Community Engaged Learning

The Art, Art History, Media and Design has developed opportunities for community-engaged learning in art so students gain experience connecting theory to practice and envisioning their roles as artist/citizens. Service-learning art courses are offered each semester. Service-Learning is an educational approach that integrates meaningful community work with academic curriculum, enriching learning through the application of theory to practice and practice to theory. Department faculty and students continue to create programs and participate in projects that bring attention to the mutually beneficial exchanges between the arts and community.

PARKing Day

Students and faculty in Dominican’s Department of Art, Art History and DesignArt join artists, activists and citizens in cities around globe for International PARKing Day on September 20 to temporary transform metered parking spaces into public parks and social spaces. In Dominican’s “Day at the Park” project, Dominican students hosted board games (chess, checkers and dominos), a bean bag toss, and face painting,  all in one spot.

Among the students participating are Graphic Art and Design majors Benjamin Mages, Evan Pattillo and Glynnis Morrison, Studio Art major Shaina Stern, Business Administration majors Ruben Ramirez and Daniel Badaracco and Nursing majors Marvin Cayanan, Andrei Paras, Christopher McConnell and Cecelia Dagdagan.

Worldwide, there are 975 PARK installations in more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents taking part in International PARKing Day. The annual open-source global event began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. The mission of PARKing Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat



Urban Community as Canvas for Social Change 

Urban Community as Canvas for Social Change was a three-week, grant-funded, service- learning class in New York City involving 14 Dominican students and two faculty members. The course focused on partnering with CITYArts Inc. to clean and restore murals in Harlem, East New York, and Wall Street. Students chronicled their experiences in this course blog.

At the end of the trip, students had a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, and a learning experience that showed them ways that art can have a positive influence in the community. Read more.


The Art Club

The Art Club is an afterschool art program for local youth held at the Alberto Boro Community Center in the Canal district in San Rafael. As a paid internship, studio and graphic art majors work alongside art alumna Julie Nakao, to teach a carefully designed twelve week visual art curriculum. The art interns also join a rich student learning community of  “EDJE scholars” (Education Dedicated to Justice and Equity), and meet five times a semester with grass-roots educator Michael James. All the diverse and conscientious EDJE students participate in a learning community that focuses on leadership development and “Education as a Practice of Social Change” The Art Club is made possible through a grant from the Marin Community Foundation and ongoing partnership with the City of San Rafael Community Services. 

Inside Out Project at Dominican

As part of his TED Wish, French street artist known as JR launched the Inside Out Project. The implicit desire in his work is to see each other through new eyes and break through barriers that blind us.


Our Inside Out Project, entitled “Facing the Gap,” addresses the educational achievement gap in Marin County. There are many underserved youth in our community who face many challenges to their educational goals that are often exacerbated by stereotypes and negative expectations. Our project aims to make the faces of our invisible youth visible as well as the geographic boundaries that often divide the losses from the gains. Lynn Sondag, Julia van derRyn, and Teresa Ashby are facilitating the project involving Dominican students, Young Moms of Marin and San Rafael High School students.

Education for me is a way to have a better future, to show what you are and you aren’t. I hope to achieve a better education than what my parents did because they couldn’t get more education because they didn’t have much money and they started having children when they were young. I hope to go to college at least. For me this issue about the education is so important because I think that if people keep studying they can have better jobs and lives.  ––Adolfo Aguilar, San Rafael High sophomore and Canal Alliance Youth Scholarship Program.”