skip to content

Regional Arts & Culture

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

Public art on a MARTA overpass

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 Department.

To learn more about ARC’s arts and culture programming and services, please contact Roshani Thakore, Head of the Community Engagement and Culture team at rthakore@atlantaregional.org.

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

Culture and Community Design

ARC’s Culture & Community Design program (C&CD) is 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.

 

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 produced more than 10 forums on topics including arts and aging, arts and economic prosperity, and creative placemaking.

In 2024, ARC will use the Cultural Forums to create a regional dialogue around art and civic engagement centering Queer, Trans, Disabled, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (QTDBIPOC) artists, culture bearers, and arts leaders. These gatherings offer a space for historically underrepresented creatives to build community power, share skills and resources, and co-create a collective action that engages a civic or social issue. They are a crucial part of the ARC’s goal to sow seeds of co-creation and community agency across the metro-Atlanta region, and each Forum is collaboratively designed and led by community members to amplify the collective voice of arts and culture.

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.

Click here for 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.

Roshani Thakore
Director, Community Engagement & Culture Program
rthakore@atlantaregional.org

Eleanor Swensson
Senior Community Engagement and Culture Planner
eswensson@atlantaregional.org

Antemil Jorkey
Community Engagement and Culture Planner
ajorkey@atlantaregional.org

 

Mission
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.

Vision
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.
Powered by ARC
33°n
CDAP
Community Planning Academy
ConnectA
Empowerline
Georgia Commute Options
Green Communities
LCI
LINK
MARC
Metro Atlanta Speaks
MNG Water Planning District
RLI
State of the Region
UASI
WorkSource GA
33°n
CDAP
Community Planning Academy
ConnectA
Empowerline
Georgia Commute Options
Green Communities
LCI
LINK
MARC
Metro Atlanta Speaks
MNG Water Planning District
RLI
State of the Region
UASI
WorkSource GA