Community Orientation Study

The Community Orientation Action Research Team (COART) is a collective team of researchers from the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities at Arizona State University, the Equity Center at the University of Virginia and ASU’s School of Social Transformation. COART will provide research support during the first phase of The Wallace Foundation’s new five-year arts initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which was created as part of the foundation’s efforts to foster equitable improvements in the arts. The research and the initiative are guided by the question: “How can and do arts organizations of color facing strategic challenges leverage their experience and histories of community-orientation to increase their resilience, while sustaining their relevance?”

The role of the ASU-UVA COART team is to work with the 18 nonprofit organizations receiving funding, which represent a diverse range of artistic disciplines, geographic locations and communities served.

Participating organizations:

  • 1Hood Media (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Mich.)
  • BlackStar (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Chicago Sinfonietta (Chicago, Ill.)
  • EastSide Arts Alliance, Black Cultural Zone, and Artist As First Responder (Oakland, Calif.)
  • Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • PHILADANCO!The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Pillsbury House + Theatre (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (Manhattan and Bronx, N.Y.)
  • Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • Ragamala Dance Company (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Rebuild Foundation (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Self Help Graphics & Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)​
  • Theater Mu (Saint Paul, Minn.)
  • The Laundromat Project (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • The Union for Contemporary Art (Omaha, Neb.)

Who’s involved


Christina You-sun Park

Principal Investigator
Assistant Director, Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities, Arizona State University

Sherica Jones-Lewis

Co-Principal Investigator
Director, Community Engaged Research, Equity Center, University of Virginia

Mako Fitts Ward

Co-Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University


Jessica Harris

Senior Arts Programming Manager
University of Virginia

Hannah Grabowski

Graduate Research Assistant
Arizona State University

Anna Needham

CCVD Researcher; Theatre Artist / Indigenous Rights Advocate

Maria Pierre

Administrative Associate
Arizona State University

Advisory board

  • Chandra Crudup, Ph.D, Associate Dean, Inclusive Design for Equity and Access, Arizona State University
  • Chera Reid, Ph.D., co-Executive Director of the Center for Evaluation Innovation
  • Andrea Douglas, Ph.D., Executive Director, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
  • Gabriela Muñoz, MFA, Senior Project Manager, Arizona State University

Technical working group

  • Marlon M. Bailey, Professor of African and African American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Washington University in St Louis
  • Barbara Brown Wilson, Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture, University of Virginia
  • Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Professor Chicana/o Studies, University of California at Davis