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.

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.
people painting

Working Through Growing Pains in Artist/Community Developer Collaborations

At their roots, both the arts and community development amplify a people’s voice. And while this connection makes sense on paper, it can look a lot different in practice. We would like to share three insights from our work together that speak to the promise, and peril, of such collaboration.
community of people gathered

Reimagining a Neighborhood, The Way It Ought To Be

The arts have a long history of highlighting social issues and creating public conversation that results in measurable change. As an arts administrator with...
porch party

Sitting on a Porch Can Be Good for Your Health

To help combat isolation and reweave the connecting fabric that had been lost, a neighborhood arts center launches an initiative that eventually became a movement.
speech conversation balloons

Starting Conversations with Public Art

An arts collaboration comes up with a creative spark to facilitate discussions about neighborhood change.
video in window

Regrets of an Accidental Placemaker

Had I unintentionally contributed to the gentrification of my neighborhood and other neighborhoods around Washington, D.C.?
wall of stones

Poem: ms. margaret on her landline phone with ruth, talking about her new neighbors...

A poem engaging equity for the author's godmother and other women who begin their sentences with the word "chile."
burlap with screenprinted words

The $9 Jar of Artisanal Pickles: Equity and Local Food

Sustainability is about thriving, not just surviving. We will not thrive if we are poorly paid martyrs to a good cause, and thus, in a healthy, diverse and vital food system, some of our efforts might need to be directed to those who can pay nine dollars for a jar of pickles.

The Gentrification Will Be Televised

The North Pole opens discussion between residents of gentrifying neighborhoods and elevates the personal stories and memories of those being displaced.
several mural images

Generating Civic Power in North Philadelphia

An organization embarks on a community-driven design process to transform two vacant row homes into a site for residents, artists, and law enforcement to collaborate on new public safety strategies rooted in care rather than control.
Two people partake in the Healing Hands project.

Using Art to Create Community at a Clinic

Arts projects at a Minneapolis clinic created a natural connection between people who might not otherwise interact.
Miracle on 42nd Street movie poster

Miracle on 42nd Street: A Tale of Artist Housing

The story behind a bold idea to create a subsidized housing community for artists in a New York City neighborhood.
Child showing a story book to another child.

How This Museum Supports Community Integration and Trauma Recovery

Using artistic expression to de-stigmatize and treat trauma.