LEAP instructor travels the globe and uses the arts to promote community engagement

Sandy Ceas, instructor in the LEAP Institute for the Arts program at CSU, frequently visits new cultures and leads art-based events in public to bring people together and build camaraderie.

“Connecting face-to-face is still highly relevant to healthy cultures, and the arts have a way of bringing people together without intimidation and can open door ways to relationships that can keep the spirit of community alive,” said Ceas.

In 2017, Ceas visited Olot, Spain where the Catalonians were actively protesting for independence. In a community that was facing political unrest, Ceas chose to construct a land art piece in the middle of town in a heavily trafficked walkway. With the help of local residents, mostly children, Ceas created the piece using found items in nature.

The goal was to communicate “the value of what is presently right in our midst, whether it be the beauty of nature or the beauty of your neighbor.”

Leaves and flowers decorated into a beautiful art piece in Olot, Spain
Finished art piece by Sandy Ceas in Olot, Spain. 

“People were amazed at the beauty and stopped to take pictures, ask questions, and talk amongst themselves, possibly speaking to neighbors they may have not spoken to in the past,” said Ceas. “Parents supported the children to participate and helped them to understand how tiny elements gathered together can create beauty, just like a community.”

This June, Ceas will take CSU students to Pune, India in a faculty-led program to engage with the community there in an arts-based event to foster “communitas” and use the arts as a means of communication for concerns in the local villages.

“I chose India because I believe it is one of the fastest growing and changing cultures in the world, especially since it is getting new attention from great world leaders today,” said Ceas. “The caste system that they claim is no longer in effect, yet felt by many who still reside there, is a powerful topic to research and observe as we all move forward in this world seeking equal human rights.”

All CSU students are welcome to register for the course, LEAP 482A International Arts Collaboration in India. Students will be introduced to the social, economic, cultural, and environmental influences of the arts in India and the role the arts play in community. While the impact of the arts will be a primary focus, many aspects of Indian culture will be experienced and witness for academic study.

Find more information about the program on the CSU Study Abroad website. Application deadline is Feb. 15, 2018.

International Arts Collaboration
in India

Program At-A-Glance

WHEN:  June 3 – 12, 2018 (online coursework will start 3 weeks before departure)

CREDITS: All committed students will be registered for LEAP 482A: International Arts Collaboration and the Community (3 credits) through CSU’s Division of Continuing Education.

PROGRAM LEADERS: Sandy Ceas, Instructor, International Social and Engagement Artist and Collaborator, Colorado State University and Constance DeVereaux, Director and Associate Professor, LEAP Institute for the Arts, Colorado State University.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: Minimum 2.5 GPA. Instructor Approval. Good disciplinary standing. Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Want more information? Attend the information session about the program Jan. 30, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. in LSC 304.