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Arts and The City: Policy and Its Implementation

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The United States off ers a decade-long illustration of the implementation of a major policy initiative for art and culture across the nation's cities and towns. In this article, we focus on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and its companion ArtPlace and Our Town initiative around place-making, as they have developed since 2009. We describe the challenges that almost eliminated the NEA in the 1990s, the subsequent advocacy shift towards the economic impact of the arts, and the emergence of the Our Town initiative in 2011. We analyse the policy initiatives, their rationales and implementation. We conclude with lessons and ways to improve practice in relation to the roles of artists and arts organizations covering issues of displacement, gentrification and racism (often unanticipated challenges for communities and funders); the impact of the arts in economic terms; and evaluative challenges for funders and place-makers, especially given cultural diversity and 'place-keeping' priorities.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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