|Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Loyola University, Chicago)
217C Newcomb Hall
Sociology of Culture and Art, Networks, Nonprofit Organizations, Cultural Policy, Qualitative Methods
Diane Grams conducts research on urban art production. Her second book, Producing Local Color: Art Networks in Ethnic Chicago, (University of Chicago Press 2010), is an investigation of art producers in Chicago's Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park communities. In 2011, she was named a Faculty Fellow for the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology, an honor that places her in the company of some of the nation's top cultural sociologists. (see News from the Field, Jan 2011).
She is currently working on a number of articles on New Orleanian parading cultures and on third book comparing New Orleans to Chicago. A paper, "Freedom and Cultural Consciousness:Black Working Class Parades in Post-Katrina New Orleans," was recently named "Best Conference Paper of the Year-2011" by the Urban Affairs Association. The paper will appear in the Journal of Urban Affairs in the coming year (2012-2013). Video clips and photographs from this ethnographic research of public parades, Mardi Gras Indians and Sunday Second Line Parades can be seen on youtube and facebook.
Prior to joining Tulane's faculty, Grams was the associate director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago (2003-2007); she also taught courses in cultural policy and research methods through the University of Chicago's Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.
Grams earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from Loyola University Chicago (2004) where she also won a Schmitt Dissertation Fellowship for her research on Chicago arts production networks. She earned a B.A. in Painting from Indiana University, Bloomington and is a 1980 alumna of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
She was the Executive Director of The Peace Museum, Chicago (1992-1998). During her twenty-year career in the Chicago arts community, she was named among One Hundred Women Making a Difference in Chicago by Today's Chicago Women in 1989 and given the 1989 Civil Liberties Award from the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Chicago for her work in support of artistic expression. Her paintings have been in more than 40 exhibitions in the United States and in South America.
Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts (Grams and Farrell, Rutgers University Press 2008) is an in-depth investigation of efforts by leading arts organizations throughout the United States to expand and diversify participation in the arts.
Among her other works "Territorial Markers: A Case Study of Public Art of Monuments in Bronzeville," (2006) was published in the Journal of Art, Management, Law, and Society. In 2005 she completed "Executive Compensation in the Nonprofit Arts," a study commissioned by the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation. She was a principal investigator for "Leveraging Assets: How Small Budget Arts Activities Benefit Neighborhoods," a 2003 report funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She was co-author of "ArtsAlive: The 2001 Report on the State of Arts Education in Michigan" for ArtServe Michigan and the Michigan Board of Education.
Introduction to Research Design (SOCI 303)
Qualitative Methods (SOCI 689)
Sociology of Organizations (SOCI 664)
Sociology of Culture (SOCI 621)
Visual Sociology (SOCI 601)
Sociology of Art (SOCI 210)
What people are saying about Producing Local Color....
"This is a very good book with a lot to say to sociologists, local history aficionados in Chicago, anyone concerned with the business and politics of art, and people who want to understand the processes of urban growth as they occur at the most immediate level. Diane Grams succeeds in delivering a mountain of interesting information put together in an analytically innovative way. Producing Local Color will add to the literature on the contribution of arts to community development—in all the possible meanings of those weighty but ambiguous terms—as well as to our understanding of art worlds, art organizations, and the art they produce. Grams's analytic innovations are intelligent, thoroughly grounded in the data, and very useful in understanding what's going on." Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds
"Producing Local Color is a valuable contribution to our understanding of a subject that sociologists of art have largely neglected, ethnic art, and holds important implications for theories in that field. Diane Grams develops a theory of local art production through social networks that draw on available resources in urban communities and contribute not only to the production of art but also urban redevelopment. Grams's approach to art as the result of network-based resource mobilization is at odds with the traditional art historical perspective that focuses on art as produced by geniuses as well as the usual sociological approach that views it as produced and consumed by elites. Clearly written, well organized, and accessible, Producing Local Color will be very useful for students and researchers in a wide variety of fields." Diana Crane, University of Pennsylvania, author of Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing
"The book's author, although she is a painter, does not tackle these topics through the usual art-historical or critical lens, but rather as a cultural sociologist. Her method is observational and her writing tends to be scientific rather than flashy or theoretical. This is a refreshing perspective, like an economist explaining the art market or a chemist detailing an artist's media. As the local politics and ethnic identities of each case study is so specific, Grams's micro-lens produces a realistic picture of the city at each turn. Although the material is straightforward, the author's findings are edifying. Producing Local Color is required reading for anyone seeking to understand why Chicago's many art scenes feel disconnected or scattered. As each locale strives to find an alternative to the dominant culture, it becomes clear that such a search for alternatives, led by disparate groups of minorities, is the norm itself. Some would call this hard evidence of postmodernism; others will call it lived experience." Jason Foumberg, Art Editor. New City
"I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was 'reeducated' by reading it. It made me much more aware of the decentralized ethic pockets of culture that exist within a city. Downtown invariably has an homogenized culture of museums and institutions that are an extension of white, European heritage, which may not even reflect the make-up most of those living within a city like Chicago. Outlying, local cultural centers and museums can be much more responsive to the communities in which they exist and correspondingly have a greater impact on people's lives. Producing Local Color was an eye-opener. It has reoriented my thinking about how culture functions within a city. Probably worth reading again." Paul Klein, Art Critic Art Letter