Building Community Through the Arts

Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA) brings group creation in drama and dance into the non-arts high school classroom. The two-week artist residency program engages entire high school or middle school classes – usually but not always English classes – in the development of an original dance or theater piece that expresses the group’s self-identified social issues and/or themes drawn from class curriculum. At a culminating regional performance “conference,” which is open to the public, the participating classes and schools gather to perform for each other and reflect on the experience. Initiated in response to the tragedy at Columbine more than a decade ago, the program’s collaborative process helps to break down social barriers among students even as its classroom setting directly impacts the atmosphere for learning.