Building Communities Around Arts & Culture
A concert in the town square. A mural on the side of an abandoned building. A former school turned into a showcase of local history.
Often overlooked and underappreciated, these – and countless other examples of arts and culture - play an important role in defining a community and making it a thriving, vibrant place where people want to live, work, and play.
That’s why the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) worked with stakeholders and the public to develop an Arts, Culture, & Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan. The plan provides a blueprint for how ARC can better integrate these aspects into its own planning work, while also encouraging more thought and planning around arts and culture in communities as they envision their futures.
Over the past six years, ARC’s arts program developed three core programs:
- a series of cultural forums,
- Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and a
- Atlanta Regional Public Art Program.
The new plan evaluates the work to date and charts a new path aimed at creating a vision for further integrating arts and culture into the work of ARC.
Goals of the Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan
For starters, ARC will use the strategic plan to change the way it operates, infusing arts, culture, and creative placemaking into all of its work; whether that work is planning for the region’s future or providing services that help residents and caregivers today.
The hope is that by strategically adding arts and culture to everything it does, ARC can find ways to help local governments do more along those lines, as well.
According to the input ARC received, stakeholders hope that ARC - through the Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan - will:
- Demonstrate how ARC will support the diverse cultural practices and traditions across the region and work to ensure diversity in arts and culture is a key element of the region’s identity.
- Advocate for artists, creatives, and arts and cultural organizations having a seat at the table in business, civic planning, and decision-making discussions to enhance holistic thinking and bring a different viewpoint to problem solving and a unique voice that needs to be heard.
- Lead the region in promoting and using arts, culture, and creative placemaking in planning across disciplines and jurisdictions in an integrated approach that improves the quality of life and makes the region more equitable for everyone.
- Incorporate arts and culture in the agency’s work and day-to-day operations and contribute to a greater understanding of the impacts of arts and culture in regional and local planning.
- Encourage a collaborative and inclusive ecosystem of arts, culture, and creative placemaking across the region.
ARC will create two working groups to assist with the implementation of this plan within ARC and in the region’s many jurisdictions. The first group will be an internal group to encourage implementation in ARC’s plans and services. The other will include the ARC group as well as external partners who will collaborate to foster implementation around the region.
The process for developing this plan began in August 2018. It was spearheaded by a 28-person steering committee comprised of leaders from arts nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and educational institutions throughout the region.
Arts and Culture at ARC
Since 2012, the Atlanta Regional Commission has recognized the need to include arts, culture, and creative placemaking as a planning area and has staffed a full-time position and produced several annual arts programs. Since 2016 this work area has been included in the newly formed Community Partnerships group along with the agency’s other leadership programs (LINK, Regional Leadership Institute and Model Atlanta Regional Commission) and the regional economic competitiveness strategy, CATLYST. Along with these other programs, arts and culture is an issue that intersects with all other areas in the agency, cutting across the full breadth of its work.