Giving Compass' Take:

• More artists and arts organizations are incorporating civic engagement practices to inspire social action within communities. 

• How can art and civic engagement connect? Are there any programs in your community that are applying these practices? 

• Read more about encouraging youth civic engagement through the arts. 


The role of the artist is changing.

In the midst of these challenging times, civic engagement has become the focus of attention across many sectors and fields. More than ever, the arts are promoting greater awareness and understanding of community issues, contributing to shifts in thinking and in attitude. I see artists and arts organizations across the country being integrated into practices of civic engagement, and applying the power of artistic imagination to inform, inspire, engage, and motivate social action. I continue to applaud state and municipal governments across the U.S. for embracing such collaborations.

Integrating the arts and creative thinking into a city’s practices and policies is vital. In July 2015, Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh announced the creation of Boston Artists-in-Residence (AIR), as part of the cultural planning effort Boston Creates. Boston AIR embeds local artists inside city departments to promote creative thinking into the work of municipal departments and planning efforts. Eleven artists received a stipend while studying and expanding their own civic and social practice, and collaborated on large-scale projects alongside liaisons from city departments, including Public Works,

Property and Construction Management, Parks and Recreation, Veterans’ Services, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Education, Policy, Neighborhood Development, Women’s Advancement, Elderly Commission, and the Boston Police Department. Three of the artists each received a $20,000 stipend for a six-month residency, with projects including quilt and poetry workshops to help women in recovery from drug abuse; video installations taking advantage of unused city space; and an initiative using music to understand police relations.

Read the full article about how artists voices are changing the conversation in America by Robert Lynch at ARTS Blog.