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Arts-based community developer, author William Cleveland to speak at VPA convocation May 15

May 06, 2010

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

William Cleveland, director of the Center for the Study of Art and Community (CSA&C) on Bainbridge Island, Wash., will deliver the keynote address at the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts’ convocation ceremony on Saturday, May 15, at 3 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

clevelandCreated in 1991, the CSA&C promotes the idea that human creativity is both a vastly underutilized natural resource and essential to the development of caring and capable communities. The center works across all community sectors—education, human services, public safety, faith and community development—to integrate the arts into community life.

Through his work with the center, Cleveland has learned from and written about hundreds of artists and their community partners throughout the world. Since the mid-1990s, he has been studying and writing about community arts efforts in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. Many of these stories involve artists working in communities confronting major political and social upheaval. These experiences led him on an eight-year global journey that eventually produced “Art and Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines” (New Village Press, 2008).

Cleveland’s past projects include work with the California Department of Corrections. In 1981, in partnership with the William James Association and UCLA Artsreach, he helped make the Arts-In-Corrections Program the largest arts residency program in the country, with a faculty of hundreds of artists and 20,000 participants. He also studied and documented the stories of artists working in community settings across the country, which culminated in “Art in Other Places: Artists at Work in America’s Community and Social Institutions” (Praeger, 1992). In 1989, he headed the California State Summer School for the Arts—now called InnerSpark—which is dedicated to the training of promising young teen artists and located at the California Institute of the Arts.

For more information on the CSA&C, visit

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