Meet ELAN’s 2011/2012 Representative, Sara Bateman

Born in California, raised in Washington State, and living in numerous locations throughout the West Coast and Southwest during the past decade, the arts have always been an integral part of each environment I have settled in.

I received my B.A. in Liberal Arts (Photography) from The Evergreen State College, after which I split my time living between Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. During the seven years I spent in California, I served as the Photography Workshop Director for The Ansel Adams Gallery, which gave me a strong foundation in developing and administering arts education programming.

During this time, I stumbled across First Exposures, a youth arts mentoring program that would forever change and shape the path I am currently pursuing in the arts. In the three years that I served as a mentor for First Exposures, I worked alongside an amazing group of underserved youth, instructing students in the photographic arts and assisting with annual community-based projects and exhibitions. My time with the students of First Exposures led me to re-evaluate my path in the arts and pursue community-based work with a focus on civic engagement and social activism.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Animating Democracy program at Americans for the Arts. This program aids in fostering arts and cultural activity that encourages and enhances civic engagement and dialogue through research, support, publications, and professional development. Working on various projects including the Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative, which aims to map and highlight the spectrum of ways the arts are being activated to engage and make change, allowed me to expand and enrich my knowledge of the arts for change sector.

Currently, I am working on a Master’s degree in Arts Management, with a concentration in Community Arts, at the University of Oregon. This degree is allowing me to cultivate my interests in arts education, community development, civic engagement, and social practice art. My thesis research, which is in the beginning stages, will examine how organizations can properly evaluate programming that merges arts and social change objectives, which tend to still be examined as two separate fields. I will be specifically creating evaluation tools and measures for Critical Exposure, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that uses participatory photography methodologies with youth ages 12-18 for the purpose of civic engagement and social reform. After graduation, I plan to continue on this path by pursuing work amongst artists and arts organizations that strive to use art as a platform for social change.

I am thrilled to be part of the ELAN team again this year and look forward to engaging our student body and community through our arts events and professional development opportunities!