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Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

Public Humanities and Arts Program

The Public Humanities and Arts (PHA) program is a University of Dayton program focused on public-facing community engagement through the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. (below photo courtesy of Misty Thomas-Trout, Atlas of Dayton: A City in Progress)

Public Humanities and Arts (PHA) program, 2024

What are Public Humanities and Arts at UD?

The Public Humanities and Arts program is the intentional collaboration of University of Dayton faculty, staff and students with diverse communities and public-facing organizations to engage, strengthen, and support shared goals in the humanities and the arts for the Common Good. This work includes, but isn’t limited to:

  1. Engaged Public Programming: This work includes public programming in which the primary objective is not to transfer knowledge but to cultivate an exchange between facilitators and participants concerning matters of shared interest in the humanities and arts;
  2. Engaged Research: Often referred to as community-based, participatory, or action research and includes research initiatives in which higher education faculty and students partner with community members in the co-production of creation of knowledge, activities, performance, and practice;
  3. Engaged Teaching: This includes higher education instruction involving engaged research, teaching, and public programming, where engaged teaching projects integrate community engagement within the curriculum;
  4. Collaboration with Public-Facing Organizations on Outreach: Partnering with community organizations to share scholarly programming and media around the humanities and arts to a general audience; and
  5. The Infrastructure of Engagement: The university invests in research and institutional structures that support engaged scholarship and community-engaged activities.

Projects: Community Partners, Faculty and Students

Homegoing-NEA Big Read, 2024

National Endowment for the Arts BIG READ, 2024-2025

September 2024 through May 2025

For more information, visit the NEA Big Read Events and Program Activities Schedule

The Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton, in partnership with the Dayton Metro Library, the African American Visual Artists Guild (AAVAG), the Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Scripted in Black, YWCA, Daybreak Dayton, Gem City Market and more, has been selected to receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read grant for 2024-25. We are planning three-to-five events per month from September 2024 through May 2025, including several community-wide book reads and creative work, such as creative writing workshops, art exhibitions, a poetry contest, a public reading poetry showcase and a public lecture panel. Join us for our 2024 NEA Big Read Kick-Off celebration in the Forum at Dayton Metro Library (215 E. Third Street, Dayton) on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2024, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and our year-long programming celebrating Yaa Gyasi’s "Homegoing".

Bing, PHA, 2024

The Public Humanities and Arts Program in the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, in collaboration with The Dayton Foundation and the Dayton Development Coalition, are proud to host and celebrate recent works by Willis Bing Davis.

Willis Bing Davis Art Exhibition, "On the Shoulders of Ancestors:
Ceremony and Ritual"

Exhibition: Friday, Sept. 6-Friday, Dec. 6, 2024

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday

Visit the exhibition website

"This very special exhibit reflects the continual celebration of the Ancestral Spirit Dance series, as well as works that address social issues that impact people of color in America and beyond. I, as many, draw strength and inspiration from ancestors who continue to speak to us and through us. Even when I appear to be walking alone ... I am not. The spirit of the ancestors is never far away, providing comfort, vision and direction. The social commentary that is reflected in much of my artwork is my way of encouraging conversation, dialogue and a search for positive resolutions to some of the many problems impacting our daily lives. The Anti-Police Brutality series, the Colin Kaepernick/George Floyd Knee Cushion series and the Breonna Taylor series, serves not only as efforts of cultural memory, or a place of memorial, but also as a renewal of spirit and strength. I have come to understand and appreciate the fact that the arts cannot only reflect the various concepts of beauty, as seen in various cultures around the world, but the arts can also serve as agents of change for a world in search of a humane way to share the limited land, water and wealth called earth," Willis Bing Davis.

African American Visual Artists Guild, PHA, 2024

African American Visual Artists Guild Traveling Art Exhibit

Exhibition: March and April 2025

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday

Visit the exhibition website

The Public Humanities and Arts Program in the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community is proud to host the African American Visual Artists Guild Traveling Art Exhibition in their building (1401 S. Main Street, Dayton, Ohio, 45409) in March and April 2025. The African American Visual Artists Guild (AAVAG), of Dayton, was born out of the need to express visually the African American experience through a wide range of styles and subject matter using many diverse approaches and materials with a focus on communicating the artist's own spirituality.

Dunbar House, PHA, 2024

Paul Laurence Dunbar House

Visit the website

The Public Humanities and Arts Program is working with the National Parks Service and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park to promote new ways to activate the community space at the Dunbar House property. From funding a University of Dayton student to work as a summer intern at the House to working with University of Dayton faculty on a research project to meet the accessibility needs of the community when visiting the Dunbar House, the PHA program looks to continue to develop new ways of meeting community needs and preserving this important historical landmark in Dayton.

