In the Loop
General News : Apr 15, 2021

Newly Released Creative Placemaking Resources | WE-Making: How Arts & Culture Unite People to Work Toward Community Well-being

As our country struggles with continued racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic spotlights egregious disparities in health equity, social cohesion across our communities is being put to the test. The arts are indispensable for their power to build community with unique depth and meaning, but how can we leverage that power to begin to heal and recover from these combined traumas? Presented by PolicyLink, Metris Arts Consulting and the Center for Arts in Medicine, the newly released WE-Making resources offer a way forward. The suite of WE-Making resources break new ground by synthesizing research from different areas of study along with on-the-ground experiences of artists and researchers, practitioners in community development, and advocates for health equity. The report has four components, starting with a high-level view in the Theory of Change and Case Studies and then become increasingly more focused, and ends with a memorandum that offers an overview of the project with special attention to practice-based examples that focus on health equity.

WE-Making Resources

Theory of Change and Case Studies provides the broadest perspective on how arts and culture impact social cohesion through case studies from Oakland, California; Natchez, Mississippi; and Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. 

The Conceptual Framework unpacks the theory of change in greater detail to identify the factors in social cohesion, how social cohesion is affected by and in turn influences creative placemaking, and how creative placemaking encourages community well-being. 

The Literature Review includes and expands on previous research to explore different ideas and evidence for social cohesion. 

The Appendices detail the methods used and offer preliminary recommendations for future work.

The Promising Practices memorandum provides an overview of social cohesion, with special attention to health equity and racial justice, and provides practice-based examples that apply WE-Making concepts.

These resources offer an opportunity for practitioners to intentionally and strategically align their efforts to address today's most imperative crises: racial justice and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the project and access the full suite of resources at the Arts, Culture and Community Well-being website.

“The report distills that information into key terms and concepts that together demonstrate that social cohesion nurtures coordinated community organizing and can lead to increased community well-being.” National Endowment for the Arts Press Release