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Conversations in clay: Engaging community through a socially engaged public art project

Kira Hegeman


Throughout the course of a given day individuals may weave in and out of shared spaces, passing one another on the trails of a public park or across the stones of a city square, often anonymously, perhaps with a fleeting smile or nod.  Creative placemaking, the practice of creating venues that enable community members to express their relationships with one another as well as the physical environment (Webb, 2014), offers a chance to re-envision the community-building capacity of such public spaces. In this paper I describe the process of designing and facilitating a socially engaged public art project for Art on the Atlanta Beltline, a temporary, annual public art festival in Atlanta, Georgia. Conceived as both an art installation and a site for informal art education, this project illustrates the potential for art making in public spaces to invite conversation and encourage empathic interaction between diverse community members.  


Creative Placemaking; Public Art; Socially Engaged Art; Conversation; Community; Clay; Participation

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Art on the Atlanta Beltline. (2015, September 23). Retrieved from

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