In March, Americans for the Arts announced Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts, a comprehensive, three-year initiative to increase understanding of the value of the arts and investment in the arts. The initiative will help leaders and the general public better understand arts and culture as central to creating and sustaining healthier, more vibrant communities in the United States.
Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts Initiative
This comprehensive $10.5 million suite of programs is set to generate a national dialogue and engage key stakeholders. Over the next three years, the Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts Initiative will activate a diverse set of programming spanning public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The framework of Transforming America’s Communities for the Arts will employ five major strategies:
- convening local, state, and national leaders in more than 100 locations nationwide;
- expanding partnerships between the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors;
- creating positive cultural policy change at the federal, state and local levels;
- mobilizing decision-makers and stakeholders with facts, compelling research and models of dynamic community problem solving utilizing the power of the arts; and
- integrating artists and arts professionals as thought leaders into key decision-making efforts.
The initiative incorporates four key elements: 10 commissioned topic-based essays exploring different intersections of arts and other sectors, a series of regional and national convenings, three books, and a DIY toolkit.
New Community Visions Initiative
As part of the Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts Initiative, we announced the New Community Visions Initiative, a two-year effort to explore the future of local arts in America and the role of community-based arts enabling organizations, funders, cultural institutions, and artists in shaping that future. The project is centered on the role of arts and culture in impacting 10 sectors central to the healthy communities of the future: tourism, the creative workforce, prisons and rehabilitation, education, health and wellness, intra-community strength, inter-community dialogue, political activation, environment and sustainability, and transportation and infrastructure.
In May, we published Arts and America: Arts, Culture and the Future of America’s Communities, the first of three books in the Community Visions Initiative, which includes 10 commissioned essays on non-arts sectors, as well as an opening essay from Americans for the Arts Vice President of Local Arts Advancement, Clay Lord, and a robust set of resources for learning more about engaging in work with other sectors.
The New Community Visions Initiative is made possible through support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—and in partnership with 30 local, state, and national arts organizations, arts agencies, and foundations.
DIY Community Visioning Forum
In October, to kick off National Arts and Humanities Month, we debuted the first-ever DIY Community Visioning Forum, a tool kit designed for people—both inside and outside the arts—to gather and think about how the arts can help make healthier, more vibrant, and more equitable communities over time. With this workbook and tool kit, your organization will have everything you need to set up a three-hour visioning and planning conversation that you can host yourself! Participants can explore what role the arts can play in pursuing the vision of that idealized community, and how individuals, arts institutions, and support organizations can help to achieve that vision.
Launched in the summer of 2015, ArtsU is an online platform that seeks to expand and organize Americans for the Arts' existing professional development and educational resources. By bringing the community of arts practitioners and local arts agencies together online, we hope to build an ever-broader and encompassing community online.
ArtsU includes live webinars, on-demand webinars, and digital lessons, which are self-contained, interactive, anytime, e-learning modules.
All ArtsU content is free to Americans for the Arts members.