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Hidden arts of Claiborne Parish
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00013402/00001
 Material Information
Title: Hidden arts of Claiborne Parish
Physical Description: Project in lieu of thesis
Creator: Porter, Rhonda
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 2012
 Notes
Abstract: The motivation for this project has developed through the process of living in a community for over fifty years, yet discovering there are art forces at work within the community that have gone unnoticed to many who live and work here. Research shows that the injection of the arts can positively impact a community. Yet, we frequently overlook the creative and cultural arts found in small, rural communities as untapped sources for development. In this study, I conducted multiple case studies of the hidden arts found within one small rural community, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, and considered the factors that contributed to the creation of these arts and possible community connections that are made as a result of these art activities. This study utilized mini-case studies of selected artists in Claiborne Parish, done primarily through interviews and observations, and documented through blogging, a website, and a photo documentary of significant people, events, and sites discovered throughout this study. I have chronicled and shared ongoing observations in the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish blog, located at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.blogspot.com/. Community art resources discovered have been archived and annotated within my Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website, located at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.weebly.com/. My website also utilizes the process of photo documentary and online curating in the creation of an art gallery sharing selected works. I have also written and self-published a paper that shares my observations and findings. This paper is available both on my website and in the University of Florida repository of Art Education Capstone papers. Through this study, I attempted to discover the hidden arts found within Claiborne Parish, identify factors that contributed to these activities, and connections that resulted with the community. My research attempts to identify and describe creative forces found within the borders of this small community, and as an incentive to cultivate creative behaviors, generate communication, and inspire future creative activities in Claiborne Parish and elsewhere.
General Note: Art Education terminal project
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: AA00013402:00001

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1 HIDDEN ARTS OF CLAIBORNE PARISH By RHONDA PORTER A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA DECEMBER 2012

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 2 2012 Rhonda Porter

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 3 Acknowledgements This paper is dedicated to the artist that is hidden within each and every one of us.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 4

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 5 ABSTRACT OF CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS HIDDEN ARTS OF CLAIBORNE PARISH By Rhonda Porter December 2012 Chair: Elizabeth Del acruz Committee Member: Jodi Kushins Major: Art Education Abstract The motivation for this project has developed through the process of living in a community for over fifty years, yet discovering there are art forces at work within the community that ha ve gone unnoticed to many who live and work here. Research shows that the injection of the arts can positively impact a community. Yet, we frequently overlook the creative and cultural arts found in small, rural communities as untapped sources for develo pment. In this study, I conducted multiple case studies of the hidden arts found within one small rural community, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, and considered the factors that contributed to the creation of these arts and possible community connections th at are made as a result of these art activities. This study utilized mini case studies of selected artists in Claiborne Parish, done primarily through interviews and observations, and documented through blogging, a website, and a photo documentary of sign ificant people, events, and sites discovered throughout this study.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 6 I have chronicled and shared ongoing observations in the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish blog, located at http://hiddena rtsofclaiborneparish.blogspot.com/ Community art resources discovered have been archived and annotated within my Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website, located at http://hiddenartsofclaibo rneparish.weebly.com/ My website also utilizes the process of photo documentary and online curating in the creation of an art gallery sharing selected works. I have also written and self published a paper that shares my observations and findings. Thi s paper is available both on my website and in the University of Florida repository of Art Education Capstone papers. Through this study, I attempted to discover the hidden arts found within Claiborne Parish, identify factors that contributed to these a ctivities, and connections that resulted with the community. My research attempts to identify and describe creative forces found within the borders of this small community, and as an incentive to cultivate creative behaviors, generate communication, and i nspire future creative activities in Claiborne Parish and elsewhere.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 7 Table of Contents Title Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 1 UF Copyright page ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 2 Acknowlegements ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 3 UF Formatted Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 4 Table of Contents ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 6 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 8 Statement of Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 8 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 9 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 Rationale and Significance ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 10 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 11 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 13 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 13 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 17 Subject Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 18 Research Site ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 19 Data Collection Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 19 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 20

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 8 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 21 Find ings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 22 Creative Individuals of Claiborne Parish ................................ ................................ ...................... 22 Emergent Themes in These Artists' Lives and Works ................................ ................................ .. 33 Self Guided Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 33 Desire to Create ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 35 Relationships Ignite Creativity ................................ ................................ ................................ 35 Summary of Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 36 Discussion and Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 36 Discussion and Inter pretation of Findings ................................ ................................ ................ 37 Significance, Implications, and Recommendations ................................ ................................ .. 40 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 41 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 48 Author Biography ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 53

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 9 Claiborne Parish, founded in 1828, was named for the first American governor of Louisiana, William Claiborne. This mainly rural p arish has at its center an impressive antebellum style courthouse, which serves as a symbol of its rich and varied historical past. This historical legacy, which was once the binding force of the parish, has slowly fractured throughout the years as a resu lt of the economic slump and the forces of globalization. Even though, the once bustling town square has eroded to one that encompasses many empty storefronts, there is an underlying creative force that seems hid den amidst the distractions that face the public today. The distractions, which range from busy lifestyles to 20 th century media diversions, have captured the attention of the community and hindered them from recognizing the treasures that hide, literally in their own backyards. The community that once encouraged others to drive in and stay awhile has become one in which people just drive by, which leaves any artistic endeavor located there, unnoticed, unappreciated, and unused. I believe that revealing the hidden forces that lurk within a community such as this can expose factors that create new connections between residents. I believe that this kind of exposure of the arts may also lead to developing a community that is more engaged and participatory in the creative life of the region. By uncovering and sharing artists and their arts, we can hopefully create pathways for growth for the community by encouraging creative behavior in others and by using the arts as a means to build connections between th e citizens and their community. I admit that these are aspirational goals, most likely improvable within the confines of this research project. Statement of the Problem How can someone live in a community for most of their life and be unaware of the arti

