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.

Patrons looking at gallery wall.

If We Want the Arts in Baltimore, We Need Its Artists

Artists have left their mark on Station North and paved the way for an arts district, but the organically-developed communal live/work spaces that play such a vital role in helping make Baltimore an arts mecca are an endangered species.
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.
“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. 

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.
Three Minneapolis residents chat while sitting at a table outdoors.

Artists as Organizers

Creative placemaking means more than merely adding public art into the mix. To be sustainable it needs to build relationships—and power.

Ballin’ at the Graveyard

The documentary Ballin’ at the Graveyard looks at the hardball culture and strong supportive ties between players that have brought two generations of men...
A sprawling white “hipster” is memorialized against a backdrop of romanticized visions of blight in a mural that dominates an intersection in the historically Black 7th Ward in New Orleans.

The Cultural Ramifications of Gentrification in New Orleans

Gentrification is not just physical displacement; it’s cultural appropriation across entire neighborhoods. Artists have an obligation not to participate.
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.
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.

Creative Placemaking: Honoring the Past While Welcoming our Futures

A discussion about honoring the history of a place while actively working to encourage its growth and foster positive change.
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 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.
speech conversation balloons

Starting Conversations with Public Art

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

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.

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,...
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."
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.
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.

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...