SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days


Arts participation can expand empathy and cognitive growth capacity while creating a social bond and communal meaning (McCarthy et al., 2004). As an art instructor for over twenty years, I have witnessed the bonds that can be created through collaborative art experiences. These bonds are nurtured from a space of equity and inclusion. Teaching a community-engaged art course can bring these qualities into the community, allowing university students to use their art skills in real-world applications to impact society through experiential learning art practices. Making art with others will enable us to help others build empathy and social bonds that can directly create the well-being of community members.

I created the First Responder Art Collaboration Training (FACT) to bring together first responders, persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and college students to build empathy and friendship with each other through an interactive art experience. In this case study, I will examine the FACT participants' experiences through pre-, post-surveys, and post-workshop interviews through the expansive learning lens of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) framework. Expansive learning happens in a community of learners, each with its own rules, procedures, and organization (Engeström, 2016). Incorporating the views and importance of each FACT participant will illustrate the importance of collaboration between the university and the community organizations and members to help address equity issues in our society.


Art and Design

Submission Type

in-person poster




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