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 10 problem that I believe is valid to many communities that have been blind to the wealth of talent that can be found within their own backyards. Knowing that art is capable of producing change within a community (Kay, 2005; Phillips, 2004; Stutman, 2001) has led to the motivation for exposing the hidden arts within this rural parish in hopes of opening the eyes of the community to the wealth of artistic abilities f ound in their own backyard, to encourage artistic participation from others within the community, and provide information for those who may be interested in unveiling arts within their own communities. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to identify, observe, and document individuals that contribute to the arts of Claiborne parish, in order to examine and describe factors that encouraged them to participate in their chosen creative endeavor. I believe that factors that have encouraged these individuals to create art provide ideas and strategies that might be used to stimulate further creativity within communities. Just as a pebble dropped in a pond produces ripples that spread out from the center; the creativity of these individuals can spr ead even further. Exposing these ideas and connections is also vital in order to generate communication and community engagement as counterforce against the current negative economic and social forces that are prevalent within our region. Research Quest ions questions: (a) Who are our local artists and what are their art forms? (b) What factors have facil itated the creative work of these individuals? and (c) Does their creative work contribute to the creative life of the greater community, and if so, how?

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 11 Rationale and Significance of the Study Claiborne Parish, like many rural communities, exists in an a ge of tremendous economic and demographic changes resulting from global commerce, migrations of populations, and shifting economic priorities both locally and within the US. As rural communities decline, the arts have been discussed as one potential vehic le for generating social and cultural community sustainability. The focus on the sometimes unrecognized, creative faction of the community, as a means to produce change, is prevalent in the findings of economist and sociologist Richard Florida (2002). Fl areas has recently shifted to also include amenity rich rural areas (McGranahan, 2007). Although many small towns in America are struggling, there are a few that have recognized the creative power that can be rendered through the hidden creative arts found within their borders. One such example is Colquitt, Georgia, which utilized the hidden talent of storytelling that was found within their small community, and parlayed that int o a business that has put their small community on the map (Wallace, 2011). My research study identified and examined some of the hidden arts found within Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, and collected information regarding these creative forces as a means to understand the potential ways these hidden arts can contribute to the community. As a result of exposing some of the unknown arts found within Claiborne Parish, concepts emerged that can be used to stimulate creativity within both communities and indiv iduals. The findings of this study will be valuable to those attempting to inspire creativity within communities by using findings revealed during the course of this study to encourage and stimulate local participation in creative activities.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 12 Assumptio ns In the course of this study, I assumed that the hidden arts seemed hidden due to the fact that I have lived in this parish my whole life, and was unaware of these arts until they were revealed through this study. Although, I have labeled these arts a s hidden, in reality, they are just unnoticed by those that operate outside of their source of influence. I also assume that there are additional creative endeavors, which I know nothing about, that can be found within Claiborne Parish. In addition, thes e arts seem hidden, due to the fact that their creators have not utilized 21 st century technology, such as social networking and other websites, in order to expose them to the public. I assumed that the participants will provide honest answers to question s asked, due to the fact that anonymity and confidentiality will be preserved if they request it, as well as allowing the participants to withdraw from the study at any time with no ramifications. Definition of Terms Participatory Culture Henry Jenk relatively low barriers creation, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most exp erienced Referring to the 2005 study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Jenkins (2006a), identifies that 38 % of rural youth are considered media creators in that they have utilized new media techn ologies to create a blog or webpage, posted original videos, stories or artwork, or remixed information online into their own new creations. He argued that the emergence of new types of media technology has enhanced this culture by increasing the levels o f interactivity. He also reveals that incentives for active

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 13 participation can be provided through the community itself. This type of participatory culture was also encouraged by Elizabeth Delacruz (2009), who recognized that reaching outside the borders of a secluded space, such as a classroom, gives distinct advantages to teachers by increasing their social and intellectual capital. Creative Class Richard Florida (2002), in the Rise of the Creative Class, describes a new social class, which includes educators, writers, artists, designers, musicians, architects, entertainers, scientists, and engineers, as well as other creative professionals in law, finance, health care and related fields who will comprise approximately one third of the workforce by th e year 2015. Florida, traits, such as valuing individuality, creativity, and diversity, being educated, and playing and working hard. He also noted that these crea tive individuals tend to settle in hip, urban locations. creative content that has eco nomic as well as cultural/aesthe Hidden Arts Hidde n arts refer to overlooked creative endeavors found within a community from people or groups of people who are not normally considered artists (R.T.S., 2007). These arts seem to be hidden due to several factors, including, limited exposure to the public, as well as the inability of the public attention due to their hectic lifestyles and preoccupation with other activities. This study considered hidden arts as encompassing all art disciplines and crafts, people who are not normally considered artists, and activities and skills that encourage community spirit. These hidden artists have the promise to work to nurture the potential that

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 14 exists in all communities to be creative and to find a voice to express their concerns through the arts. Limitations of the Study The amount of time that was available for exposing hidden arts in Claiborne Parish was limited thus restricting the number of participants. Additional time would have resulted in the producing of additional creative endeavors. The time that was a vailable to interview and discuss My definition of hidden arts, which referred to my knowledge of these arts, could be seen as a limitation, and could be bro adened or narrowed accordingly. Literature Review Many communities have turned to the arts to help make a positive impact on their own community. The basic premise that art can reach beyond itself and produce change is not new. Within the last decade, many have credited the ability of the arts to impact a community (Guetzkon, 2002; Phillips; 2004, Stutman, 2001). Community based arts education projects have attempted to supplement the continued reduction of viable arts programs within the school syst em (Marche, 1998). Although programs have been successful in injecting the arts into communities, many of them utilize artistic talents and forces that come in from outside the community (Lowe, 2001). Research has recently suggested that community arts p rograms are more effective when implemented and encouraged from within the community (Kay, 2005). By uncovering hidden local creative forces, communities have the ability to identify factors that encouraged these creative individuals and make lasting con nections that produce an ever rippling stream of innovative creative activities that build on the strength of existing talent and ideas. It is vital to make these ideas and connections visible in order to generate communication and

