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Community Art

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The intersection of art, social action, social service

Instituted by the Art Department in 1990, this program provides an academic survey of arts and social practices and facilitates embodying the intersection of art, social action, social service, and ritual-filled living. We explore art's powers of both healing and upheaval as it intervenes and interrupts business as usual from within local communities. 

Community art, or socially engaged art is an ancient and common art form/lifestyle with contemporary academic labeling and an increasing number of program offerings. It draws on efforts and theories from other disciplines including, i.e., auto-ethnography, critical pedagogy, politics, environmental studies, psychology, and grass-roots activism. The community artist is one who enters into the lives of others to bear witness to radical acts of dignity, activate creativity, and share in imaginative story-telling. Wheaton's community art program includes an internship that leads students to consider local and global applications of community art principles.

Examples of Project Partnerships

  • Internships with over 20 local and Chicago arts organizations
  • Group murals and mosaics with Wheaton’s Student Health Services, Honey Rock Camp, and the President’s Art Commissions
  • Group murals with local churches and the Wheaton Municipal Arts Commission
  • Senior projects with dance choreography, letter writing campaigns, youth development, art therapy and healing, fine arts exhibitions, & local church arts outreach
  • International photo, painting, film, etc. projects with Wheaton’s Human Needs and Global Resources program

Students can alternatively pursue a minor in community art.

Bachelor of Arts in Community Art

Studio Art Core (17 hours)

Course NameCredit Hours
ART 232: Drawing 1 3
ART 233: Creativity and Design 3
ART 234 Digital Studio Art 3
ART 241 Sophomore Cornerstone 2
Studio Elective 3
Studio Elective 3

Community Art Core (9)

Course NameCredit Hours
ART 329: Community Art 1 3
ART 429: Community Art 2 3
Art 492: Internship  Capstone 3

Art History Core (8)

Course NameCredit Hours
ART 251: History of Art and Architecture 1 3
ART 351:  History of Art and Architecture 2 3

 Interdisciplinary Electives (8)

  • ANTH 353: Biculturalism
  • BIOL 319: Intro To Environmental Ethics (2)
  • CE 337: Compassion in Ministry (2)
  • EDUC 305: Learning Differences (2)
  • HNGR 114: Poverty, Justice and Transformation
  • INTR 504: Perspectives in Global Outreach (2)
  • IR 357: Third World Politics and Development
  • PACS 101: Intro to Peace and Conflict Studies
  • PSYC 235: Cross Cultural Psychology (2)
  • PSYC 317: Developmental Psycology
  • SOC 385: Social Change
  • URBN 114: Social Life of Cities
  • URBN 233: Chicago
  • URBN 393: Placemaking in Urban Contexts (2)

Choose one of the following to download printable PDFs of the above course requirement information.

Contact: Professor Kaye Patton
Professor of Drawing & Community Art
Kaye.Patton@wheaton.edu (630) 752-5050

 Modified: August 2021