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.

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.
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.
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...
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.
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.

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,...

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...
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.

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 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.

Looking at Places Through Artists’ Eyes

How an Alaskan housing authority plans to focus on creative placemaking as a development strategy to better reflect the communities it serves.

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.

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?
A woman tells her story about life in Little Tokyo while someone holds an old photo of her and her coworkers.

Preserving the Character of Little Tokyo

In the wake of rapid gentrification, an organization in Los Angeles leverages the arts to celebrate a community's rich heritage and keep social equity as a priority. But what is the core character of Little Tokyo?
The New Breed Bass Band plays their trumpets.

Keeping Your Artists Close to Home

New Orleans relies on its artists as a core part of its economy. What can be done when those artists can no longer afford to call the city home?
A booth is set up for residents to ask about a project called 303 ArtWay. In this photo, an ArtWay representative chats with three residents.

Creating Miles of Art in the Mile High City

How a Denver organization intends to create a 9-mile art-, health-, and heritage-themed bike and pedestrian trail that will feature authentic cultural expression.

Affordable Housing and . . . a Museum in Harlem

For over 30 years, Broadway Housing Communities has developed its own formula for meeting the housing needs of West Harlem's lowest-income residents. One of its unorthodox ingredients has been art galleries, and now, there's a children's museum in its newest building.

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.
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.
Poet traci kato-kiriyama laughs at the microphone.

Poetry on the Panel

Attendees at the 2015 PolicyLink Equity Summit experienced something unexpected when they walked into many of the panels and workshops: a poetry performance.