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 15 community engagement as a protective force against the current economic and social forces that are prevalent within the global society of the 21 st century. Connections between Arts and the Community Small communities seem to undervalue many of the creative activities found wit hin their borders and thus their benefits are missing from current research. Delacruz (1999) observes that the emergence and acceptance of new art forms in the art world, including folk art, that is ven though some of these hidden assets go unnoticed when communities still consider art as something that must be contained within a frame and hung on a wall in a gallery. Hidden arts have been shown to have potential in playing a significant part of a co (R.T.S., 2007, p. 37). Economist Richard Florida (2002) identified the people involved in these types of crea tive activities as the creative class, and described them as sharing a common philosophy that values connected with, and benefited from the talent hidden wi thin the borders of their small town, there are possibilities for other communities to uncover and realize the strategies that lie dormant behind creative activities found within their own backyards (Lambe, 2008). Building on this notion of the interrela tedness of communication and community, communications and cultural scholar Henry Jenkins (2006a) explained that communities in the 21 st otherwise might have lived segregat to the development of what Jenkins identified as a participatory community, a community that

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 16 encourages collaboration and endows community members with a sense of purpose and belonging in this new global world. Community Engagement through the Arts As important as the relationships between communication forms and community are, like Richard Florida, I believe that a significant contribution of the life of communities includes engagement through the arts. Research indicates that community engagement has been a Arts Impact: Arts and Culture in the Community Milner (2002) observes how having engaged and involved citizens results i n from active public participation and involvement in the arts comm unities, by becoming more confident, creative and self determining, with a stronger sense of ownersh ip, responsibility, and pride guaranteed nor self evident, and there ar e many barriers to engagement. For example, Walker and Boyer (2002) found that community engagement can be increased by overcoming practical barriers such as cost, location and time, provide a deeper connection with the content of the work and the ways it will benefit the participants, and provide a clearer understanding of the benefits of participation. When one considers the idea that a small portion of a community has produced a creative product that has gone unnoticed by a majority of the community, o ne also speculates as to the reason for this lack of engagement, especially in the light of previous research. Factors behind the Creativity of Hidden Arts One of the most intriguing things about hidden arts within a community is the story behind that a ctivity. What motivates individuals to pursue creative activity in her/his life? How

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 17 do they end up doing what they are doing today? The stories of creative people shed light on how some individuals and groups seem to make their way in a world that is s ometimes not traditionally geared towards supporting creativity and the people behind it. When looking at support for and recognition of creative arts within communities, one can ascertain that success in this area is indeed challenging, yet achievable (S tutman, 2001: Wallace, 2011). Teresa Amabile creativity could be motivated through challenge, freedom, resources, workgroup features, encouragement, and o rganizational support (Amabile, 1999). These aspects also seem to be applicable to those who create within a small community. Having the freedom to choose how those who create will reach their goal, as well as the process they will use to get there, allo ws Resources, such as products, space, equipment, relationships, and time, as well as, culture and identity, are valuable assets to those who wish to create. description of how certain features present in creative groups of people, features such as commitment, respect, and appreciation for diversity, are important. They benefit those attempting to create within a community settin g, just as they benefit students in an educational setting. Conversely, just as students find motivation through the encouragement and support of others; creative individuals can also find motivation through encouragement and support. In addition to id entifying factors that seem to lead to creativity, Amabile also discredited several myths concerning creativity that American society seems to have embraced for decades (Breen, 2004). One such myth was one that posited creativity could only come from pre comes from all people if they are sufficiently motivated (Breen, 2004). The considerations lead

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 18 us to believe that, when considering the connections between the creative process, the community, and the factors that influence the creation of these arts, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Impact of the Arts There have been many studies that support the power of the arts to affect change wi thin a community. Alexenberg and Benjamin (2004) described how art can cross cultural barriers and create communication and connections within diverse communities. Lowe (2001) observed how exposure of the arts in a community could be effective in spurri ng creativity and building community relationships. Stutman (2001) examined the ability of the arts to change the the exposition of hidden arts within a community, I Lamb (2008) described this process through the story of Colquitt, Georgia, who successfully revealed the arts already found within th eir community. storytelling, and was able to form lasting connections and utilize motivational factors to transform their community. By discovering the motivating factors that influe nce those that create the hidden arts in Claiborne Parish, one will be able to create opportunities for the community to form connections that will last a lifetime. Methodology This study was a multiple case study of selected artists who comprise what I h ave termed according to their ability to contribute to the identity, engagement, and economy of the surrounding community. Noor (2008) recommended using a case st

