Breaking Down Barriers to Provide Arts and Culture for All a #commonfuture17 breakout session DEVELOPED by the CMF Arts & CULTURE Affinity Group

Meet our session speakers from Createquity, a think tank and online publication investigating the most important issues in the arts.

Ian David Moss, Fari Nzinga, Shawn Lent (pictured left to right)


According to the research of Createquity, people who have lower levels of income and educational attainment participate at lower rates in a range of activities, including not just classical music concerts and plays, but also less formal types of engagement like going to the movies, dancing socially and attending sporting events.


Cost is a barrier for some people accessing the arts, but not as many people as you might think. Research shows lack of interest is a far more significant reason.

What this means: changing cost doesn't necessarily change who shows up at arts events. We must think more broadly.


Important debates arise from these different visions for equity, and can have wide-ranging implications for how we think about arts and culture funding. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Who decides what "arts and culture" means? How could this definition be broadened to be more inclusive, especially of people who have lower levels of income and educational attainment?
  • How can organizations that target different audiences partner to achieve greater equity within communities? What does true partnership and compromise look like in this setting?
  • What would it look like to move arts and cultural experiences out of traditional institutions and into neighborhoods throughout communities?
  • How can we identify, produce and fund different types of art that appeal to diverse groups representative of our entire communities?
  • How can we incubate growth of the arts organically within a more culturally equitable context? For example, could a pop-up shop be considered a cultural institution just like a museum?


"Why Don't They Come?"

This investigative article explores cost as a barrier for some poorer individuals who want to participate in the arts, examines the impact of free programming, and begins to look into competing activities such as television.

"Making Sense of Cultural Equity"

When visions of a better future diverge, how do we choose a path forward? Cultural equity is increasingly a topic of concern for the arts ecosystem, but not everyone agrees on what it means in practice. This article examines four overlapping but distinct visions of success advanced by cultural equity advocates over the past half century, the assumptions underlying each of these visions, and the fault lines running between them.

"Are the Arts the Answer to Our TV Obsession?"

This article looks at whether people are consciously choosing TV over other activities - including engaging in the arts.

"Who Can Afford to Be a Starving Artist?"

The key to success may be risk tolerance, not talent. This feature article examines whether there is evidence that risk dissuades individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from pursuing arts careers.


Interested in engaging further with this topic? Get involved with the Arts and Culture Affinity Group by emailing Chelsea Holmes, Program Coordinator.

Created By
Meredith Fennema


Created with images by Incase. - "art"

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