Community Arts and the Art of Community

Fall 2020
Evening and Weekend
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 25
8 Credits per quarter
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How do music and the literary arts (reading, writing, editing, and performing words) help create and sustain communities? We'll look to the greater Olympia area and beyond for examples and inspiration, while we consider the many contributions of community-based arts groups through a sociological lens. 

Our inquiry will revolve around two major centers of interest: shape-note singing, a unique U.S. musical form from the 1800s; and words in action - through community book clubs, writer's groups, theatre, local newspapers, and author readings. Part of our work will be to discover how groups and organizations of writers, readers, and singers are responding to the current pandemic.

Guests representing a wide range of arts events and organizations, including music ensembles, board game groups, visual and craft art programs, and community theatre, will bring their expertise and experiences to class sessions. If safety precautions as outlined by Governor Inslee permit, program participants also will have the option to participate in face-to-face arts events.

In individual research projects, students will have the choice of in depth study of a community-based arts group they identify, or of posing and exploring a community arts-related question. Faculty will offer instruction in interviewing and notetaking strategies, research techniques, and expository writing - especially the crafting of clear, accurate, and meaningful communication in a community journalism format.

Program participants will have opportunity to develop the habits of mind of analytic, creative, and resilient thinkers, observers, and writers.


To successfully participate in this program, students will need a reliable internet device (a computer is best, rather than a phone or tablet) and reliable internet access. Access to a printer is desirable but not required. Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 7 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Zoom and Canvas. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.


Fall 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (8): 10135

Academic details

Preparatory For

education, music, literary arts, journalism

Fields of Study
Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Evening and Weekend
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting