Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative

The Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative maps and highlights the spectrum of ways the arts are being activated to engage people and make change.

Why a Mapping Initiative?

While artists and arts organizations bring powerful tools to the arena of social change and justice, the field of practitioners is broad and generally disaggregated. Artists and arts organizations with common values, interests, and intents are often unaware of others working on the same issues but in different creative genre. Practitioners still work with limited knowledge or sense of affinity with other change agents whose work and intentions align with their own. They are not frequently connecting their work, sharing information, or learning from other’s experience.

Furthermore, the impact of the work is often unexamined, isolated, or invisible. This prevents the work from garnering the public attention and support it deserves. It also makes it difficult for others to appreciate or understand the full scope of the field and the contributions being made by artists and arts organizations to change.


The Mapping Initiative aims to:

  • make this important work visible and link change agents, artists, funders, and an interested public

  • tell the stories of the power of art to make change

  • inspire and inform community organizers, civic engagement planners, and funders to

  • connect artists and cultural organizations to their efforts

  • catalyze dialogue among grant makers about this work

  • help make the case for continued and expanded support for this work

By connecting artists, cultural organizations, community partners, and supporters, the Mapping Initiative is strengthening a creative community of practice and change makers.


What’s Being Mapped?

The Mapping Initiative takes the form of a comprehensive field portrait and a dynamic platform for field building that includes:

  • PROFILES – A robust, online database of artists as well as cultural and community organizations that foster civic engagement and social change through the arts

  • FUNDING – A current portrait of funding support for arts for change available and a directory of funders supporting the work

  • TREND PAPERSA growing collection of new and extant writings by field practitioners, leaders, and journalists characterizing arts for change work in particular segments of the arts and social justice fields

  • TYPOLOGIES – Typologies that help distinguish different streams of practice and intended civic and social outcomes as well as advance unifying language for the field

The Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative is supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, CrossCurrents Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Lambent Foundation, and Surdna Foundation