These programs have demonstrated that artists working in partnership with government are essential workers who bring creative practices and solutions to issues that municipalities face. In the years ahead, municipal and county government officials face unfathomable challenges in recovery and reconstruction stemming from COVID-19.

When partners invest in understanding each other’s skills, needs, and language to clarify desired outcomes, and maintain a critical lens on issues of power, equity, and accountability, their projects have a much higher chance of both artistic and pragmatic success. This premise is substantiated in the Municipal-Artist Partnerships (MAP) guide developed by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, and A Blade of Grass, a national nonprofit that supports socially engaged artists, with support from Our Town, National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. Based upon research and interviews with two dozen experienced municipal staffers and artists, the MAP guide profiles programs that embed artists in municipal government for the public good and captures principles, best practices, impacts, and lessons learned.

The free, online MAP guide is designed for artists, municipal agency personnel, and intermediary organizations working with them and:

  • introduces a spectrum of partnership/program models;
  • features the voices of partners on common challenges and ways to approach them;
  • underscores guiding values such as equity and fair compensation for artists’ professional expertise;
  • offers profiles of partnerships, tools, model documents, and print and video resources from a number of remarkable partnerships; and
  • testifies to the value-add and impact of engaging artists in municipal settings.

Read the full article about artists and local government partnerships by Pam Korza at Americans for the Arts.