Blog Posts for culture and communities

Can public art be used equitably?

Posted by Mickey Northcutt, Nov 21, 2018 0 comments

The benefits of public art are plentiful: inspiration, engagement, revitalization, economic development, beauty. Public art has all too often been directly associated with the displacement of families and individuals when used as an economic development tool in historically low-income communities without proper protections in place against displacement. With a well-thought-out anti-displacement strategy in place, public art can be transformative for historically low-income neighborhoods everywhere. The Punto Urban Art Museum, a public art initiative founded by North Shore Community Development Corporation in Salem, Massachusetts, is addressing this head on as we enter a third year of programming. After seeing increased levels of engagement when utilizing arts and creativity in our community organizing work and in a temporary pilot mural project, NSCDC began to take art and placemaking more seriously as a strategy to address the community priority of reducing stigma in the predominantly low-income, majority-minority Point neighborhood.

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40 Years Young: The Evolving Practice of Cultural Planning

Posted by Tom Borrup, Nov 08, 2018 0 comments

Research released this week by Americans for the Arts sheds light on the aspirations, accomplishments, shortcomings, and methods used in cultural planning over the past decade and compares findings with Craig Dreeszen’s similar—although more extensive—study from 1994. The data reveal that expectations of cultural planning have increased significantly over these 20-plus years, and that the greatest change is in the emphasis on serving community interests rather than a focus on the arts and cultural sector’s own needs. While community-wide cultural planning helps formulate aspirations and action strategies, it doesn’t ensure results. Where cultural plans also set their sights, but where outcomes fell short, is in the area of cultural equity—expanding resources for under-represented groups including immigrant populations, removing barriers to participation, and bolstering education and youth development. Fewer than half of cultural plans included specific actions to address diversity, equity, and inclusion—a surprising finding in 2017.

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Welcoming Travelers to a Community Through the Arts

Posted by Betsey Sanpere, May 29, 2018 0 comments

As the gateway to a city, airports are the first and last place that air travelers experience; they are a doorway for passengers and visitors alike. An airport has a broad range of functions, but its visual impact can run the gamut from a blank canvas to a celebration of sights and sounds. As the canvas on which impressions of a destination can be formed, airports have an opportunity to tell their story through permanent and temporary installations as well as through performing arts. When an airport chooses to introduce travelers to the arts and cultural assets of a region and beyond, wonderful things can happen. Each artistic effort says to travelers that not only do the arts matter, but also that the aesthetics of an airport are important.

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Arts and Gentrification: Potential for Change

Posted by Ms. Sylvia Fox, Apr 03, 2018 0 comments

In informed discussions about the role of the artist when communities undergo change, words like privilege, displacement, and tools of gentrification often come up. The point is not that the blame for the detrimental effects of gentrification lies in the artist—of course there are much larger forces at play. Rather, the arts are being used as a tool on the path to displacement. If national trends are any indication, the artists who encroach as community outsiders in fact have a stake similar to longtime residents in the process of gentrification. Across the country, the artists initially involved in neighborhood “transformations” are themselves pushed out as rents rise. Artists and arts organizations have an opportunity to recognize their place in the system, and to take responsibility in it.

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ART + the Verb TO BE

Posted by Ms. Con Christeson, Mar 13, 2017 0 comments

In many tribal cultures, there is no word for ART. The creative act is in the shape of a context, the texture of relationships, the sounds of inquiry. It is how people are, not just what they make or do...creativity and connection, ceremony and ritual, the magic of the marketplace. ART is how we ARE.

I have written a book about arts-based community development that aspires to start conversation and support listening and learning from/about each other.  At that point, we bring in the action verbs: to think, fund, make, show, see, sell. Together, we consider the challenges of: reflection, documentation, and, finally, the evaluation of who and how WE are.

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Making Space for the Arts: A Law Firm's Story of 5,475 (Nonbillable) Hours

Posted by Douglas Sorocco, Mar 02, 2017 0 comments

Let’s be frank: when it comes to creativity, innovation, and the arts, the first thing that comes to mind is not a law firm. I’ve had clients half-jokingly say that law firms are where creativity goes to die. Ouch! My rejoinder is that “we are different! We work worldwide assisting our creativity and innovation clients through patent, trademark, copyright, entertainment, and technology law. We are the cool lawyers!” In 2011, we chose to honor our true selves by converting a century-old warehouse in the Film Exchange District of Oklahoma City—an area previously known as “skid row”—into our offices. Most of our colleagues blanched, but we bet that the area had the potential to be reborn.

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