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.

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.
A woman wearing a white shirt and pants smiles outside as she listens to music from her headphones.

New Visions of Justice Through the Camera Lens

An experimental learning opportunity allows formerly incarcerated individuals to use photography to explore ideas of freedom, complex relationships, and their personal experience with the criminal justice system.

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...

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...
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.

Educate, Motivate, Organize

An Interview with Chokwe Lumumba, mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
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.
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
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.

A Tale of Two Murals in Albany

Having had the experience of public art with no public involvement, a community organization set out to show there could be another way.

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.

Let’s Turn this Old Barn into a Theater…Part II

Moving into a newly adapted space usually entails a leap in operations—not a slow, steady climb.

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.

A Creative Impetus for Cultural Pride

The Little Tokyo Service Center uses art to inspire activism, and increase awareness of the community’s cultural assets.
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...
child painting

Art Matters–In Rural Classrooms and Beyond

Its surprising that we must continually fight to make sure that the arts have a role in public schools, and prove that our low-income communities are worthy of arts and culture-related investments.

How Artists Helped a Housing Organization Adapt to Demographic Change

An in-depth look at the lessons one housing organization learned after receiving a multimillion grant to integrate arts and culture strategies in its work. Has the organization changed the way it operates?

Bringing Together Arts and Community Development

Who has been behind the large increase in financial support for and attention to what has been termed "creative placemaking" over the past couple years, and why?
two couples dance in traditional Mexican ballet folklorico style

Redevelopment That Preserves Cultural Heritage

Preserving and fortifying longstanding culture is key to social cohesion in a community. How can we make sure it's given equal priority when planning for and funding redevelopment?

Arts in Public Schools: Essential. Life Saving.

This is dedicated to that Little Girl who experienced the first part of life in such a hard way who used to retreat to her world...