Aesthetics and Efficacy: An Evaluative Framework for ‘Arts for Change’

Projects at the intersection of artistic creation and civic engagement, community development, and social justice, challenge the conventional terms by which the arts are described and assessed. A common language and set of evaluative tools to meet this challenge can inspire deeper communication and fuller comprehension by critics and funders and more profound appreciation of the rigor required for such ‘Arts for Change’ work. Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, has convened artists and their allies to develop a framework of aesthetic attributes designed to enhance understanding and evaluation of Arts for Change. Driven by the conviction that artists can and should self-determine the criteria by which their work is evaluated, the framework may be used in a variety of applications by artists, funding organizations, evaluators, students, educators, critics, presenters, programmers, curators, and audiences. This interactive session will introduce the framework and bring its attributes to life.


Pam Korza co-directs Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts that inspires, informs, promotes, and connects arts and culture as potent contributors to community, civic, and social change. She has written and edited several titles including Critical Perspectives: Writings on Art & Civic Dialogue, and has spoken about arts and civic engagement across the country and in China and South Korea. Pam is co-chair of the Assessing Practices in Public Scholarship research group for Imagining America (IA), a consortium of colleges and universities that advances public scholarship in the humanities, arts, and design and was a two-term member of IA’s National Advisory Board.


Jess Solomon is an organization development practitioner leveraging the power of the arts to build capacity and resiliency in the social justice ecosystem. Jess leads Art in Praxis, a consultancy and laboratory utilizing systems theory, lessons from the field, and creative methodologies to support changemakers in creatively adapting, prioritizing and scaling their work for greater impact.




Korza and Solomon

Pam Korza

Writer; Consultant; Co-director of Animating Democracy at Americans for the Arts

Amherst, USA


Jess Solomon

Executive Director, Art in Praxis

Baltimore, USA