6 Reasons Government Should Collaborate with Artists

July 16, 2019

By: ArtPlace America

This month on the ArtPlace blog, our theme is “power and the people.” We’re asking questions like: How can creative placemaking practitioners access people in positions of authority? Who are the artists and organizers blazing powerful new trails in their communities? How can we all use our inherent power to better effect positive change where we live?

Mallory Nezam—a San Francisco Bay Area-based civic artist, communications strategist, creative consultant, and much more—published a story on Medium earlier this year that addresses these questions directly.

A few of our top takeaways from her list:

  • On community-government healing: “After decades of civil rights infractions, discriminatory housing policy, predatory lending, uneven urban design, environmental racism and police brutality, trust between minority communities and government is understandably fractured. These relationships will not heal overnight. With their expertise in catalyzing creative and honest communication, artists and culture bearers are key players in this process of civic repair.”
  • On people-powered government: “Folx are fed up of being left out of the decision-making that governs their communities. Many civic artists are experts at genuine and refreshing ways of engaging a wide-variety of people in processes.”
  • On making hidden beauty visible: “What makes a place tick? What are we overlooking? Too often in contemporary cities money talks, and culture-making is pushed to the background. … Artists help us see, center and celebrate the beauty of our neighborhoods and our communities.”


Read “6 Reasons Government Should Collaborate with Artists” in its entirety.



Related reading on the ArtPlace blog:

- AIRs Bring Fresh Perspective to Government

- Guerilla Artist Swings into Government

- Our “Why Artists Make Good Civic Leaders” series:

  • Natalya Macker: County Commissioner of Teton County, Wyoming; Artistic Director of Off Square Theatre Company
  • Carlos Contreras: Director of Innovation & Marketing for the Albuquerque Mayor’s Office; National Poetry Slam champion
  • Pete Muldoon: Mayor of Jackson, Wyoming; bandleader of Major Zephyr
  • Randall Szott: Member, Vermont House of Representatives; social practice artist and scholar