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 19 one needs to understand some particular problem or situation in great depth, and where one can Claiborne Parish are indeed rich in information, this method of study appears well matched to my research question. Utilizing a multiple case methodology allowed me to explore the issues under study using a replication strategy, which Yin (1994) compares to conducting a number of individual experiments on related subjects. This study followed a qualitative research approach with the primary method of data collection involving the use of semi structured interviews. By conducting semi structured interviews, which use open ended questions, I had the abil the research topic from the perspective of the interviewee, and to understand why he or she came The main research problem that drove this study was discovering the hidden arts and ar tists of Claiborne Parish and then identifying some of the factors that encouraged their creative activity. This study identified little known, creative endeavors of individuals located within Claiborne Parish. I conducted these multiple case studies in Claiborne Parish within a four week period during the fall of 2012. Subject Selection I purposefully chose specific subjects for multiple case studies due to the fact that these subjects have created art or contributed to the arts in ways that are not widely known or publicized (locally) at this time and thus seemed hidden to many people that live in Claiborne Parish. I identified the subjects for this study through communication with community leaders and community members that participate in the arts in Claiborne Parish, as well as by accident. This study included 5 case studies of individuals located within Claiborne Parish that have produced little known, creative endeavors. The subjects included individuals who participated in

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 20 many different art disciplines and crafts, were not normally considered artists, and took part in activities and skills that encouraged community spirit Research Site The interview portion of the research took place within Claiborne Parish, at either the nce or workplace. Claiborne Parish is a predominantly rural parish located in the center of north Louisiana. The parish contains only two towns, Homer and Haynesville, each of which have a population below 4000. Homer, the larger of the two towns, is th e parish seat and antebellum style courthouse, as well as a Spanish style town hall. The racial make up of the parish is divided almost equally between white and bl ack residents, with less than two percent coming from other races. During the past decade, the economy of Claiborne Parish has declined due to the closing of the paper plant that once dominated the work force of this community. The beauty of the parish i s hard to miss, nestled in the piney woods amidst the gently rolling hills of throughout the parish, such as the courthouse square, downtown Homer, and the Homer Cemet to conduct interviews during the course of the research. Data Collection Procedures and Instrumentation This study collected data through multiple measures in an a ttempt to triangulate the data and help ensure the validity of the study. The data collection methods used in this study included interviews, literature research, and observation. Meyer (2001) recommended this technique logy provides stronger substantiation of constructs and

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 21 I utilized interviews as the primary data gathering means and conducted them during a four me or business, took approximately one hour each to complete. The follow up interviews, which were performed on three of the five participants and also took place at their residence or business, took approximately thirty minutes each to complete. There w ere also follow up phone interviews that lasted approximately ten minutes each, which were conducted on five of the participants. In employed a semi structured i nterview format. The concepts I intended to research within this study, namely the factors that influence the creation of art and art programming in Claiborne Parish, guided the formulation of the interview questions. I took particular care to protect th e privacy of all participants, make sure that all questions were respectful, non judgmental, and open ended, and sought to ensure all questions elicited meaningful responses. Establishing trust did not seem to be a problem, due to the fact that the partic ipants and I knew each other. Each participant was videotaped so I could concentrate fully on asking questions and responding to the order to provide a better g rasp of the data and to provide content for later analysis. Although I conducted a few onsite observations of events in this study, I used interviews as the key data collection source. Each participant granted informed consent to participate in this stud y. Data Analysis This study applied an inductive approach for qualitative data analysis (Thomas, 2006), which consisted of compiling all data, organizing data into files, reading and coding all data, and processing and interpreting the data. This stra tegy seemed perfect for my research in that it

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 22 allowed the findings to emerge from the data without the restraints that would be imposed by more structured methods. After viewing the videotapes of each interviewee several times and transcribing signifi cant portions of the recorded interviews, I looked for similar patterns, noted these patterns as they emerged, and studied them for possible meanings. By using inductive coding, I was able to recognize emerging or recurring patterns, such as artistic beha viors or attitudes that are prevalent in creative individuals within Claiborne Parish. While reading through the transcripts, I identified related text segments, created categories to encompass all related text segments, and generated codes for the text s egments as each category became apparent. I assessed these codes for recurring themes and patterns, as well as similarities and differences within the data, and created labels that grouped occurrences or processes. As I filled in themes with perceptions and reactions that were representative of the data, I noted that some of the themes fit into more than one category. As a result of the above analysis procedures, I revealed three emerging categories as having the most impact on this study: self guided learning, desire to create, relationships ignite creativity. I discuss these emergent categories later in this paper. Limitations This study followed a qualitative research approach with the primary method of data collection involving the use of semi str uctured interviews. The findings are not generalizable to other possible populations, due to the specificity of the population of Claiborne Parish. I chose to limit the case studies to no more than 5 subjects because of the time constraints involved in t he interviewing and subsequent data analysis. The limited amount of time that was available for exposing hidden arts in Claiborne Parish restricted the number of participants. I noted that

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 23 chosen art, which restricted the scope of the results. Through the role of researcher, I recognized that my personal feelings about my hometown are the reason I started this inquiry and took every precaution to make sure data collection, and analysis was fair, neutral, and unbiased. Findings My research began as a search for the significance behind some of the little known arts in Claiborne Parish and resulted with a revelation of the factors that connected the individuals that created this art. During the past four months, I have identified five hidden artists in Claiborne Parish, revealed three significant factors that shed light on these creative endeavors, divulged my insights on these hidden arts on a blog I created for this project, Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish blog, located at http://hiddenarts s ofclaiborneparish.blogspot.com/ I have also exposed these hidden arts by the creation of the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website, l ocated at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.weebly.com/ In the following section, I will introduce each of the identified subjects exposed during this study, and I will describe three sign ificant findings influences and environments. I have identified these connections through analysis of my data, and have organized them around the following thr ee themes: lack of art education leads to self guided learning in the arts; creative people have a desire to create; relationships ignite creative endeavors. First I discuss the five participants in my study. Then I share my findings. Creative Individua ls of Claiborne Parish Linda Volentine. Linda Volentine, a native of Claiborne Parish, is the project director of the Ford Museum in Homer, Louisiana. The Ford Museum is a valuable resource for the life and culture of North Louisiana, through the many e xhibits found within that reflect the history of the

