Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development

Arts and culture are essential for building community, supporting development, nurturing health and well-being, and contributing to economic opportunity. Across the United States, growing movements focused on equitable development and community-centered arts and culture are uniting to strengthen the equity impact of their work. Increasing collaboration between these two movements is yielding transformative and creative change.

PolicyLink is supporting, learning, and advocating to bolster the growing national community of practice that is steering public resources to embed arts, culture, equity, and development in the transformation of neighborhoods, cities, and regions. Our arts, culture, and equitable development efforts span the full breadth and depth of our work, touching health, infrastructure, equitable economy, workforce development, and every issue in our portfolio. Read our framing paper to learn more.

We Support

In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), PolicyLink is co-creating and assessing a technical assistance pilot for The National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program, and The Kresge Foundation's creative placemaking program. This pilot will identify and address opportunities, barriers, and capacity needs to help grantees be successful and catalyze long term community outcomes. We support to ensure that community-based organizations have the time, capacity and resources to advance impactful projects. 

We Learn

As the research and documentation partner for ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments initiative, we learn and reflect back to the field the processes of how non-arts organizations are integrating arts and culture to help achieve their community development goals. In 2015, six community development organizations, with little prior arts and culture experience, were selected to receive $3 million over the course of three years. Across urban, rural, and tribal areas, these organizations are grappling with local equity issues such as pressures of displacement; demographic, economic, and physical shifts; and questions around the preservation and development of identity. 

We Advocate

With the generous support from The Kresge Foundation, the PolicyLink Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development (ACED) initiative utilizes arts and culture methods to support equitable policy change in six places across the country. By the end of 2018, PolicyLink, with our partners, will distill sampled policies, model processes, and useful tools and frameworks to help guide arts and culture-informed policy change efforts to advance equity for the 100 million Americans living in poverty. 

Released in early 2017, "Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer" offers a framework for moving equitable development policy across multiple sectors — aided by and strengthening the use of arts and culture practice. We advocate in order to build the field of communities and professionals advancing equitable policy together.