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.

An Appetite for Art in Small Town Minnesota

In rapidly diversifying rural Minnesota, an ArtPlace grant is seen as a resource for celebrating cultures and creating bridges between them.

Poem: “Tires Stacked in the Hallways of Civilization”

Yes, Your Honor, there are rodents, said the landlord to the judge, but I let the tenant have a cat. Besides, he stacks his tires in the hallway.
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Starting Conversations with Public Art

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

Interview with Richard Baron, CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar

It still surprises many people that Richard Baron, the CEO of one of the largest for-profit affordable housing developers, got his start in the field supporting public housing tenants in a rent strike.

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...
Man with a cane stands at the top of set of stairs in a park .

Poem: “Gentrification”

I have seen a neighborhood eat itself for dinner
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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.

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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.

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.
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Regrets of an Accidental Placemaker

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

The (In)Efficiencies of Scale

ArtsBlog (the blog of Americans for the Arts) recently hosted a forum called:  “So, Does Size Matter?”  The short answer is hell yes it...
Front porch with three chairs.

Taking Back the Front Porch: Using Art to Reclaim Community Identity

The front porch is a space in-between our private family space and our more public spaces where we create our own definition of “community.” In many parts of Chicago, this space is often a battleground.
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.