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The Artist and their Publics in Cross-Sectoral Projects – Lessons Learned and Future Questions

With the rise of projects that bring arts together with public/private entities, artists are developing more nuanced relationships with their publics.  Ms. Jackson explored the multiple roles artists play in contemporary society, the policy and programmatic implications of cross-sector work, and the impact on the intended audiences.  The talk touched on how cross-sector work is not for everyone, and will share some the questions that have arisen after a decade of research and pilot programs, and lay out some of the questions that arts leaders will have to face in the upcoming years.

Selected quotes from her presentation:

Indicators to sustain and advance arts in communities, the information and framework required for forward thinking about help the communities and integrate arts and culture into that include:
• The creativity is natural impulse and a community asset from which to build
• Cultural self-determination as a crucial dimension of equity
• Cultural participation takes many forms and happens in a wide range of venues
• Art process can be as important as or more important than art product
• Artists have many kinds of relationships with publics and roles within communities
• Artists playing really important roles as co-creators, as leaders, as problem solvers
• Opportunities for cultural participation rely on multiple stakeholders
• Related arts and cultural activity – while intrinsically important is also relevant to other communities and concerns

  • Art and cultural activity are the essential tools for fulfilling our highest human potential
  • On Cultural Vitality: I see it as the evidence of a community’s capacity to create, to emanate, to validate and support arts and culture on its own terms and is part of everyday life
  • Through the art making process, and through cultural engagement, we create our group identities, the identities that affirm historical realities as well as those identities that represent our current circumstances and what we aspire to.
  • Cultural Plans and Cultural Indicator projects are most effective when they are integrated into a broader consciousness and they can’t be easily ignored.
  • On Cultural Kitchens... Thre is a mechanism in neighborhoods where people can make culture together- What does cultural kitchens look like in neighborhoods, in communities and cities as it is a critical element for what makes a vibrant and healthy place. How do we look, how do we support them, how do they operate, how can they be sustained. Watch more about her ideas of cultural kitchens
  • Arts leadership includes... Imagination and Expansive Thinking; Strategic cross sectorial work and connections; Generative and generous approach; Knowledge of the arts field in the context of the broader community; and Cultural Policy...
  • About Linking the ideas of validation, evaluation and metrics to the purpose and the vision of the artists and the arts in the creative process: We are in a moment now as a nation where there is revival of interest in comprehensive strategies and now there is a moment to integrate arts and culture in that... Our systems for assessment and evaluation haven’t caught up with how we are trying to work and how we aspire to work
  • On success: In healthy places, preservation and innovation, preservation and change co exists’, ‘It’s part of the norm now to think about ‘How do we bring stake holders together early to calibrate expectations and think of new ways to envision how success can look like.
  • Creating opportunity for artful life is one that by necessity has to get some values and extend beyond arts sector

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson is an expert in the fields of urban planning, comprehensive community revitalization and arts and culture. Previously, Dr. Jackson was director of the Culture, Creativity and Communities Program at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. based public policy research organization, where she was based for 18 years. There, she led research on cultural vitality and the role of arts and culture in community revitalization and also research on support systems for artists. Additionally, she participated in projects concerned with public housing, public education, public safety and parks. 

She is on the advisory board of the Lambent Foundation and has served on the boards of directors of several national, state and local organizations including Association of Performing Arts Presenters, National Performance Network, Alliance for California Traditional Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. She has also served on numerous research and project advisory boards dealing with topics such as museums in communities, arts in strategies to improve health outcomes, cultural participation and arts impacts.  In 2013, with the confirmation of the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts.