A Community Arts Program for Underserved Children: Getting Things Done and Member Development

Sang-Hie Lee


The Program: The AmeriCorps ArtsUSF program was a federally funded outreach program that provided hands-on arts experience to underserved children in culturally and economically deprived communities in and around a large metropolitan area. The project had two components: Getting Things Done (GTD) and Member Development (MD). Objectives: The goals of GTD were to help improve the communities’ self-image, stability, and culture by providing accessible, safe, and affordable cultural activities and programs. The goals of MD were to help the AmeriCorps volunteer artist-teacher members develop an awareness of societal problems, teaching and class management skills, and to become responsible citizens. Methods: GTD goals were measured using a quantitative survey instrument developed for the program. Pre (November) and post (May) data were compared using paired one-tailed t-tests to see if there were significant changes. MD outcomes were summarized from content analysis of member journals. Results: Data showed progress in all measured items, particularly, integrating arts to life, group problem-solving skills, attitude on diversity, and attitude on being-kind-to-each-other. Factor analysis results demonstrated strong connections among arts skills, expression through the arts, art appreciation skills, and integrating arts to life. There was an association among class learning skills, attitude on diversity, and attitude on being kind-to-each-other. Independent problem-solving skills were associated with expressive skills through the arts, integrating arts to life, attitude on diversity, and class learning skills. In the post data, independent problem-solving skills were further related to anti-drug, alcohol, and smoking attitude, and art skills. Members expressed that AmeriCorps ArtsUSF experience provided a life-changing impact on them. Seeing the effects of their input on other, they realized that one way of achieving the American dream was by helping others. Conclusion: The program gave a sense of pride and ownership to the underserved communities, and the experience gave the artist-members the confidence and self-esteem necessary to pursue their own life’s goals. Novelty: Federally funded, community-wide supported program with novel program and curriculum. Improvement: The initial phase could be better organized and more affective narratives could be added in the survey instrument.


Community Arts Program; Americorps Service Program; Integrated Arts Program; Underserved Children; Artist-Member Development; Arts Skills and Attitude on Diversity and Community; Being Nice-To-Each-Other; Self Image.


National Endowment for the Arts Report (1988). Toward Civilization: a Report on art Education. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts.

Mahlmann, J. J. (1994). National Standards for Arts Education: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able To Do in the Arts. Music Educators National Conference Publications Sales, 1806 Robert Fulton Dr., Reston, VA 22091. Available online: https://www2.ed.gov/pubs/ArtsStandards.html (accessed on 18 March 2020).

Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ. Learning, 24(6), 49-50.

Liao, T. J. (2009). Art Action Programs That Establish Community Cultural Image: Application of “Action Learning” to Art Curriculum Programs in Liberal Education In Universities. Jiaoyu Kexue Yanjiu Qikan, 54(2), 163. doi: 10.3966/2073753X2009065402007. Published in Taiwan.

Elliott, L., & Clancy, S. (2017). Ripples of Learning: A Culturally Inclusive Community Integrated Art Education Program. Art Education, 70(6), 20–27. doi:10.1080/00043125.2017.1361766.

McKeown, E., Weir, H., Berridge, E.-J., Ellis, L., & Kyratsis, Y. (2016). Art engagement and mental health: experiences of service users of a community-based arts programme at Tate Modern, London. Public Health, 130, 29–35. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2015.09.009.

Kelly, J. D., Frankfurter, R., Lurton, G., Conteh, S., Empson, S. F., Daboh, F., … Barrie, M. B. (2018). Evaluation of a community-based ART programme after tapering home visits in rural Sierra Leone: a 24-month retrospective study. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, 15(1), 138–145. doi:10.1080/17290376.2018.1527244.

Richerson, J., Pendleton, A., & Davis, D. W. (2016). A Community Arts-Based Parent Program. Clinical Pediatrics, 56(12), 1135–1141. doi:10.1177/0009922816678819.

Wright, R., John, L., Alaggia, R., Duku, E., & Morton, T. (2019). Do Community Arts Programs Promote Positive Youth Development? Critical Social Work, 9(1). doi:10.22329/csw.v9i1.5763.

Wright, R., Alaggia, R., & Krygsman, A. (2014). Five-year follow-up study of the qualitative experiences of youth in an afterschool arts program in low-income communities. Journal of Social Service Research, 40(2), 137-146.

Cole, R., Gordon, B., Kayser, A., & Caruccio, J. (2017). Creating Artists and Citizens: Teaching Community through an Arts-Based Mentoring Program. Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, 27(1), 77-86.

Ngo, B., Lewis, C., & Maloney Leaf, B. (2017). Fostering Sociopolitical Consciousness With Minoritized Youth: Insights From Community-Based Arts Programs. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 358–380. doi:10.3102/0091732x17690122.

The Consortium of National Arts Education Associations: AATE, MENC, NAEA, NDEO (2002). Authentic Connections: Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts.

AmeriCorps Brochure 2019_WebVersion. Available online: https://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ AmeriCorps%20Brochure%202019_WebVersion.pdf.

AmeriCorps ArtsUSF. (1998) Integrated Arts for Boys and Girls. Tampa, Florida: Kinkos Copies, Inc.

Lee, Sang-Hie, (1998) AmeriCorps ArtsUSF Assessment Instrument Getting Things Done (AAGTD).

McGinnis, Ellen and Arnold P. Goldstein with Robert P. Sprafkin & N.Jane Gershaw, (1984) Skill-Streaming the Elementary School Child: A Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills. Champaign, Illinois: Research Press Company.

Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G., (1995) Natural Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1984). Qualitative data analysis: A sourcebook of new methods. In Qualitative data analysis: a sourcebook of new methods. Sage publications.

Creswell, J.W., Goodchild, L.F., and Turner, P.P., (1996) Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Epistemology, History, and Design. In John C. Smart (ed): Higher Education Handbook of Theory and Research, Volume XI. New York: Agathon Press, pp.90-136.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/SciMedJ-2020-0203-4


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Sang-Hie Lee