NASAA Notes: September 2022

September 13, 2022

From the Research Team

The Arts Strengthen Communities

NASAA and the National League of Cities have partnered to present a four-part blog series on the power of arts and culture to strengthen communities and support public well-being. The arts, creativity and culture are increasingly recognized as necessary infrastructure for healthy, prosperous and equitable communities, regardless of community size or geography.

To communicate how arts programs and policies can make a difference at the local level, the blog series convened national arts and civic leaders for a moderated discussion. The series highlights three distinct examples of programming—from the tens of thousands of programs across the country—that leverage the power of the arts to invest in community, artists, infrastructure and public well-being.

The first blog, The Power of Arts and Culture to Drive Transformational Change in Cities, features a framing conversation between Roberto Bedoya (cultural affairs manager at the City of Oakland), Jen Hughes (design and creative placemaking director at the National Endowment for the Arts) and Michael Rohd (Center for Civic Imagination at University of Montana).

Activating Civic Infrastructure through the Arts, the second blog in the series, explores the work of the Better Places Vermont program in Bennington. The program, which includes the Vermont Arts Council as a partner, uses “crowdgranting” to leverage funds that support community arts infrastructure and reinvigorate its downtown.

Things We Share opened to a recipe for smoky collard greens and cabbage. Hand-drawn sketches and a comic adorn the text on both pages.

A recipe for smoky collard greens and cabbage from the graphic-novel cookbook, Things We Share; the left page is a story about Jollof Rice. Image courtesy Jazzmen Lee-Johnson

The third blog, Artists Support Improved Public Health in Communities: Rhode Island’s Arts & Health Innovations, features the arts administrators and artists at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Rhode Island Department of Health, and the City of Providence Department of Arts, Culture + Tourism. Their work, and the state level Arts and Health Plan that guides it, aims to build trust and improve health outcomes in marginalized communities.

A group of youth sit at tables working on melted-wax artwork. A young girl is looking up, smiling at the camera.

Youth participate in a melted Crayon workshop with artist Kelly Poltorff at the Garage Workspace in Hugo, Colorado. Photo courtesy Tri-Town Arts

The final blog, Tri-Town Arts: Creativity as a New Frontier in Rural Colorado, tells the story of community leaders across three small rural towns on the eastern plains of Colorado. With funding from the Arts in Society grant—offered through a partnership including Colorado Creative Industries—local arts organizations are working together to strengthen the connections between the rural towns and provide arts opportunities for kids that would not otherwise exist.

*  *  *  *

Stay tuned for an announcement on an upcoming arts and health webinar that NASAA and the National League of Cities are planning. For any questions about creative placemaking, community development, public health or the blog series, contact NASAA Research Associate Declan Wicks.

In this Issue

From the Chair

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




To receive information regarding updates to our newslettter. Please fill out the form below.