The Arts and Community

An interdisciplinary arts conference to explore the relationships of the arts and community

October 16-18, 2008 
Welcome to our conference archive. The conference was fantastic, with great presentations, discussion and a couple of great performances. The conference "schedule" page (link above) has been updates with full texts of many talks and podcasts of presentations. Below are some photographs from the conference. Use the links above to find out more information on presenters and their topics, registration, local information, and the schedule.

Conference Topic

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to make space for the multi-layered discussions about the relationships between the arts and community. Questions to be discussed include: How do the arts (music, visual art, film, theatre, dance, etc.) impact community? How do they create community? Should community be a goal of art, or is it merely a byproduct? How have the arts been used to close communities (nations, people groups, religions) off from other people through identity creation? How have the arts been used to open people up to others? How have artistic communities been changed by globalism and technology? What public is “public art” for? How have economic factors changed the dynamics between art and community? Should artistic practice have an ethical responsibility to a community?
For more on the conference topic, follow this link to our archived call for papers.


Keynote Speakers : Presentation topics and Biographies

Christos Hatzis

Title: The Crucible of Contemporary Music: Community Building Through Art Music

Abstract: Composer Christos Hatzis’ commitment to social change through music has been long-standing. Earlier works (and writings about these works) approach musical structure as a metaphor for social and psychological processes that can be understood instinctively by listeners with no particular musical training or other educational prerequisites. His recent work aims to take art music out of its traditional habitat of social, economic and educational privilege and actively engage the underprivileged members of our society. In the process, classical music taboos are discarded, perceptions of social legitimacy are reevaluated and borders are crossed. Hatzis’ musical activism stems from his own religious faith and his view of the artist’s social role as an imperfect “imitator of Christ”.

Bio: With an unusually large number of presentations of his music in Canada, USA, Europe, and elsewhere every year, a continuous stream of commissions by an international list of soloists and ensembles and several recording projects by major and independent labels, 2008 and 2006 Juno Award winner "Christos Hatzis is currently enjoying a growing international reputation as one of the most important composers writing today" (CBC Records). A professor of composition at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Christos Hatzis is the recipient of several national and international distinctions such as the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award, the Prix Italia Special Prize, the Prix Bohemia Radio, the Jules Léger Prize for chamber music and the New Pioneer Award as well as four Juno Award nominations (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008) in addition to his 2008 and 2006 Juno Awards in the “Classical Composition of the Year” category. Compact disc recordings of his works are available on EMI Classics (AWAKENING of his string quartets with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Sony Classical in Greece, Naxos, Marquis, CBC and Centrediscs labels in Canada, Cherry Red Records in the United Kingdom and Consipio in Japan with two very recent All-Hatzis releases: DANCING IN THE LIGHT with violist Rivka Golani, percussionist Beverley Johnston and oboist Suzanne Lemieux as soloists and Symphony Nova Scotia on CBC Records, and CONSTANTINOPLE with the Gryphon Trio and singers Patricia O’ Callaghan and Maryem Tollar on Analekta. Recordings of Christos Hatzis’ music are becoming evermore in demand. In just a few months of circulation, AWAKENING climbed to the top position of the best selling CD list in the chamber music category of the popular online CD retailer during the August - October 2005 period and was selected as No. 15 in the Best of 2005 international list of classical CDs by (No. 3 in the Chamber Music category). Similarly, CONSTANTINOPLE has entered a number of classical music charts. His music excerpts had been visited by over 200,000 listeners in less than two months in the summer of 08 and draws still an unusually high number of listeners.

Hatzis' music is inspired by early Christian spirituality, his own Byzantine music heritage, world cultures and various non-classical music genres such as jazz, pop and world musics. He is an advocate of borderless culture and many of his most recent works bridge the gap between classical music and today’s popular music idioms, His compositions are structurally complex while sonically accessible. He has created several works inspired by the music of the Inuit, Canada's arctic inhabitants, and his Inuit-inspired works, particularly the award winning radio documentary Footprints in New Snow, have promoted Inuit culture around the globe. His strongest inspiration is his own religious faith, and his religious works have been hailed by critics and audiences alike as contemporary masterpieces. In addition to composing and teaching, Hatzis has written extensively about composition and contemporary music. His writings have been published on Interface, Organized Sound and Harmony, and are increasingly translated into other languages. Most of Hatzis' writings and other information about the composer are posted at

Chris Anderson

Title: Art Overcome by Grace: New Hope for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful Community

Abstract: New York visual artist Chris Anderson, who has worked extensively in creative and leadership capacities in numerous arts communities here and abroad, attempts to reinvigorate our vision for genuine community at a time when for many the term has lost its significance. Anderson's paintings explore the concept of home and neighborhood within a changing rural, suburban, and urban landscape. She concludes that we are inveterate nesters and escapists, concurrently building and avoiding a place of permanence in life. Community, like home, is often a place within which one seeks to find sanctuary and from which one equally hopes to escape. Increasing problems of physical and spiritual homelessness, social displacement, and domestic alienation—not to mention the proliferation of building without architecture, development without environmental planning, and the thinning of our natural reserves and rural cultural fabric—have complicated our attempts to build genuine and lasting communal relationships. Anderson offers hope for the formation of true community, drawing from her painting installations, "Family Stories," based on three generations of a family life to Josef Alber's seminal work, The Interaction of Color; from Ernst Käsemann's concept of "corporeality in the mode of belongingness and participation" to Dorothy Martyn's "corporate nature of the invasive power of God's grace"; and from the communal studio experiment, "Till We Have Faces Revisited," to its success in creating one of this generation's most exciting collaborative works of public art.

Bio: For over a decade, the art of painter Chris Anderson has addressed the theme of American cultural traditions and life in the contemporary home and neighborhood. Anderson studied visual art in Italy, at the Tyler School of Art in Rome, in New York at the Pratt Institute of Art, and in California, at Scripps College (BA, 1971) and the Claremont Graduate University (MFA, 1973).

The artist has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including fellowship grants from The National Endowment for the Arts (Painting), New York Foundation for the Arts (Painting), Artists Space (Artist's Grant), Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation (Painting), New York State Council on the Arts (CAPS Grant), and many research and scholarship awards, including several from The City University of New York and The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright). From 1996 to 2000, Anderson lived and worked as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Arts in Berlin.

She has lectured as a guest artist for numerous art institutions, including the Columbia University Graduate Department of Art, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of New Mexico Albuquerque, Smith College, University of Notre Dame (Pew Charitable Trust/CIVA Graduate Symposium), Fine Arts Academy of Nuremberg, Germany — and she has taught studio art on the faculties of Skidmore College, The University of Maryland, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute of Art Manhattan, Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and Gordon College in Orvieto, Italy, among others.

The work of Chris Anderson has been shown extensively here and abroad and may be found in over fifty public and corporate collections. A selective list of exhibitions would include the following: The Art Institute of Chicago; Kebble-Villa Museum, Germany; American Embassy, Moscow; Bilbao International Exhibition Centre, Spain; Muscarelle Museum of Art; Butler Institute; The Washington Gallery; Exit Art; Artists Space; The Society of the Four Arts of Palm Beach; Laguna Beach Museum; and The Rockefeller Arts Center; and Istitito San Lodovico in Palazzo Ranieri, Orvieto, Italy.

Chris now lives in Lower Manhattan and works in her studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City's Garment District.