Thriving communities often have their own cultural flavor built around a vibrant art scene, including theatres, galleries, museums, and performance halls.  Not only do these venues provide "something to do" for citizens and visitors of all ages, they contribute valuable economic dollars and increase the positive reputation of the area.

For example, the David Owsley Museum of Art on Ball State's campus is a world class museum that is steward to many works of art in east-central Indiana.  The museum serves over 30,000 visitors a year, many of them school children from neighboring counties.

Arts Integration at Ball State

Ball State's College of Fine Arts provides students with an immersive learning opportunities within the arts.  Past projects include:

Circus in Winter—Students adapted a Hoosier author's novel to produce an original musical that ran in New York City and earned outstanding honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Prism Project—Through the performing arts, students help special needs children explore and develop social skills.  Involved partners include the School of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance, Interlock: The East Central Indiana Autism Society of America, and Sibshops.

Art 601

Second Harvest Mural—Graduate students in the Department of Art created a mural and sculpture for Second Harvest Food Bank of Muncie.  Arts education professor Anita Powell lead the Art 601 immersive learning graduate course. 

Photo courtesy of Anita Powell.

Arts Research at Ball State

The Center for Business and Economic Research has analyzed the vital role of the arts in the community.

cover culturaltourism Indiana Artisan Development      
Cultural Tourism in Indiana:
The Impact and Clustering
of the Arts and Creative Sectors
in This Recession
Indiana Artisan

Literature Review

Many studies focus on the complexities of (1) building a successful arts district, (2) organizing artists for networking and business development, and/or (3) measuring the economic contributions of the arts to the community.  A literature review (PDF) by Lauren Fosnight summarizes the general direction of these arts study findings.

Articles, Studies, and Media on Arts Integration

The arts integration knowledge team compiled a detailed spreadsheet (Excel, last update 07/15/13) of more than 50 articles, studies, and media about arts integration.  This list is meant to be a reference for those interested in community improvement.  Each entry includes the title, the organization or author, the year of publication, a brief description of the contents, and a source URL.

Presentation on Arts Integration Research Findings

Lauren Fosnight presented her findings, "Creating and Maintaining Community and Government Partnerships with Artists: Benefits and Procedures", at the inaugural Primacy of Place Conference, held September 20, 2013, in downtown Indianapolis.  A PDF of the presentation is available.

Expert Contacts

Arts Integration Knowledge Team

Faculty and Staff


  • Lauren Fosnight, 2012-2013 undergraduate researcher, Center for Business and Economic Research

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