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.

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.
community of people gathered

Reimagining a Neighborhood, The Way It Ought To Be

The arts have a long history of highlighting social issues and creating public conversation that results in measurable change. As an arts administrator with...

Educate, Motivate, Organize

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

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.
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.
B. Ruppe drugstore in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, NM

Regenerating a Place of Cultural Pride and Healing in Albuquerque’s Barelas Neighborhood

Restoring a community's culturally significant site in Albuquerque to be a true economic resource as well as a source of healing.

A Community Planning Process–Even A Good One–Is Not Enough

Just the inherent language of community “transformation” signals that what has come before is not worth holding on to, and renders the history of these public housing sites insignificant.
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.
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.

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...
speech conversation balloons

Starting Conversations with Public Art

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

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.
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.

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.

The Gentrification Will Be Televised

The North Pole opens discussion between residents of gentrifying neighborhoods and elevates the personal stories and memories of those being displaced.

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.
Kids stand in front of a mural in Thomas, West Virginia.

An Antidote to the Negativity Surrounding Rural America

With all the news of downward trends in rural America, this rural sociologist says he finally has something to smile about.

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.