Building Community Wealth through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: An Invitation to Action

December 17, 2020

By: Common Future

Alongside the release of ArtPlace’s economic development sector research, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Common Future, a national community wealth building network that will deepen the arts, culture, and community wealth building field in 2021 and beyond. Below we excerpt Common Future’s ‘Invitation to Action’ from our newly published field scan, “Building Community Wealth through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development.” Download the field scan to learn more about the work ahead, and about the critical role of arts and cultural practice in building ‘a new economy that works for all and extracts from none.’ 


Invitation to Action 

As a community wealth building intermediary, Common Future works at the intersection of racial equity and economic justice. The work of ArtPlace and this body of research authored by Danya Sherman sits at the intersection of arts and culture and community wealth building. Her findings already are beginning to inform and influence our practice going forward. We are honored to help share this work, intend to build on it with both substance and humility, and invite the reader to join us.

The field scan reflects what we see in our network of leaders working locally to address generational economic challenges. When their solutions are at the intersection of arts, community building, and economic development, they too often operate in relative isolation with insufficient resources.

To follow the release of this report, Common Future will deploy dedicated program funds from ArtPlace into a small number of community wealth-building efforts that deliberately engage arts and culture as integral to the strategy. We know that what’s needed, however, is extended commitment and widespread investment beyond these one-time community advised grants. We would like to continue support to those same efforts and more, over the long term, and will consult with cultural and community leaders to refine how we embrace the connections of  arts, culture, equity, and economic justice.

We invite and encourage our colleagues in philanthropy and economic change to consider community-led, arts-integrated solutions to generational economic challenges. Where are the opportunities to invest in the innovations, experiments, and existing work happening now in underinvested communities? How can more of us make research & development capital available to practicing leaders who are prototyping an equitable economy and dynamic culture?

We invite you to join us, as we join those who have pursued the inquiry and organizing agenda of ArtPlace throughout its history alongside the many arts and cultural organizers and efforts boosting this work. Together, we can drive investment to creatives and community builders in Black/Brown, rural, and other underinvested communities and move forward an equitable economy.