Community Arts Resources

Here are some resources that may be helpful to those looking for more information on community arts, arts-based community development, and creative placemaking.

Art & Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines – William Cleveland, New Village Press, 2008

Arts & America: Arts, Culture, and the Future of America’s Communities – Edited by Clayton Lord/Essays compiled by Americans for the Arts, 2015

Beginner’s Guide to Community-Based Arts: Ten Graphic Stories about Artists, Educators and Activists across the US – Keith Knight, Mat Schwarzman and others

Between Grace & Fear: The Role of Arts in a Time of Change – William Cleveland and Patricia Shifferd, Common Ground, 2010

Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the United States – Written and Edited by Doug Borwick, ArtsEngaged, 2012

Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development – Edited by Michael Rushton, Brookings Institute Press, 2013

Living As Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 – Edited by Nato Thompson, MIT Press, 2013

Making Exact Change: How US arts-based programs have made a significant and sustained impact on their communities, – William Cleveland, Art in the Public Interest, 2005. PDF http://www.creativecity.ca/database/files/library/exactchange4.pdf

New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development – Arlene Goldbard, New Village Press, 2006

The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts, and Culture – Tom Borrup, Fieldstone Alliance, 2006

The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists, & the Future – Arlene Goldbard, Waterlight Press, 2013

What We Made: Conversation on Art & Social Cooperation – Tom Finkelpearl, Duke University Press, 2013

Some web sites about Community Arts

Americans for the Arts


A leading nonprofit organization dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Included in their mission is fostering an environment in which the arts thrive and contribute to more livable communities. Also see “Animating Democracy” and “Center for Arts & Culture” sections.



A project of the Kennedy Center and the NEA, ArtsEdge’s intended audience is classroom teachers and arts educators. It is an expansive site with information and links about everything from hands-on lessons to the history of ballet.

The Centre for Creative Communities


Organization based on belief that arts and creativity are central to human development and are essential elements in building sustainable communities.

Community Arts Network (Archive)


The CAN project, which was active from July 1999 through April 2010, promoted information exchange, research, and critical dialogue within the field of community-based arts, that is, art made as a voice and a force within a specific community of place, spirit or tradition. “Reading room” continues to be a valuable resource. The CAN archived pages are still available courtesy of Indiana University.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Toolbox


This site is designed for anyone seeking concrete techniques for choreography, community building, and constructive human interaction. That includes artists, educators, students, social service professionals, and practically anyone seeking creative ways to do their work.

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC)


The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is a people-powered department — a grassroots action network inciting creativity to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.