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.

A woman tells her story about life in Little Tokyo while someone holds an old photo of her and her coworkers.

Preserving the Character of Little Tokyo

In the wake of rapid gentrification, an organization in Los Angeles leverages the arts to celebrate a community's rich heritage and keep social equity as a priority. But what is the core character of Little Tokyo?
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.

Crossing the Digital Divide During COVID

Flyers, phone calls, and podcasts, oh my! Organizations blend past and present strategies to stay in touch with community members.

Art Just Became Even More Essential

Coming mere days after the election, the reference to the famous Audre Lorde declaration, “Art gives us tools other than the master’s tools,” felt apropos. The people in the room were ready to hear any message of hope. I was no exception.
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.

Unlikely Poets / Guerrilla Haiku Movement / Sharing The Sidewalk

We hailed down a police car in Orange, N.J., and Police Director John Rappaport pulled over. We explained our situation. He thought for a...
Mural on wall with faces of girls looking into the distance.

Art in the Face of Gentrification

Four representatives of New York City organizations discuss their employment of art and artists to empower residents in the face of gentrification.

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.
Poet traci kato-kiriyama laughs at the microphone.

Poetry on the Panel

Attendees at the 2015 PolicyLink Equity Summit experienced something unexpected when they walked into many of the panels and workshops: a poetry performance.
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.

Arts for Community Control: Planning an Arts and Innovation District Without Displacement

Jason Moreno first learned about redevelopment efforts taking place in his Boston neighborhood on a sunny summer afternoon in July 2018 at his local...

An Island Where There Is a Standard

Like so many of its counterparts across the country, Brick’s is more than just a barbershop in Albany, N.Y. It’s a haven in a troubled neighborhood.
Residents in Austin, Texas, sit in a micro-unit home.

Flipping the Script

A nonprofit forgoes the typical community meeting for a "living charrette," which leads to greater neighborhood feedback about a proposed 24-acre development in Austin, Texas.
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.
“La Crucifixion de Don Pedro,” the oldest Puerto Rican mural in Humboldt Park.

Conflict and Placemaking in Humboldt Park: Paseo Boricua

The area surrounding Paseo Boricua is not exclusive space, but in a gentrifying part of the city, it is undeniably—and perhaps unavoidably—contested space. 
Public art in Pittsfield, Massachusetts: A utility box on a sidewalk is covered with interlocking hands in all the colors of the rainbow.

Could Public Art on Utility Boxes Displace Communication?

What's not to like about colorful art on utility boxes? Well, in some places that drab infrastructure might be performing informal community functions...

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.
The New Breed Bass Band plays their trumpets.

Keeping Your Artists Close to Home

New Orleans relies on its artists as a core part of its economy. What can be done when those artists can no longer afford to call the city home?
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.

More Than a Mural: How Arts and Culture Advance the Mission of the Seattle...

Arts programs at one public housing development in Seattle have eased the challenges of redevelopment by helping residents define what the community means to them.