As engagement in the arts for positive impact towards civic engagement and social justice continues to trend up, community building around organizations and practitioners working in social practice becomes increasingly important. So ArtsBlog reached out to Nicole Dowd, Program Manager of Halcyon Arts Lab — a newly launched residency and incubator program for artists working in social justice in Washington, DC — to learn insights gained from the first full year of the program.

ARTSBLOG: What exactly is an art and social justice incubator?

NICOLE DOWD: Halcyon Arts Lab is a residency program for emerging artists, across all disciplines, working on issues of social justice and civic engagement. Through the program they hone an artistic practice in engagement and impact while also connecting with change-makers and influencers in their particular practice area. We offer them nine months of studio space, accommodation, funding, mentorship, and access, during which they have the freedom to research, explore, and connect with individuals and organizations in DC working on similar topical issues such as education reform, mass incarceration, race and xenophobia, censorship and violence, and women’s equality.

ARTSBLOG: What are some of the goals in community impact that some of the Halcyon artists are working towards?

ND: It’s been really incredible because all the artists are working in such diverse practice areas. Sheldon Scott, a local artist with an impressive track record here in DC, has been working with educators to develop an open source curriculum to help teachers deal with bias in early childhood classrooms. This model, while developed locally, will then be made available and activated in classrooms across the United States.

Read the full article about Halcyon Arts Lab at Americans for the Arts.