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 24 community and the people that lived there. One of the best resources found within this small museum is Volentine. Linda works tirelessly writing grants, providing tours of the museum, hosting programs that promote the history and culture of the North Louisiana Hill Country, and encouraging artists from around the area and the state to contribute their time and energy to workshops as a means of enriching the public in the arts. Her efforts to expose the residents of Claiborne Parish to the arts can be seen in the diversity of the artists that this small museum showcases, as well as the diversity of the workshops available to the public. Some of the most recent workshops offered at the Ford Museum includ e pin needle basket weaving (see Figure 1), gourd design (see Figure 1), wood carving, mosaics, reed basket making (see Figure 1), folk art painting (see Figure 2), hand quilting, and pottery. These workshops, which involve both teachers and students with in the parish, allow them both to, not only, learn a new skill (see Figure 1), but to develop a more keen understanding of the history of their community.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 25 Figure 1 : Carved Gourd, Pine Straw Basket, and Reed Basket completed by Rhonda Porter in workshops instigated by Linda Volentine at the Ford Museum.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 26 Figure 2 : Folk art painting completed by Homer resident during Ford Museum Folk Art workshop instigated by Linda Volentine. George Gamble. George G amble, a semi retired veterinarian from Claiborne Parish, discovered his desire to create art from metal after a recent health scare. Gamble uses a plasma from cl assic signs (see Figure 3) to pet tombstones. He intends to take his art up a notch, by combining plasma technology with Photoshop to create a unique style of metal portraits. George, who reshaped his life from one that saved animals to one that assisted in burying them, has developed his own unique language that uses art as a means to record bits of history (see Figure 4) within Claiborne Parish.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 27 Figure 3 : Gamble priming metal sign.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 28 Figure 4 : La ndmark logo made by Gamble for local club. James Mahn. James Mahn, a recent transplant to Claiborne Parish and the local public school shop teacher, has been working with wood for the past forty years. He credits the philosophy he has developed for his craft as a product of influences from family, faith, and the products, which are made of wood, utilize the historic technique of timber frame construction (see Figure 5) which uses no nails, but employs joints and pins instead. Mahn not only uses his talents to help preserve a nearly lost art form, but also provides the opportunity for students to learn this valuable skill (see Figure 6), as well as be shaped by his ide as and enhanced by his passion.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 29 Figure 5 : Staircase built by James Mahn using timber frame method.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 30 Figure 6 : Student created art utilizing techniques taught by Mahn. Glenda Tooke. Glenda Tooke, a life long Claiborne Parish native and self taught artist, began her love affair with art the day she retired. Her art, which ranges from gourds to emu eggs (see Figure 8) and many things in between, reveals the love she feels for her family (see Figure northwest Louisiana with a simplicity that exposes how even the most mundane activity can have monumental value in the eyes of others. Tooke is, not only, talented i n the visual arts, she also taught herself to play the mandolin. She now plays with a local group, whose calendar stays booked well in advance. Although Glenda mainly creates art for her own pleasure, she also shares her love of art with others as seen t hrough her formation of the Lake Claiborne Gourd Patch, which is the only gourd patch group in Louisiana.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 31 Figure 7 : Glenda beside several hand painted saws reflecting images of Claiborne Parish and her family.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 32 Figure 8 : Hand painted emu egg by Tooke. Cynthia Steele. Cynthia Steele, whose family has lived in Claiborne parish for generations, has dedicated her life to making Claiborne Parish a better place. Coming from a family that set an exampl e of contributing to the whole community, she does just that as a full time volunteer community organizer by organizing and instigating many arts programs that encourage communication and stimulate the population by reaching across racial and economic divi des. Cynthia has played a vital role in increasing the presence of visual arts within Claiborne parish through projects such as the Kinnebrew Mural (see Figure 9), Claiborne CHAIRity

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 33 Auction, Claiborne Jubilee Art Festival, Claiborne Jubilee Players Group and Voices of the Past Cemetery Walk (see Figure 10), to name a few. Figure 9 : Kennibrew Mural, created through the efforts of Cynthia Steele.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 34 Figure 10 : Character portrayal by Claiborne Jubilee Player during Voices of the Past Cemetery Walk, instigated by Cynthia Steele. Emergent Themes in these Artists Lives and Works Self guided learning. I started this study with the assumption that those who participate in newly discovered creative activi ties within Claiborne Parish were influenced by previous experience in the arts, such as an education in the arts. The findings, however, show that it was not previous experience or classes in the arts that influenced these individuals to participate in c reative endeavors. All five participants revealed that they had never taken any formal art classes, or had any educational background in the arts while growing up. The quotation below illustrates this point:

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 35 I never took any art classes while I was in sc My first experience with any type of art happened after I was forced to cut back on my work due to health problems. (G. Gamble, personal communication, October 12, 2012) As indicated in the above quote, mo st of the participants went to school during a time when the arts were not a part of the curriculum. This discovery led to the realization that if (20 00 ) stud y of machinist turned folk artist, Jack Barker, noted how some individuals who discover art late in their life take matters into their own hands through the avenue of self ad not been available, they found a different way to provide the instruction they needed through the avenue of self I never had any formal lessons, but I come from a time when you worked for what you got. My husband bought me a mandolin for Christmas several years ago. I took the mandolin, a video, and a book to my bedroom, and after about 9 months to a year, I could come out and play. (G. Tooke, personal communica tion, October 19, 2012) As illustrated by this quotation, being self taught involves making your own structure of learning, pursuing the art each person wants to create, and finding your own ways to educate yourself. The participants I interviewed reveal ed that they gained knowledge about their chosen endeavors through avenues outside the realm of art education. Even though the opportunities for the arts are limited in small communities, all five subjects revealed that one reason they chose to live in Cl aiborne Parish was for the solitude and safety that a small, rural community offers. The

