Arts & Culture


Promoting Smart Growth & Regional Planning

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.

We work with planners, community development staff, and other local governmental officials and we also partner with organizations and individuals in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors that share our vision for engaging arts, culture, and creativity in promoting a greater Metropolitan Boston region.

Over the last five years, MAPC has developed a track record of integrating arts, culture, and creativity into our planning work with cities and towns. The division's services include municipal and regional planning work, research projects, and the delivery of trainings that build planner expertise in arts, culture, and creativity.



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.

Sign Up for Our Mailing List

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


Our work

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.


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.

Read More


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.

The plan 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.

Read the action plan here!

Creative Placemaking Workshop Series

MAPC is working with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) and MASSCreative on the development and execution of three (3) creative placemaking workshops in alignment with the National Association of Community and Economic Development Association (NACEDA)’s Creative Placemaking Immersion Program.

The workshops aim to bring the community development and creative communities together to creatively advance four core objectives in the state: (1) building social capital; (2) spurring neighborhood revitalization; (3) enhancing public safety; and (4) preserving and promoting the cultural and historic heritage of local neighborhoods and communities.

Read More


MAPC is working with the American Planning Association (APA) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to launch a new Creative Placemaking Knowledge Building Initiative.

MAPC, APA, and AFTA will work together to develop a knowledgebase and associated training materials on creative placemaking. The partnership will generate best practices, tools, case studies, and networking ideas bringing together planners and artists. MAPC’s role includes identifying a demonstration area in the Greater Boston region for piloting the creative placemaking training materials co-developed through the partnership. The project will commence in 2017.

Read More

Arts & Culture in


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 & 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 and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).



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.

Sign Up for MAPC's Arts & Culture mailing list

Sign up to receive quarterly updates on resources and events pertaining to arts, culture, and planning.