California State University, Long Beach: Sustainability
The B-Word Project was hugely successful in raising awareness of the Carpenter Center on the CSULB campus. Our Provost, former Dean of the College of the Arts, Donald Para continues to encourage the Carpenter Center to serve the academic elements of campus.
From the earliest days of the B-Word Project, we tried to build a sustainable model for interdisciplinary projects. All the evaluation activities, all the committee meetings, all the classroom visits, were designed to instill in faculty the idea that the Carpenter Center was “open for business” and interested in working with them. Since the directive to accomplish this originated with the Dean of the College of the Arts, and he was promoted to Provost when the Creative Campus award was announced, we surmised this was a realistic endeavor.
To sustain the relationships created by the B-Word Project, we have retained the original B-Word Project Steering Committee, now called the Campus Connections Advisory Committee, to work with the Carpenter Center to match faculty and departments with the touring artists scheduled to appear each season. Campus Connections is now a formalized facet of the Carpenter Center’s educational program, alongside the 14-year-old Classroom Connections (for elementary schools) and the new Community Connections, also born of the B-Word Project. The Committee shares information on Carpenter Center season artists with their colleagues to offer master classes, workshops, panel discussions, etc., whenever possible. The Committee also brings suggestions for future artists back to the Carpenter Center- keeping the information flowing both ways – to increase the opportunities for students to work directly with artists.
In addition to working with artists booked for the Carpenter Center season, Campus Connections is also bringing artists to campus specifically for classroom interaction. The Carpenter Center applied for support of this initiative through the university’s Instructionally-Related Activities Fund, and has received funding for events for the 13-14 academic year.
The Campus Connections Advisory Committee also plans to implement large-scale projects, like the B-Word Project, and is working to secure funding for these future endeavors.
To implement Classroom Connections, Campus Connections and Community Connections (offered under the new title for our arts education program, Arts for Life), the Carpenter Center is recruiting a full-time, benefitted arts education coordinator. This person will report directly to the executive director and will oversee all aspects of these programs, including sustaining on-campus relationships, interfacing with Carpenter Center staff to accomplish programs, and helping to fundraise for future programs. We plan to have this new staff member on board in April of 2013.
The B-Word Project website is still available. Once Arts for Life becomes established, we will fold the content from the B-Word Project into that website, to preserve all the information it contains.
The B-Word Project has changed the way the Carpenter Performing Arts Center operates. Envisioning, creating, and conducting this project has helped the Carpenter Center fulfill our Dean (now Provost’s) directive and has defined the Carpenter Center as an active agent on campus. The relationships and activities forged in the B-Word have become institutionalized, to the immense benefit of the theatre, and of the entire campus. The banners will be taken down, but the impetus for interdisciplinary learning using the performing arts, will continue.