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June 26, 2017

“Does Art Really Make Us Better Citizens?”

The arts are often derided as an elite pastime outside the interests of regular people. But there are also countless examples of how even the smallest arts events can create durable connections within a community. Research suggests that if you attend arts events, you’re more likely to engage in politics, to know your neighbors, and to engage in a spiritual practice. What is the nature of the relationship between embracing the arts and participating in the life of a community? When and under what circumstances do the arts bind people and places together—and when do they divide us? And what do we need from the arts at a moment when many people are more isolated, and our civic life more polarized? Middle East Institute Arts & Culture Program director Lyne Sneige, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Lerma Arts and Humanities chair Luz María Sánchez, global arts consultant Gail Dexter Lord, and cultural historian and chair of Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Lynne Conner examine how having the arts in our lives can draw us closer to our own societies.

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