ArtPlace's "comprehensive community planning and development" work focused on integrating arts and culture into the practice of key community development players who regularly addressing a variety of community issues and needs. These investments complement our related work that focused on particular issue areas and outcome sets, such as housing, health, and environment & energy.

Looking for stories of incorporating arts into community development?  Check out our partner PolicyLink’s new resource page: www.communitydevelopment.art !


Who were we focusing on reaching?

We know that there are critical actors in every community who are charged with thinking not just about one issue, but about how a community advances itself holistically.  In this work, we focused on two primary audiences:

  • Community planning and development organizations and other kinds of community-based organizations whose work crosses traditional siloes and who have a relationship to the long-term visioning and decision-making about how a community evolves 
  • Local government actors, particularly those people who deal most directly with the creation of locally-specific community-based development projects and initiatives along with elected officials and their direct staff who support these larger initiatives.


What have we done to support the advancement of creative placemaking practice with these audiences?

Community planning and development organizations:

Community Development Investments

As a way to learn alongside organizations in real time about what they need when learning how to work with artists, ArtPlace ran the Community Development Investments program from 2015-2018.

This one-time program provided $3 million to each of six community planning and development organizations, over three years, to incorporate arts and culture into their core work. ArtPlace America provided technical support through coaching, site visits, monthly webinars, connecting sites with national creative placemaking experts, ongoing advice and workshops with the national artist team of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, and convening in-person peer exchanges where the sites learned from each other’s achievements, setbacks, strategies, and recommendations.

Experiential learning was a primary goal of the Community Development Investments program and, as the research and documentation partner, PolicyLink worked with the participants to harvest knowledge and document lessons learned since the program’s launch.

The results of this work, which include policy briefs, creative documentation, and more, can be found on PolicyLink’s new resource website: www.communitydevelopment.art

Transforming Community Development through Arts & Culture

ArtPlace and PolicyLink also jointly partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to co-edit the Fall 2019 edition of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco publication Community Development Innovation Review  on "Transforming Community Development through Arts & Culture." The full digital issue can be found at https://sffed.us/sffedarts , and you can read more about what's in this issue here

People & Places

As a related investment, ArtPlace also supported the People & Places Conference in 2019, which is a joint collaboration of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations, the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, and the National Urban League, to integrate arts & culture, racial equity, and organizational change lessons from ArtPlace’s Community Development Investments Program into the conference program.  To learn more about how arts was integrated into this conference, you can read this blog.

State Enabling Environment & Framework Analysis

To complement investments in practice, ArtPlace also supported the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) and Americans for the Arts to investigate how states can successfully integrate arts and cultural strategies that advance equity into their community economic development systems over the long term. This project focused on analyzing the state enabling environment in three states: Minnesota, New Jersey, and Texas through partnerships between community development associations and state arts advocates to explore the public policies, financial resources, relationships, and capacity development necessary for creative placemaking to flourish in their states.  


Local Government 

ArtPlace America partnered with Civic Arts, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) to create new materials and reach new local government audiences.  You can read more about those investments here.