The arts and civic participation : a case study of Marfa, Texas

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Hart, Alison, 1976-

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A growing body of research suggests that people who participate in the arts are significantly more likely to be involved in civic life. Marfa, a small and remote town in far West Texas, hosts an unusually robust community of artists, and is uniquely suited to examine the relationship between the arts and civic participation. Using evidence from conversations with Marfa citizens, formal survey results and an analysis of social capital and arts literature, this report argues that the arts community in Marfa, Texas positively affects some aspects of local civic health and creates opportunities for even greater civic enhancement. In a national landscape of scarce funding for the arts, this report provides artists and arts leaders ways to articulate their value in the realm of civic participation and provides Marfa residents a new way to understand the function of the arts in their town.