What is it? There are many different types of cultural development programs. The efforts share a common focus on identifying and developing the cultural assets of an area in a concerted manner. Many localities have utilized cultural assets to preserve heritage, connect residents, celebrate diversity, and grow the economy. Cultural development initiatives are often generated to increase tourism, but communities are increasingly recognizing the importance of developing their own assets to benefit the people of the region, and not placing a sole focus on tourist attraction.
How has it been used? Tucson, Arizona, and the surrounding county of Pima, has a community cultural development program. Project leaders provide opportunities for citizens to participate in and engage with the arts. The program helps residents to view the arts as a powerful tool for community development and life-long learning. Program staff offer a professional development program for artists and other cultural leaders and facilitate the P.L.A.C.E. initiative which gives grants to help fund arts-based civic engagement. Leaders hope to spur culturally based civic dialogue with these grants and believe this can help foster civility, understanding and tolerance in the community. (Source: Tucson Pima Arts Council)