The Socially Engaged Artist and the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS)

Mission Statement

One week after 9/11, the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS), which is housed in the Art Therapy program, was created by Michael A. Franklin PhD, ATR-BC.  The overall goal of this long term, curriculum-driven project, is to cultivate the socially engaged art therapist. During a studio practicum in the first year, students learn how to design, create and finance a community-based studio.

The guiding vision behind the NCAS project is to provide a space for diverse groups to gather and create art together. Equal access for our studio members is stressed, particularly people who are marginalized and unlikely to have access to the humanizing practice of engaging in artistic behavior in community. Respect for cultural, ethnic, gender, and spiritual diversity is a founding principal of the NCAS. Unity in diversity, the birthright to pursue creative expression, and the capacity of visual art to contain and communicate the full range of human experiences comprise the essence of our mission and focus.

As of 2013:

  • Estimated total 4800+ participant visits
  • Estimated Total 600+ sessions
  • 190+ mentors trained

See:  Franklin, M.; Rothaus, M.; Schpock, K. (2005). "Unity in diversity: Communal pluralism in the art studio and the classroom." In Kaplan, F. (Ed.), Art therapy and social action: Treating the world's wounds. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

In addition to serving the Boulder public, Naropa graduate students will have an opportunity to define, manifest and engage in a new paradigm for community-based service learning and art therapy education.

Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I)

In January of 2011, a faculty member and 2 art therapy graduate students at the Naropa University began to entertain the idea of taking art therapy to work with social justice organizations abroad.  In a matter of a few months these three organized a team of passionate art therapy students, created a sound fundraising plan and joined in partnership with Transitions Global, a non-profit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that works to support and empower survivors of sex trafficking and Anjali House in Siem Reap that provides education, health care, food and clean drinking water to impoverished children needing support.  Naropa Community Art Studio – International was born! Learn more