunity for SMFA artists at BBRI’s research facility in Watertown, MA. The residency will ultimately result in a new body of work created by the artist(s) to be exhibited in BBRI’s exhibition space, a visual representation of the intersection of BBRI’s scientific endeavors and mission with the artist’s own inspiration and vision.
The Boston Arts Academy. A pilot school within the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Arts Academy (BAA) is charged with being a laboratory of academic innovation and a beacon for arts education. By way of SMFA’s membership in the Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts), a contributing force in the founding of BAA, we are committed to developing avenues for collaboration and enrichment with BAA faculty and students via BAA’s Dual Enrollment program, student-run curatorial projects, workshop development, internships, and volunteerism.
To learn more about how IACE can serve as a resource for students, faculty, and the greater community, please contact:
Elena White, Community Programs Coordinator
Robyn Reed, Community Service and Partnership Coordinator (AmeriCorps*VISTA)

Youth media professionals might consider contacting or building alliances with the Institute for Art and Civic Engagement