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 36 We decided to move to Claiborne Parish in February of 1997. A friend I me t in New like Ruston, too much city for us. Homer was smaller and felt safe. This was more to our liking, so we stayed. (J. Mahn, personal communication, October 16, 201 2) Desire to create. The fact that these creative individuals did not have a background in the arts leads us to believe that there are other factors at work that influenced these people to participate in these creative endeavors. During the course of th e interviews, all five subjects revealed that one factor that led them to their chosen creative endeavor was a deep desire to participate. The overwhelming majority opinion of the participants reminded me of the words of Carl Jung (1933) who wrote: Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him his instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. (p. 169) It was this type of desire to c reate, participate, and contribute, that each of the participants described when asked what encouraged them in their chosen field. Their words differed as they tried to convey the sense of purposefulness that seems to guide their life choice decisions. T he following quotation explains the drive one participant felt towards his art: work just the beauty. My work seems like a natural extension of whom I am, just as the projects I build are an extension of the natural products I use, shaped only by the ideas I create. (J. Mahn, personal communication, October 16, 2012)

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 37 Relationships ig nite creativity. This study seems to have come full circle as I came to the understanding that each person interviewed for this study, found inspiration through certain relationships in their past. These relationships provided examples of the creative sp irit through everyday life situations, and provided the impetus needed to ignite the creative spark within each of the participants. These sparks were given fuel through the afore mentioned self learning and eventually resulted in a flame of desire to cre ate. All five of the participants revealed that interacting in a relationship that encouraged them to respond to challenges without inhibition, stimulated their desire to create. These relationships, which created situations that directly affected their a ttitude, outlook, and interest in a subject, are similar to conditions Olivia Gude (2010) recommends creating within a classroom that affects the learner as well as the educator. The following quotation is an example of power of a past relationship to inf luence and encourage creative endeavors: how he felt like there was nothing he c personal communication, October 12, 2012) Summary of Findings The experiences reported above reveal the connections that exist between the creative individuals identified within this study by the discovery of several characteristics during the course of this investigation. The first connection noted was that none of the subjects participated in formal educational art training, and all professed being self taught regarding their chosen endeavor. The second co

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 38 chosen endeavor. The third connection noted was the presence of a relationship that exemplified creative solutions to challenges, which ignited a creative spark in the participant. Dis cussion and Conclusion In this study, I aimed to understand the factors that led to the creation of the hidden arts of Claiborne Parish from the vantage point of the participants. As noted in previous research, engaging in the arts impacts individuals an d communities, by providing inspiration, encouraging engagement, and developing a sense of community (Stutman, 2001, Wallace, 2011). Research also reveals that certain factors, such as experience, encouragement, and motivation,, stimulate creativity (Ama bile, 1999). This multiple case study identified five individuals within Claiborne Parish who had participated in creative endeavors of which I had no previous knowledge. The study, which used semi structured interviews as the primary data gathering inst rument, applied inductive, qualitative data analysis in order to reveal certain recurring themes. The following sections will reveal my interpretation of the findings, the significance and implication of the findings, as well as recommendations for future research. Discussion and Interpretation of Findings In the process of this research, I described an arts presence that has been unknown to me for as long as I have lived in Claiborne Parish. After further investigation of these individuals, it is clear to me just as Brown (2002) argued that individuals that participate in creative endeavors share certain passions for the arts. The participants within this study also exhibited the passions of creative individuals. These passions include determination, m otivation, and creativity. I consider these individuals to be part of what Florida (2002) has identified as the creative class of Claiborne Parish, noting also that the creative people in my study perform activities outside the realm of traditional art pr actices. Although these creative individuals do

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 39 share some of the characteristics divulged by Florida (2002), the fact that they live in such an gather in like areas, some may also like the solitude and safety found in small, obscure communities. One common denominator discovered during this research was that even though these individuals were diverse in social and economic backgrounds, they exhibited similari ties in the fact that none had formal training in their chosen creative endeavor. Instead, the creators of the hidden arts found in Claiborne Parish had the determination to teach themselves to perform creatively in a way that allowed us to get a glimpse within their own life experiences. Through their artistic activities, they experienced an opportunity to open hearts and minds to the human experience in its many different forms, make connections through these experiences, and begin to break down barrie rs that have separated us for too long. The connections within these creative endeavors can be found in the histories reflected within their work as well as in the stories that have inspired their activities. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparen ts were all born and raised here in Claiborne Parish. They always believed in contributing to the whole community and by example taught us to do the same. Their influence on my life has determined the direction of my career as a full time volunteer commu nity organizer. (C. Steele, personal communication, October 26, 2012) In considering the aspect of self learning, one has to consider the possibilities that could have occurred if the participant received formal training, which is an issue for further cons ideration. learning,

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 40 there were other factors identified that contributed to the hidden arts revealed within Claiborne Parish. Just as determination linked the parti cipants through self learning, the motivation the participants exhibited through their underlying desire to participate formed yet another connection. What I discovered during this research was that there is a force found deep within certain people that ca nnot be seen on an x ray or even through surgical exploration. This force is the desire and ability to create, which can be as nourishing to the soul as bread and water can be to the flesh. This force is not dependent upon taking classes in the arts, but is an unseen force Even though, the main motivating factor discovered between these individuals was a basic need to create, I realize that this alone d oes not address the plethora of individual reasons that can lead a person to create or participate. As I considered the above two characteristics, determination and desire, within the context of this study, I realized they are like peanut butter and jel ly, which are delightful when put together, but unless there is bread to hold them together, the result is just a sticky mess. The bread I found during this study that seemed to complete the hidden arts sandwich was in the form of relationships that these creative individuals encountered throughout their lives. The spark generated by these relationships gave life to a desire to create that the participants accomplished through the avenue of self learning. Just as Gude (2010) reveals the ability of a teac her to create a safe atmosphere in which students can challenge themselves, there are people and situations reach beyond the easy towards that which poses a chall enge. This discovery poses possibilities for creating conditions that enhance the development of creativity in individuals living within

