University Teaches Art Students How To Be Activists Against ‘Racial Injustice,’ ‘Climate Change’

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A minor at the University of Maryland (UMD) teaches art students how to incorporate topics including social justice and climate change through their work.

The Creative Placemaking minor was first offered during the fall 2022 semester and is part of UMD’s Arts for All initiative as a collaboration between the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the College of Arts and Humanities, its website reads. Students learn to “advance a community’s vision and nurture vibrant, socially responsive and just places” through art. (RELATED: University Course Trains Future Teachers To Be Political Activists, Advance ‘Equity’)

“Students in this interdisciplinary minor learn how artists and designers can play a vital role in advancing public dialogue, exploring our shared humanity and addressing some of our major challenges, whether it be sparking conversations about racial injustice, inequitable development, climate change or celebrating the diverse communities and cultures around us,” the description reads.

The minor offers two tracks, according to the website. One track focuses on architecture and spatial practice while the other focuses on visual art.

Students will work with local artists and experts on projects during the program.

Students must complete 15 credits to complete the minor and can select electives that focus on social justice and climate change. Courses students can take include “Public Policy and the Black Community,” “U.S. Latinx Literature and Culture,” “Changing Climate, Changing Cultures” and “Inequality: Determinants and Policy Remedies,” according to the course catalog.

Another offered course, “Civil Discourse or Urban Riot: Why Cities Don’t (Often) Explode,” is “an examination of the mechanisms that promote peaceful co-existence in urban societies and a discussion of how and why city streets sometimes become violent.”

The program accepts up to 20 undergraduate students from architecture and studio art programs each year, according to its application website.

“Coined by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2010, ‘creative placemaking’ is the collaboration of artists and designers with local residents and stakeholders to address community challenges and opportunities,” the minor’s media team told the College Fix. “Navigating the process with students allows them to practice the essential relationship-building, dialogue and collaborative decision-making involved in addressing a community’s needs and aspirations.”

The Creative Placemaking minor team did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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