Arts & Culture

Arts and Culture Photo Block

What We Do

MAPC’s Arts and Culture Division delivers technical assistance in emerging practice areas including cultural planning, creative placemaking, creative community development, arts and cultural data collection and analysis, and cultural policy. The division also develops and delivers trainings for planners, community developers, and local government officials that aim to build competencies in the aforementioned practice areas.

Over the last four years, MAPC has developed a track record of integrating arts, culture, and creativity into our work and, within the last five years, has allocated grant and discretionary funding towards projects and trainings that build planner expertise in arts, culture, and creativity.

Highlights of Current Projects

MAPC Arts and Planning Toolkit

The Toolkit presents planners with a comprehensive framework for identifying opportunities to engage arts, culture, and the creative community in ways that advance smart growth and livability goals. It presents a menu of strategies grounded in case studies of real projects within and outside of Massachusetts that are exemplary of how arts and culture can be an effective component of planning, land use, transportation, economic development, housing, infrastructure, public health, environmental, and public safety projects and initiatives.

Arlington Cultural Planning

MAPC is working with Arlington's Department of Planning and Community Development, the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture (ACAC), and others to develop an arts and culture action plan that aims to strengthen and grow arts and cultural opportunities in Arlington, leading to a thriving arts and cultural life for all. The plan will advance town implementation of the historic and cultural resource area goals outlined in the Arlington Master Plan and bolster efforts to create a Cultural District from Arlington Center to East Arlington.

Get Involved

Submit a request for arts and cultural technical assistance. View guidelines for MAPC's Technical Assistance Program (TAP), which invites applicants to submit project concepts on a rolling basis. Municipalities and nonprofit and community-based organizations partnering with municipalities are invited to submit project concepts requesting MAPC technical assistance with arts and cultural planning, creative placemaking, and socially engaged/social practice art.

  • Cultural planning. The cultural planning process provides opportunities to creatively advance broader planning objectives by:
    • expanding and enhancing artistic and cultural opportunities; and
    • strengthening, leveraging, and integrating artistic and cultural resources across all facets of local government.
  • Creative placemaking. Creative placemaking is an innovative planning method that infuses community revitalization with arts and culture. The work relies on partnerships among:
    • artists,
    • planners,
    • community development practitioners, and others
    to integrate arts into revitalization strategies that address urban design, land use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety.
  • Socially engaged/social practice art. Social practice arts initiatives engage arts, culture, and creativity as a catalyst for social change in order to:
    • build cross-sector relationships, and
    • deepen community engagement.

Sign up for our mailing list. Sign up for MAPC's Arts and Culture mailing list to receive quarterly updates on resources and events pertaining to arts, culture, and planning.

Request for Information (RFI)

MAPC is seeking information from individuals and firms with experience in the following areas of practice:

a. Cultural Planning
b. Creative Placemaking
c. Creative Community Engagement
d. Socially Engaged, Social Practice, and Civic Practice Art
e. Arts and Cultural Policy
f. Arts and Cultural Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization

In addition, MAPC is seeking information from individuals and firms with professional expertise in the following:

g. Trainings to Municipal Audiences on any of the topics outlined above
h. Project Evaluation on any of the topics outlined above
i. Case Study Research and Development on any of the topics outlined above

Interested parties are invited to respond to this Request for Information (RFI). Information that any respondent submits will be considered as voluntarily offered and with the understanding that this RFI is for information gathering purposes only. This information shall serve to assist MAPC to better understand the state of the practice in arts and cultural planning, placemaking, engagement, policy, data analysis, training, evaluation, and case study development. Please note: the deadline for responses to the RFI has been extended from Tuesday, May 30, 2017 to Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm ET.

Arts and Culture in MetroFuture

Art and culture add vibrancy to places and neighborhoods, and are an integral part of community development and planning. The MetroFuture vision for the Greater Boston region includes goals and strategies that pertain to increasing the region's artistic and cultural resources (goal #43). MetroFuture goals and strategies include fostering urban vitality; supporting cultural districts; engaging arts and culture as a way to build community and civic engagement; fostering creative economy initiatives; and supporting live/work spaces and creative incubator spaces (strategies 6E, 11B, and 11c).


MAPC's arts and culture work is supported through several sources including fee-for-service contributions from cities and towns and community development organizations, MAPC technical assistance resources including District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) and Planning for MetroFuture Technical Assistance (PMTA), and funding from the Barr Foundation.


To learn more about MAPC’s arts and culture services, please contact Jennifer Erickson, Manager of the Arts & Culture Division at or 617-933-0759.Save