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 41 communities (outside of our classrooms). By creating community programs that develop an own ability to solve problems, those looking to utilize these talents, such as communities and teachers, can cultivate a community wide environment, which encourages a culture of creativity that can trickle down to others. I believe if we follow the lead set forth by Florida (2002), who believes the future of a community is dependent on encouraging initiate a trend, which will influence the future of the community as well as the creative individuals living there. Although this study was not interested in discovering why these arts seemed hidden, the research revealed that m ost of the individuals whom performed these arts did not utilize 21 st century technology, such as websites and social media, to advertise their endeavors. As a by product of this study, I spoke to the local chamber of commerce about publicizing these crea tive individuals, which resulted in the creation of the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish blog (see Figure 11), located at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.blogspot.com/ and the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website (see Figure 11), located at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.weebly.com/ to be used for this purpose.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 42 Figure 11 : Hidden Arts of Cla iborne Parish blog created by Rhonda Porter. Figure 12 : Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website created by Rhonda Porter. Significance, Implications, and Recommendations As I look back over the scope of this research project, and the people participating in my mini case studies, I realize that most of the participants grew up during a time when the school curriculum did not include the arts, yet they found a way to participate in this creative activity,

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 43 nonetheless. These indi viduals, all of whom came from the baby boomer generation, were successful in creating their own mindset that valued creativity and created a balance between the challenges that faced them and their own perceived skills. The factors revealed within this s tudy provide insights that can be used by community leaders as well as local educators as a means of using the arts to facilitate creative endeavors by residents. All participants spoke of the importance of growing up in an environment that encouraged cre ativity and provided a safe place for them to respond to challenges. By encouraging community arts organizations, as well as classrooms, to create such environments, we can cultivate creative behaviors that lead to creative activities (Gude, 2010). I ho pe to utilize this research to encourage the creativity of others, by uncovering the artistic forces located within my own backyard and exposing the factors that resulted in these activities through the avenue of the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish website located at http://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.weebly.com/ as well as the Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish blog, located at h ttp://hiddenartsofclaiborneparish.blogspot.com/ By giving these individuals a voice, as this study accomplished, we can realize pertinent factors that inspired these creative individuals, and encourage those within community development and education to use these factors to inspire, enlighten, and improve the future generation as well as Conclusion This project has opened my eyes to the wealth of knowledge hiding in my o wn backyard. By uncovering these artistic individuals and exploring their creative endeavors, I, not only, got a glimpse into the lives of some amazing individuals, but gained a better understanding of some factors that encouraged individuals to participa te in creative endeavors. The realization of the factors that inspire creative people will help to guide my classroom practices, as well as

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 44 encourage my educational philosophy to encompass communication with community members who participate in creative a ctivities. By bringing these factors into the local conversation, through the creation of a blog and a website, I believe I opened the eyes of those within my own community to the hidden arts found within this small community. I also believe that by revea ling the factors that attributed to these arts, I encouraged others to recognize and take advantage of these factors, as a means of forming lasting connections that can inspire a stream of future artistic endeavors within Claiborne Parish.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 45 Appendix A

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 46

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 47

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 48 Appendix B

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 49

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 50 References Alexenberg, M., & Benjamin, M. (2004). Creating public art through intergenerational collaboration. Art Education, 57 (5), 13 18. Amabile, T. M. (1983). The social psychology of creativity New York:Spring er Verlag New York Inc. Amabile, T.M. (1999). How to kill creativity. Harvard Business Review, September October, 1998, 77 87. Breen, B. (2004). The 6 myths of creativity. Fast Company [Web site] Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Creativity Brown, J. (2002). Authentic passion: An introduction to the arts in rural and small communities. Community Arts Network Reading Room: USA. Delacruz, E. M. ( 200 0). Take a walk on the wild side, with folk artist Jack Barker. Art Education, 52 (1), 46 52. Delacruz, E. M. (2009). Art education aims in the age of new media: Moving toward global civil society. Art Education, 62 (5), 13 18. Delacruz, E. M. (2011). Ent repreneurial strategies for advancing arts based public engagement as a form of university sanctioned professional activity in the new creative economy. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 12 (Interlude 1). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v12i 1/. Duxbury, N., Campbell, H. (2011). Developing and revitalizing rural communities through arts and culture. Small Cities Imprint, 3 (1), 111 122. Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class. Washington Monthly. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 51 Gude, O. (2010). Playing, creativity, possibility. Art Education, 63 (2), 31 7. Gude, O. (2000). Investigating the culture of cu rriculum. UIC Spiral Art Education. [Web site] Retrieved from http://www.uic.edu/classes/ad/ad382/sites/AEA/AEA_01/AAEA01a.html Guetzkon, J. (2002 ). How the Arts Impact Com munities: An Introduction of the Literature. Paper presented at the Taking the Measure of Culture Conference, Princeton University. James, V., Gerard, R. L., & Beate, V. (2004). Enhancing creativity in the classroom. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectiv es on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Creativity H. Jenkins. (2006a, October, 20). Confronting the challenge of participatory culture: Media education for the 21 st century (Part One) [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2006/10/confronting_the_challenges_of.html Jenkins, H. (2006b). Jenkins on participatory culture. New Learning Online [Web site] Retrieved from http://newlearningonline.com/lit eracies/chapter 6 critical literacies/jenkins on participatory culture/ Johansson, R. (2003 ). Case Study Methodology. Keynote speech at the International Conference: Methodologies in Housing Research, Stockholm. Jung, C. G. (1933). Modern man in search of a soul. New York: Random House. Kay, A. (2005). Art and community development: the role the arts have in regenerating communities. Community Development Journal, 35 (4), 414 424. Lambe, W. (2008). Colquitt, Georgia. In W. Lambe (Ed.). Small towns, big 1 deas: Cases Studies in small town community economic development (pp. 105 108) Retrieved from http://www.sog.unc.edu/programs/cednc/stbi/pdfs/stbi_final.pdf

