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.

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.
People gathered outdoors around a table.

We Need the Data—But Can’t Forget the People—in Creative Placemaking

However difficult, altering one’s viewpoint of a community is a crucial step, because creative placemaking’s overarching goal is to reach everyone where they are, and you can’t do that if you begin with a well thought-out plan in hand.

Gentrification Was the Killer in Oakland Fire

It’s usually hard to distinguish a victim of gentrification. Many people have a story of getting priced out of their neighborhoods, of being looked...

An Artist’s Way of Seeing: Community Engagement in Creative Placemaking

How are artists converting the power and creativity of art into community-led change?

Conflict and Placemaking: Tactical Urbanism on Nicollet Mall

Earlier this year, the City of Minneapolis broke ground on a $50 million overhaul of Nicollet Mall, a 12-block centerpiece of its downtown. Like...
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.
A smiling African-American man in a baseball cap sits at a table in a social lounge type room with other people in the background.

Keeping Seniors Healthy by Fostering Connections and Community

For high needs seniors with chronic illnesses, health is not merely—or even mostly—a matter for medical professionals.
A window sign that reads "poems."

Poem: “This Yes”

When the federal government required the mills of Cohoes to hire “colored” workers or lose war contracts, the mills relented but Cohoes maintained its segregation. Workers of color settled across the river in North Troy.

False Narratives About Artists Harm Artists, and Communities

In 2002, Richard Florida published a book that kicked off a wave of urban development efforts based on the belief that architects, artists, musicians,...
An abstract mural in red, blue, green, yellow, and black.

Challenges of Space and Place in Creative Placemaking

Some of us, myself included, are susceptible to the inaccurate thinking that when the arts are involved, the complications that can arise with traditional community building are lessened.

Not All Artists Are Young. Or Childless.

On Dec. 3, the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland became the deadliest in the city’s history, claiming the lives of 36 individuals. The warehouse...
mural artist

Arts Build Community

CDCs now recognize that art and cultural activities can be useful tools toward building a community's identity, meaning, and spirit. But bank regulators have not yet reached a sufficient level of comfort with this new strategy.

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.

Not Your Average Community Garden

A good community garden is a space that nurtures hope, natural abundance, and growth, and eventually moves beyond food and into the realm of relationship-building that can help sustain healthy communities.
A woman pants a mural of Neil deGrasse Tyson on the side of a New York building.

Working with Local Artists

In response to an influx of high-profile street art, one Brooklyn community development organization decided to invest in homegrown art and artists, and learn how to support them.

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.

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.

The Catalyzing Power of Art

Art can be an economic engine for neighborhoods, but sometimes locally-based artists need some support to kick their businesses into gear, and community-based organizations are stepping up.
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."
A building in East Oakland with colorful murals painted on the wall. A graffitied fence is to the right of the building.

Urban Art or Graffiti Vandalism?

Review of Stations of the Elevated, by Manfred Kirchheimer, 1981.