Regional Arts & Culture

Arts and Culture is essential for building a thriving, inclusive, and economically healthy region

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.

Thriving communities require more than infrastructure. The region’s soul must be fed. Arts and cultural opportunities lead to a vibrant region and a thriving economy.

ARC Arts and Culture Programs

Since 2012, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has included arts and culture as a staffed focus area. Arts and culture at the ARC is staffed by the Community Engagement and the Arts team (see below) within the Community Development Group.

To learn more about ARC’s arts and culture programming and services, please contact Marian Liou, Director of the Community Engagement and the Arts team at

The Community Engagement and the Arts team manages the following core programs:

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA)

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA), encourages artists, cultural workers, creatives, designers, urban planners, and local government leaders throughout the community to take an active role in addressing community issues and challenges. The program brings these leaders together for five days of classes and group projects spread over a five-month period.

This mural on the side of the King Memorial MARTA station was the first project completed with help from the Atlanta Regional Public Art program.

Cultural Forums

The Atlanta Regional Commission regularly convenes Cultural Forums that bring voices and ideas from outside the region together with local leaders to discuss arts and culture topics in a public setting. Since 2013, the ARC has produces more than 10 forums on topics including arts and aging, arts and economic prosperity, and creative placemaking.

ARC Arts, Culture, & Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan

In 2019, the ARC’s board adopted a regional Arts, Culture, & Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan designed to better integrate arts and culture into the agency’s planning work.

To ensure arts and culture are central to regional planning, 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 elements into its own planning work, while also encouraging more thought and planning around arts and culture in communities as they envision their futures.

The plan was spearheaded by a 28-person steering committee comprised of leaders from arts nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and educational institutions throughout the region, with two focus groups to help assist with plan implementation.

The plan:

  • Demonstrates 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.
  • Advocates 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.
  • Promotes 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.
  • Incorporates 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.
  • Encourages a collaborative and inclusive ecosystem of arts, culture, and creative placemaking across the region.

More information about past arts and culture reports and plans.

ARC Community Engagement and the Arts Team

Arts and Culture at the ARC is staffed by the Community Engagement and the Arts team, within the Community Development Group.

Marian Liou
Director, Community Engagement and the Arts

Josh Phillipson
Principal, Arts and Culture and Creative Placemaking

Rachel Will
Senior Planner

To reimagine community engagement by embedding arts and culture within our programs, practices, policies, and opportunities with Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color that have been historically marginalized and excluded to improve community outcomes and quality of life.

Communities in the Atlanta region that have been historically and systemically marginalized and excluded are centered and supported as partners and co-creators in the planning process to express and fulfill their ideas and desires through their own social, artistic, and cultural practices.

Core Values

  • Equity and Justice: Through our community engagement and arts and culture work, we commit to advancing social, cultural, economic, and environmental equity and justice for, by, and with people, especially artists and culture bearers, and organizations from these communities.
  • Collaboration and Co-Design: We affirm the knowledge, power, and joy within the communities we serve. We seek specifically to collaborate with communities that planning has historically and systemically excluded and often harmed by practicing the mindsets, methods, and conditions of co-design.
  • Curiosity and Courage: We commit to taking risks, embracing curiosity and imagination, and acting with courage and resolve to navigate constant complexity and occasional conflict while challenging an inequitable and unsustainable status quo.
  • Reflexivity: We acknowledge our positionality, privilege, and power as employees in a regional planning agency tasked with designing and managing programs and policies that influence community decisions and outcomes. We commit to transparency and accountability, questioning our assumptions, and regularly evaluating ourselves and our actions.