UD Faculty, Staff and Student PHA Projects

Please check back for more information.

Quick links for the Humanities and Arts at UD

This certificate program is designed to help prepare undergraduate students to develop innovative ways to work in the arts and, subsequently, to make connections between the arts and broader and more diverse segments of the community. Students will be guided to use their creative thinking skills to assist a variety of community organizations toward successful arts experiences. The program will provide opportunities to connect with community leaders and organizations through experiential learning that includes collaborative arts projects. 

The certificate may be completed with a minimum of 12 credit hours, including a required entry-level introductory course (MUS/VAR/THR 347 Introduction to Community Arts Engagement) and a concluding internship (MUS/VAR/THR 488 Internship in Community Arts Engagement), along with one arts elective and one non-arts elective of the student's choice from the lists below. Permission may be obtained to choose a graduate course elective in the Non-profit and Community Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

This certificate is open to students in all majors; multiple disciplinary course offerings, including two required seminars (the introductory one and the final internship) and six credit hours of electives.

Arts Electives: Music, Art and Design, Theatre, Non-Arts Electives

Required Courses

MUS/VAR/THR 347: Introduction to Community Arts Engagement (3 credits)

MUS/VAR/THR 488: Internship in Community Arts Engagement

(3-4 credits depending on placement)

Arts electives: (choose any one from the following list; 3 credits)

Music: 205 (Music, Technology, & Culture); 223 (introduction to Music Technology); 303 (Introduction to Musics of the World); 304 (The Practice of . American Music); 315 (Music, Gender and Sexuality); 327 (Music in Film); 352 (Understanding Sacred Music & Worship in the Local Church); 365 (Music in Society)

Art and Design: 250 (Diversity in Creative & Performing Arts); 350 (Art and Social Practice)

TDP courses: 250 (Diversity in Creative. & Performing Arts); 352 (Applied Theatre); 425 (Theatre Theory·& History)

Non-Arts electives: (Choose 1 course from the following list; 3 credits.)

Communication courses: CMM 330 (Media Writing); 443 (Screenwriting for Film & Television); 471 (Communication & Digital Literacy); CMM 327 (Film Marketing and Distribution)

English courses: English 368 (Introduction to Professional & Technical Writing);
369 (Writing in Organizations); 370 (Report & Proposal Writing); 375 (Writing for the WEB); 392 (Writing for Grants and Non-Profits)

Graduate Courses (Permission required)

MPA 561 (Non-Profit and Community Leadership)

MPA 564 (Overview of Grant Funding)

Note: Additional courses may be substituted with permission

Total Hours: 12-13

(some courses may be double counted for other degrees or programs)

Contact Us: For more information, please email Lauren Poor

Learn more

PHA, Community Arts Engagement, 2024

  • The goal of the Certificate Program in Community Arts Engagement is to create a collaborative environment in which students can work independently and together on community-based projects of their own design in a wide variety of settings.
  • In this Introductory course, students will learn to identify specific problems and/or needs in the community that can be addressed through creative solutions involving the arts in its many forms and iterations, including communication arts. 
  • Students will develop and design innovative ways to advocate for the arts and to bring the arts to more diverse segments of the community. Students will become creative thinkers who have the skills to make connections across disciplines and to bridge the gaps that exist between and among various constituencies.
  • The introductory seminar may be taken by itself or as the first step toward completion of the certificate. The course and the certificate are inter-disciplinary for students in TDP, A&D and Music. 
  • This is the first course in the 12 credit hours required to obtain the certificate. This course is open to students in all majors.
MUS/VAR/THR 347 Introduction to Community Arts Engagement. 3 Hours.

An interdisciplinary introduction to the fundamental principles, strategies and tools of community arts engagement and non-profit arts organization. Recommended for students with a background in any arts discipline, communication, English and/or business. Required as an entry-level course to the undergraduate Certificate in Community Arts Engagement.

The Community Arts Engagement internship is an important part of the Certificate Program in Community Arts Engagement, as it provides significant professional development to complete the certificate. The internship provides students with opportunities to apply classroom knowledge within a professional environment, work alongside arts professionals, explore career options, develop specific career skills, and become involved with arts advocacy and arts-related community service. Through internships, academic and pragmatic learning may enhance one another; their combination may yield a more valuable and better-integrated education than either might provide alone. The Community Arts Engagement internship is carefully monitored and evaluated for credit by the Certificate program's internship faculty advisor.

MUS/VAR/THR 488 Internship in Community Arts Engagement. 3-4 Hours.

Arts work experience in approved community organizations for students pursuing the undergraduate Certificate in Community Arts Engagement. Prerequisites: MUS 347 or VAR 347 or THR 347.


Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

1401 S. Main Street
Dayton, Ohio 45409