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 52 Lowe, S. S. (2001) The art of community transformation. Education and Urban Society, 33 (4), 457 471. Marche, T. (1998). Looking outward, looking in: community in art education. Art Education 51 (3), 6 13. McGranahan, D. A., & Wojan, T. R. (2007). The creative class: A key to rural growth. Amber Waves, 5 (2), 16 21. Meyer, C. (2001). A case in case study methodology. Field methods. 13 (4), 329 352. Milner, J. (2002). Arts impact: Arts and culture in the community. Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada, 34 (1), 11 12. Newman, T., Curtis, K., Stephens, J., (2003). Do community based arts projects result in social gains? A review of the literature. Community Development Journal, 38 (4), 310 323. Noor, K. (2008). Case study: A strategic research methodology. American Journ al of Applied Sciences, 5 (11), 1602 1604. Nowak, J. (2008). Distressed places and creativity. GIA Reader, 19 (3), 7 21. Phillips, R. (2004). Artful business: Using the arts for community economic development. Community Development Journal, 39 (2), 112 122. R .T.S. (2007). Arts, culture, and design in rural North Carolina. North Carolina Rural Development Center. Retrieved from http://www.ncarts.org/elements/docs/Rural%20Arts%20RTS.pdf Scher, A. (2007). Can the arts change the world? The transformative power of community arts. New directions for a du lt and continuing education, 116 3 11. Stutman, N. (2001). Art changes lives (Urban Art Trail). Letter Arts Review, 16 (1), 24 33.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 53 Thomas, D R. (2006). A general inductive approach for qualitative data analysis. American Journal of Evaluation, 27 (2), 237 246. Walker, M., Boyer, M. (2002, June) Ten characteristics of a healthy community: How the arts can be integrated: A Report from the Joint Convention of Americans for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts. Chronicle of Philanthropy, 23 (7), 20. Yin, R. (19 94). Case study research: Design and methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 54 List of Figures with Captions Figure 1: Carved Gourd, Pine Straw Basket, and Reed Basket completed by Rhonda Porter in workshops instigated by Linda Volentine at the Ford Museum. ................................ .................. 24 Figure 2: Folk art painting completed by Homer resident during Ford Museum Folk ................ 25 Figure 3: Gamble priming metal sign. ................................ ................................ .......................... 26 Figure 4: Landmark logo made by Gamble for local club. ................................ .......................... 27 Figure 5: Staircase built by James Mahn using timber frame method. ................................ ......... 28 Figure 6: Student created art utilizing techniques taught by Mahn. ................................ ............ 29 Figure 7: Glenda beside several hand painted saws reflecting images of ................................ .... 30 Figure 8: Hand painted emu egg by Tooke. ................................ ................................ ................ 31 Figure 9: Kennibrew Mural, created through the efforts of Cynthia Steele. ............................... 32 Figure 10: Character portrayal by Claiborne Jubilee Player during Voices of the ...................... 33 Figure 12: Hidden Arts of Claiborne Parish

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 55 Biography of the Author Rhonda Palmer Porter was born on August 17, 1956 in the small town of Homer, which is found in the northwest area of Louisiana. Raised on a dairy farm in the rural are a of Claiborne Parish, Rhonda developed a love for the outdoors and could be found either hiking in the woods Lake Claiborne. She graduated from Claiborne Academy in 1974, secure in the knowledge that all problems could be solved through the lyrics of an Eagles song. After starting Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, Louisiana, as a computer science major, she took an elective drawing class, which changed her life forever. Rhonda changed her major to art and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in graphic design. Her first job after graduating was with Sam Fullilove & Associates, a real estate firm, as their in house graphic designer. Du as a graphic designer. After marrying her best friend, Greg, and having her daughter, Tiffany, Rhonda went back to school and completed her Bachelors of Arts degree in Education at Louisiana Tech University in 1991. That very year she was hired to teach the Talented Art Program at Homer Jr. High School. During her tenure at Homer, Rhonda volunteered as the high school and junior high cheerleader sponsor, which ended after 15 years of service. She was also designated as the school test coordinator for th e junior high school. Rhonda has been a member of First Baptist Church of Homer since she was born, and hopes to inspire her students through the truths that she has learned as a result of her faith. Rhonda has been active in the North Central Louisi ana Arts Council as both a teacher and

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Hidd en Arts of Claiborne Parish 56 eventually a director of the Chautauqua Summer Arts Camp that is held in Homer every summer. The Claiborne Jubilee has recognized her as a Claiborne Parish Artist, and her artwork has been displayed at the Ford Muse as the Ronnie G. Memorial Stadium sign, Homer Junior High sign, local business signs, church signs and logos, and local mosaics. Rhonda will graduate from University of Florida with a Ma sters of Arts in Education on December 14, 2012. Her future plans include using art to inspire and encourage her community, laughing as much as possible with friends and family, and spo iling her only grandson, Devin.