LISC National
Our Work

Cohesive Economic Development Arts and Culture Initiative


In recent years, diverse communities have embraced a growing movement to foster and implement creative placemaking, a process involving public, private and community partners working together to strategically improve the physical and social character as well as the economic life of a community through arts and cultural activities.

As this movement has grown and been embraced by a growing number of players, there is also a growing recognition of the need to evolve our language and terminology as well as cement the correlation between arts and culture based revitalization strategies that strengthen a community’s sense of place with demonstrable economic development outcomes.

“Rural LISC is excited to support these initiatives that help enrich communities through arts and culture programming, increase participation among residents, bring together diverse populations”
— Suzanne Anarde, Rural LISC Vice President

Rural LISC recognizes that when incorporated into a broader framework of a planned, cohesive economic development approach, the use of place-based strategies rooted in arts and culture has proven to be a powerful vehicle in helping low-income and/or under-resourced communities achieve long-standing revitalization objectives of income creation, downtown revitalization, job growth and increased personal, local and regional economic viability.

"Dear Tamaqua" event, part of a community visioning process, Tamaqua, Pa.
"Dear Tamaqua" event, part of a community visioning process, Tamaqua, Pa.

There are three types of arts and culturally-based activities that best support our cohesive economic development mission:

  • Community cultural development – Increasing a community’s sense of identity and pride by engaging residents in cultural programming such as festivals, musical performances and arts education, often in reclaimed public spaces – all with spin-off economic development outcomes.
  • Physical transformation in culturally relevant ways – Spurring physical change with murals, sculptures and investments in artist housing, galleries and theaters leading to job creation and retention.
  • Formation of arts and cultural economic clusters – Strengthening the local economy with eye-catching storefronts, new cultural activities and intriguing installations that attract customers and new businesses leading to the development of robust economies.