Publication Date

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Arthur Bourgeoise, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gretchen Jankowski, MFA

Third Advisor

Jeff Stevenson, MFA


Artists throughout history have been refining methods of communicating. In doing so, they have improved our perspectives of the world, ourselves, and continue to bring the things that have real value in our lives into focus, giving us an advantageous perspective to breakthrough even our biggest social problems. The arts are a natural and effective long-term element that should be a central part of a well-functioning society.

This thesis uncovers the social value of art using the ideas of John Dewey; how art and culture create each other, that art should be a part of our every day lives, and its potential to transform. Using historical evidence of the Feminist Movement, the Environmental Movement, and the Protest against War and Capitalism as examples, artists prove how creativity and the visual arts can be used for real social change.