ARC Culture and Community Design Program

Arts Alumni at I Heart ATL installation
We Love Buford Highway, a 2022 Community Partner, and their project team

Purpose and Goals

The ARC Culture and Community Design program seeks to advance arts and culture as an essential part of inclusive and equitable planning in communities across metro Atlanta. One way we do this is through an immersive seven-month program where community organizations serving underrepresented populations collaborate with local officials and planners to design projects and planning initiatives focused on arts and culture.

The program’s goals are:

  • Supporting the capacity of these underrepresented communities to participate in and lead local and regional planning processes, with ARC as a collaborator and as a conduit to funding and execution;
  • Educating and training artists, culture bearers, planners, designers, and local government officials to collaborate on planning and community engagement projects; and
  • Establishing lessons learned on inclusive, equitable, and creative planning that we can share as best practices for future implementation.

Program Description

ARC Culture and Community Design brings artists, culture bearers, planning and design professionals, and people working in local government together with community organizations to develop arts and culture-focused community design projects. The program intentionally seeks to include individuals and organizations representing communities that have been historically marginalized or excluded in local and regional planning processes.

ARC Culture and Community Design is designed for early- and mid-career professionals who identify with one or more of the communities described above and have demonstrated experience in community advocacy, organizing, planning, or design.  The program will run from February to September 2023, meeting at least once a month and requiring additional time to work on projects.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop and enhance skills that will allow them to design and lead arts and culture-based community design and planning; advance equity and justice in their communities; and build relationships with other practitioners and future collaborators.

We are seeking both community organizations and individuals to apply for the 2023 cohort. Applications are now open.

For Community-Based Organizations

Deadline: Thursday, November 10, 2022

For Individuals

Extended Deadline: Friday, December 9, 2022

Community-Based Organizations

Seeking Community-Based Organizations

ARC is seeking organizations that have identified community needs that can be addressed through culture-focused planning and design initiatives. Interested organizations should present challenges or opportunities, as well as desired outcomes, as a part of their application.

ARC is specifically seeking to include organizations that represent communities traditionally marginalized or excluded in local and regional planning processes, including but not limited to, Asian American, Arab American, Black, Latino, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, Native American, Pacific Islander, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, residents with low-income, older adults, and young people.

We strongly prefer that organizations applying for the ARC Culture and Community Design program be represented by one staff person for the duration of the program. This staff person should be identified in the organization’s application and will receive complimentary admission to the program.

ARC will select two community organizations with strong proposals for a specific planning challenge or opportunity related to ARC’s core functions and key priorities. Those selected will be designated Community Partners for the duration of the program.

Selection criteria include the following:

  • We are looking for organizations that demonstrate deep commitment and experience within the communities they serve, possess the capacity to be able to participate fully in the program, and are ready to implement the ideas and recommendations that emerge from this program.
  • ARC is seeking projects that will be eligible for further ARC funding opportunities, including projects that advance transportation and mobility equity, sustainable land use, housing affordability, or environmental and climate justice.
  • We are seeking applications that clearly articulate the community challenge or opportunity, as well as desired project outcomes.
  • We are looking for organizations that have the potential for shared learning, adoption, and implementation across the region.
  • As the planning agency for the 11-county region, we seek representation from organizations from all over the region.

Selected Community Partners will be asked to make the following commitments:

  • Two 1-hour virtual or in-person planning meetings with the ARC team (December and January)
  • A 20-minute in-person presentation to the Culture and Community Design cohort at the beginning of the program
  • Three 90-minute virtual or in-person meetings with the assigned project group (between February and September)
  • A 2 1/2-hour in-person guided site visit and community design session (February/March)
  • Planning support and coordination for the in-person community engagement session/activity (June)
  • Attendance and participation/feedback in-person for final presentations at the closing session (September)
  • A 1-hour virtual or in-person debrief meeting with the ARC team (October/November)
  • Possible further conversations regarding project funding and implementation through other ARC programs (October-December)

If your organization is interested in submitting a proposal for the 2023 ARC Culture and Community Design program, you are encouraged to attend an online information session on October 13 or October 20.


ARC’s Commitment to Arts & Culture in Planning

As metro Atlanta’s comprehensive planning organization, ARC is committed to serving our increasingly diverse region by working closely and intentionally with communities that have been previously excluded or harmed by local or regional planning.

Partnering with artists, creatives, culture bearers, and community-based organizations, particularly with those serving underrepresented communities, ensures that the region’s diverse populations, community traditions, and cultural practices are actively included in decisions that affect their lives.

Over the past two years, the ARC’s Community Engagement and the Arts team has been refining the ARC’s Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) leadership program to focus on improving ARC’s engagement with historically marginalized and excluded communities. Beginning with ALMA 2021 and continuing with ALMA 2022, our team has led this evolution by working with artists, creatives, and culture bearers to reimagine traditional community planning and engagement processes.

Arts alumni at the Ballethnic Dance Company
Arts alumni at the Ballethnic Dance Company, a 2022 Community Partner