Close to 100 people have gathered at the Santa Cruz MAH Museum around the theme “social impact assessment.” I signed up to attend because I live in the Santa Cruz area, enjoy museums and wanted to learn more about the ways that museum outreach and projects are assessed. There are people here from all over the world and U.S. Day one began with us being divided into 20 groups of 4 and then choosing a location around Santa Cruz to research and assess for social impact. This part was lots of fun because our group had to decide which location we wanted and then had to strategize how to select and steal what we wanted from other groups (the list of research locations are listed below). Many of the groups will be testing out their methodologies tonight during the Free First Friday activities. Anyone near Santa Cruz should come to the free museum events, which happens from 5:30-9:00 tonight and celebrates the opening of a new exhibit entitled “Poets, Symbols and Songs.”
The group I was randomly assigned to includes team members from Detroit, New Orleans and Orinda, Ca. We will be conducting our research this evening at the museum as well. We have spent the last two days identifying a research question, hypothesis and methodology about our location. In many ways, I felt like I was back in my doctoral courses and needing to define my research question, hypothesis and methodology, except this time, our group of four had to agree on each process and then convince our counselor that it fit the parameters. It continues to be a wonderful action research process. In each of the processes I continue to think about the range of ways the different social impact has been assessed and how some of these ideas could be applied to schools. With all of that behind us, we look forward to executing our plan today and making our observations this evening. Join us tonight (Aug. 1) at the Santa Cruz MAH.
Here were some of the “real” museum projects with assessments that were shared during the “lightning round” yesterday.
- Brooklyn mural projects cause positive effect on attitude and reduces crime
- Lots of access points bring people to the Arkansas Crystal Bridges Museum.
- Mural arts program in Philadelphia engage communities.
- Grants for arts impact the community in Tucson, Az.
- A Study of Arts Impact in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Here are the range of Santa Cruz locations being examined for social impact:
- Its Beach – a dog beach popular with off-leash advocates
- Steamer Lane – At sunrise and sunset, Steamer Lane and the nearby Lighthouse field are gathering places for surfers, yoga-ers, hula hoopers, and people who want to commune with the ocean
- Santa Cruz Boardwalk – a traditional beach boardwalk with rides, games, junk food, and tens of thousands of participants from the region
- Boardwalk – free Friday night concerts at 6:30 and 8:30, featuring heavy metal band Y&T
- Civic Auditorium – The Cabrillo Music Festival opening concert is at 8pm. The Cabrillo Festival features new & contemporary classical music for a primarily well-heeled, older crowd.
- Louden Nelson Community Center – Featuring a new exhibition, Ageless Art, of art by adults in residential care. Reception with the elder artists 2-4pm
- Tannery Art Center – The Tannery is a live/work subsidized housing campus for artists and art organizations. Several Tannery studios and galleries are open to the public with art openings from 6-9pm as part of First Friday.
- Beach Flats Community Center – The Community Center in this lmajority low-income, Latino community is hosting an end of summer camp barbecue for families from 2-4:30. AMAH staff member who worked with the Community Center (Stacey Garcia) will be there.
- MAH First Friday activities, 1st Floor – On the MAH’s ground floor, there is live music, an intergenerational art activity, and a history talk as part of the First Friday programming from 5-9pm
- MAH, 2nd/3rd Floor – On the MAH’s upper floors, there are exhibitions and a sculpture garden.
- Abbott Square – this plaza between the MAH and downtown is being redeveloped as a community gathering place in the coming year
- Resource Center for Nonviolence – The RCNV is hosting an Indigenous Solidarity film screening and fundraising event at 6:30pm
- street performers along Pacific Avenue – Despite increasing City restrictions on location and square footage, street artists continue to perform downtown
- San Lorenzo river levee – The river levee is a beautiful pedestrian/bike path, but it is also seen as a dangerous home for drug activity and other forms of deviance.
- San Lorenzo park – A family-oriented playground and park close to the urban core, the river levee, government center, and low-income housing
- Downtown cinemas – There are four movie theaters in a small area–Regal, River Street, Nickelodeon, Del Mar–all of which have a different culture and clientele.
- Downtown food and retail participating in First Friday – Dozens of restaurants, bars, and stores host art exhibitions as part of First Friday, with openings from 6-9pm.
- Subrosa Cafe – an anarchist community space flanked by bike and craft-related community spaces.
- Kuumbwa Jazz Center – The Kuumbwa is hosting a tribute to Jerry Garcia concert at 8pm.
- City Hall, County Building, police station – all of these government buildings are in the downtown core