Arts and Culture

Arts and culture have always been part of successful community work, fostering social cohesion, engagement, and dialogue, but there’s a lot to learn about the many ways they can be employed and partnerships that are out there to be formed.

Photo of AICHO's Gimaaji Gardens

Duluth Indigenous Groups Reframe Climate Work in Cultural Context

While many conversations about climate resiliency are well-intentioned, they often lack a perspective grounded in community control and cultural context. In this interview, Ivy Vainio and LeAnn Littlewolf from the American Indian Community Housing Organization explore how gardens, worm bins, and solar panels help reclaim agency for Duluth's Indigenous communities.

A Transformative Experiment in Alaska

What do mimes, micro-units, and honoring Alaskan Natives have in common? Artists. The Cook Inlet Housing Authority's work with artists helped the organization realize new markers of success and furthered its housing goals.

Albuquerque Artists Sustain Connection Despite Social Distancing

Placemaking is an inherently in-person practice, but it doesn’t always have to be. In Albuquerque, an exhibit was reimagined to highlight the work of local photographers, who captured striking images of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Creative Impetus for Cultural Pride

The Little Tokyo Service Center uses art to inspire activism, and increase awareness of the community’s cultural assets.

How Artists Helped a Housing Organization Adapt to Demographic Change

An in-depth look at the lessons one housing organization learned after receiving a multimillion grant to integrate arts and culture strategies in its work. Has the organization changed the way it operates?
A woman wearing a white shirt and pants smiles outside as she listens to music from her headphones.

New Visions of Justice Through the Camera Lens

An experimental learning opportunity allows formerly incarcerated individuals to use photography to explore ideas of freedom, complex relationships, and their personal experience with the criminal justice system.
Artists_COVID sign

A Letter from A Starving Artist

To my fellow artists? Just please, PLEASE, stick around on the planet. I know. It’s getting tougher. For me too. You’re not alone.

Art that Amplifies the Stories of Formerly Incarcerated People

Art that highlights the effects of long-term sentencing and the need to support and expand services for those who are reentering society.

Parks, People, and Inclusive Collaborative Planning

A Philadelphia park conservancy develops arts-based partnerships within the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood to strengthen the community's cultural identity.

Don’t Wait to Call in the Artists

If artists are going to bring their creative problem-solving selves to projects, they need to get involved when the problem is being identified.
A woman, wearing a sign, stands and points a finger inside a bus.

Integrating Arts and Culture Strategies into Transit Plans

Three transit projects show how artists, transit agencies, and community groups helped communities envision more equitable outcomes.
two couples dance in traditional Mexican ballet folklorico style

Redevelopment That Preserves Cultural Heritage

Preserving and fortifying longstanding culture is key to social cohesion in a community. How can we make sure it's given equal priority when planning for and funding redevelopment?
Little Tokyo neighborhood

“Welcome to Little Tokyo, Please Take Off Your Shoes:” Remembering Dean Matsubayashi

Sustained resistance to gentrification and displacement requires more than antagonism. It requires a community organized around an open, positive alternative vision that has both big ambitions and achievable, intermediary steps.

A Radically Different Planning Process in Brownsville

In a year-long program that included bike rides, serenades, and Dragtivist performances, an art collective guided Brownsville, Texas, residents in reimagining how they could influence equity and justice in their city.
Kids stand in front of a mural in Thomas, West Virginia.

An Antidote to the Negativity Surrounding Rural America

With all the news of downward trends in rural America, this rural sociologist says he finally has something to smile about.
group photo

Harnessing the Creativity of Artists to Unlock Community Wealth

With collaboration among Dallas' arts community, a place-based initiative called CultureBank invests in social impact artists in order to steward community assets to promote the health and well being of residents.
Native women tan hide outside as part of a program called Indigenous Visionaries

The Next Generation of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers

A tribal college program works to preserve crucial Native American cultural elements while training indigenous women to step into leadership roles in their communities.

Using Theater to Envision Racial Equity Solutions

Techniques from the arts world can help us envision and re-envision relationships and systems to spot stress points and opportunities within communities.
B. Ruppe drugstore in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, NM

Regenerating a Place of Cultural Pride and Healing in Albuquerque’s Barelas Neighborhood

Restoring a community's culturally significant site in Albuquerque to be a true economic resource as well as a source of healing.
men making guitar

Arts, Culture, and Community Mental Health

Examples of projects around the country that are infusing community development with creativity and collaboration and stimulating the potential for unique mental health benefits.