In this article, Lyz Crane, Deputy Director of ArtPlace America, dives into the field of arts-based community development – from the practitioner and researcher point of view.
She showcases how many stakeholders can work together to create sustainable communities and reflects on the different terms we use to talk about community, the arts and community development: culture-based development, artist space development, creative community building, to name a few.
“In parsing the subtle definitions of each term,” Crane says, “the main distinguishing factor between phrases is whether arts and culture are means or ends—that is, are community developers using the arts or are they creating the arts? The truth is that both occur regularly and both are community development. The arts have come a long way from being regarded as mainly a public good, and community development has come a long way from focusing primarily on housing and jobs. Both can be seen as ecosystems in their own right, and at the same time, both are a part of the same larger ecosystem and interact, overlap, and ultimately strengthen each other’s agendas and outcomes.”