“Our project is more actual and necessary than ever before. We have received so many impulses that we could use as a city administration to create opportunities instead of limits for artists and to use their impulses for us as an administration to become better.” Dr. Liane Schmitt, Director of the Organization and Personnel Department, City of Mannheim, September 2022.
Art has often been overlooked as fuel for development. Considered as either decoration or a collectible luxury, art has been narrowly understood as a product of culture rather than as the dynamic process of making. If culture means only a legacy of shared sites and beliefs that bond communities, the bridging capacity is forfeited. Making new artistic projects can bridge diverse communities and foster social capital through the development of skills and collaboration.
The Certificate in Arts and Policy is designed to enhance the capacity of city* governments to design and implement high-impact projects through the power of participatory arts. The Certificate is based on evidence that coordination across municipal functions and incorporation of broad-based participation in the arts can drive community impact in areas ranging from climate change, to public health, immigration, transportation, and education.
Each of these challenges is complex or “wicked,” meaning that each is transversal rather than delimited to an area. One challenge engages all the others: security, education, environment, public health, employment, integration of immigrants are all interdependent. Programs that address these and other challenges facing local governments must then recognize and leverage that interdependence in order to be effective. Like the global Sustainable Development Goals identified by the UN, city-centered goals require coordination among the range of particular areas.
The Certificate in Arts and Policy will build a shared Framework for Collaboration among leaders in city government by harnessing the untapped resource of participatory arts. Inclusion means participation, and the arts offer low-cost, high-impact, and renewable resources to educate and integrate city residents who can develop skills and pride of place. Programming participation and integration will insure these effects. Through “Cases for Culture”** the Certificate demonstrates exemplary experiences and stimulates reflection on how and why art works to promote effective policy.
For policymaking, participatory arts ensure social inclusion among citizens who acquire technical knowhow and civic practices.