Arts & Culture


Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration

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 help cities and towns with policies, programs, and staffing that help arts and cultural assets grow and thrive by providing technical assistance with the full range of arts and culture planning issues – community development, economic development, public health, and the built and natural environment. 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.

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


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.

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Learn more about our Work

Arts & Planning Toolkit
  • A free online resource for innovative planning and community development work that engages arts, culture, and the creative community.
Our Services
  • Cultural Planning
  • Creative Community Development
  • Cultural Asset Mapping
  • Creative Placemaking
  • Research Initiatives
Technical Assistance:
  • Arlington Cultural Planning
  • Creative Placemaking Workshop Series



Our Work

View guidelines for MAPC's Technical Assistance Program (TAP), which invites applicants to submit project concepts on a rolling basis. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!

MGL Chapter 30B Sections 1 (b)(3) and (b)(9) exempt municipalities from having to issue a Request for Proposals or an Invitation for Bids, or from engaging in any other procedures required by procurement law, when working directly with MAPC.

Cultural Planning

Cultural planning strengthens, leverages, and integrates artistic and cultural resources across all facets of local government. Done well, it can expand, enhance, and improve artistic and cultural opportunities for creative expression in the community. There are many types of cultural plans, including neighborhood or district-focused, historic and cultural resource elements of larger plans, creative economy studies, public art plans, and more.


MAPC is at the table with local, regional, and state partners in identifying policy strategies that can help arts and culture thrive. A data center with expertise in data analysis and mapping, we help cities and towns collect, analyze, and share data about their arts and cultural assets for local and regional benefits. Contact us to access our research-driven arts data and arts policy expertise.

Creative Community Development

Creative community development incorporates creative placemaking strategies and social engagement to infuse innovation and creativity into planning initiatives. Our practice focuses on advancing social capital, civic engagement, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Our approach is grounded in socially engaged arts values; where arts, culture, and creativity are tapped as catalysts for social change.

Creative Placemaking

Creative placemaking establishes authentic partnerships among artists, planners, community development practitioners, and others to integrate arts into revitalization strategies. Projects can range from short-term initiatives taking less than a year to long-term, multi-year initiatives and can engage public art, urban design, tactical urbanism approaches, and more.


Cultural asset mapping identifies a community’s strengths and resources through the process of auditing tangible and intangible cultural assets, e.g., temporary or permanent public art, cultural facilities, arts and cultural businesses, cultural festivals and events, and cultural organizations, including stories and traditions that contribute to defining a community’s unique identity and sense of place.

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.

The Toolkit provides:

  • A summary of arts & culture planning strategies by topic area
  • Case study materials and links
  • Additional resources by topic (including more toolkits)
  • Glossary of terms

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.


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!

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).



Comprehensive local and regional arts and cultural planning, creative community development, creative placemaking, and arts, culture, and design-related regional procurement services.

To learn more about MAPC’s arts and culture services, please contact:

Jennifer Erickson
Manager of the Arts & Culture Division | 617-933-0759.

MAPC | Arts & Culture Team