Art and Culture in Communities: Systems of Support

2010, 72 pages, The Urban Institute, 2100 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20037, (202) 833-7200


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Arts and cultural activity is an essential dimension of communities and community building processes. It depends heavily on having an effective system of support—a system that is made up of the contributions of many different kinds of stakeholders, both inside and outside the explicit cultural realm. This topic has received little research attention despite the centrality of understanding cultural systems of support to people concerned with neighborhood conditions and dynamics as well as to people concerned with better understanding cultural vitality. This brief summarizes what we have learned so far about the support systems that operate in communities and the characteristics of those systems that are most likely to produce opportunities for cultural engagement. Because systems of support for arts and culture in communities, as we define them, is a new area for research, it is useful to begin with the overall framework ACIP has developed to structure our work and the place of support systems in that framework.

Available in pdf format from The Urban Institute