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Arts & Democracy was the co-organizer of the roundtable which stimulated the creation of NOCD-NY, a citywide alliance. NOCD-NY came together in response to the vision, sustained needs, and creative resilience of our communities. It recognizes the power of neighborhood-based arts and culture as an integral part of an equitable and culturally vital city. NOCD-NY is a frequent partner when Arts & Democracy works in NYC.


New York City is experiencing a new kind of democracy. Through Participatory Budgeting, residents are directly deciding how to spend public money. Community members are exchanging ideas, working together to turn ideas into project proposals, and voting to decide what proposals get funded. Arts & Democracy is involved throughout the process as a cultural resource.

Cultural Organizing for Community Change, Brooklyn 2016

Cultural Organizing for Community Change took place in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Saturday, November 12, 2016 from 9:30am - 6:00pm. The day-long learning exchange included a cultural organizing framework, skill building workshops, a neighborhood tour, a visual arts installation, discussion of the NYC cultural plan, networking, and resource sharing.

Creative Housing Activism and Engagement

Creative Housing Activism and Engagement focused on how artists and other creative activists are addressing the need for truly affordable housing and the impacts of displacement in our communities through creative alliances, cross sector partnerships, artmaking, and oral history. The call was coponsored with Naturally Occurrng Cultural Districts NY.

Social Media Workshop

The Social Media Workshop took place March 6. The first half, led by Carlos Pareja, was about shooting a video with your camera phone. In the second half, led by Daniel LaTorre, participants developed a social media strategy.

Cultural Organizing for Community Change, Brooklyn 2015

Cultural Organizing for Community Change took place Sunday, November 22 from 9:30-6pm in Gowanus Brooklyn. Organizers, artists, media makers, and policy makers came together to learn effective ways to deepen their work and engage their creativity in organizing.

Creative Transformation: Arts, Culture, and Public Housing Communities

Recognizing an opportunity to further integrate arts and culture into the transformation of public housing communities, NOCD-NY brought together a diverse range of tenant leaders, residents, elected officials and staff, city agencies, artists, cultural institutions, advocates, funders and community organizations in an Arts, Culturem and Public Housing Roundtable on July 27, 2015. Drawing on interviews carried out in the field, the roundtable was designed to:

• Showcase exemplary partnerships that illustrated equitable, long-term approaches

• Identify barriers and challenges

• Develop recommendations and discuss how to move them into action

• Identify pilot project(s) that could be supported

• Build and strengthened relationships amongst participants. 

2014 Cultural Organizing for Community Change, Brooklyn NY

November 15, 2014, 9:30am - 6:00pm
At Groundswell, Reel Works and Spaceworks, 540 President Street, Brooklyn

Organizers, artists, media makers, educators, and policymakers came together to learn effective ways to deepen our work and engage our creativity in organizing for community change. The day included a cultural organizing framework, hands-on skill building workshops, case studies, resources, and networking opportunities.

Co-sponsored with Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY)

Just Economies: Part 2

Just Economies: Creative approaches to building & strengthening
just and democratic economies Part 2, July 22, 2014

In the face of growing economic inequity, people around the country are coming together to reimagine and rebuild their economies and communities based on the values of equity, democracy, cooperation, self-determination and sustainability. This New York City focused call featured the POINT, Solidarity NYC, Trade School, Our Goods, and The Rockefeller Foundation's support of the area of work. The call was cosponored by NOCD-NY.

Arts and Culture for a Just and Equitable City

Dear Mayor-Elect de Blasio, City Council Members (new and continuing), and Transition Team Members,

Congratulations! We, leaders from across sectors, write to share how arts and culture can and should play a vital role in achieving the inspirational One City Rising platform.

Arts and Culture for a Just and Equitable City

This policy brief by Arts & Democracy, Groundswell, and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY) recommends maximizing the role of arts and culture to advance a transition agenda for a just and equitable New York City. Art and culture can provide the inspiration, tools, and capacity needed to unify New York City into one city for all.

Cultural Organizing for Community Change - Brooklyn

November, 2013, Groundswell, Brooklyn, NY

Cultural Organizing for Community Change provided a space where artists, media makers, organizers and policy makers could learn effective ways to deepen their work and strengthen their capacity to connect creativity, culture, and organizing for community change.

What Would it Look Like if NYC invested $50 Million in its Communities?

New York City’s recent capital investment of $50 million dollars in the Culture Shed mega project begs the question – how would a $50 million dollar capital investment in the culture and wellbeing of New York City’s diverse neighborhoods look?

Artful Relief

This article by Jon Spayde in Public Art Review 48 (Spring/Summer 2013) "The Art of Healing" describes how artists have been helping communities heal after recent disasters. It features features the Park Slope Armory Evacuation Center Wellness Center, Sandy Storyline, and other examples that were part of Arts & Democracy Projects "Relief and Recovery, the Transformative Power of Arts and Culture" briefing call post Hurricane Sandy. 

How Arts and Culture Can Advance a Neighborhood-Centered Progressive Agenda

What's a progressive agenda for arts and culture in New York City? Caron Atlas offers her answer to this question in her contribution to Toward A 21st Century City for All, which offers an inclusive vision for city policy to help achieve a more just, equal and prosperous New York City.

Creative Recovery and Cultural Resiliency

Creative Recovery and Cultural Resiliency is an article by Caron Atlas in the Summer 2013 Grantmakers in the Arts Reader about the ways arts and culture played an integral role in relief and recovery after Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The article features the Wellness Center at the Park Slope Armory Evacuation Shelter, the work of Dance Theatre Etcetera in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the Sandy Storyline, and a summary of a conversation between New York and New Orleans cultural leaders about cultural work following disaster.

From the Neighborhood Up: A Citywide Forum on Culture and Community

Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York's From the Nieghborhood Up Citywide Forum on Culture and Community convened people from across New York City on May 30, 2013 to create a vision for the City grounded in the cultural vitality and social networks that make its communities strong.

Artist and architect Bill Mackey’s project maps transit routes based on people’s actual uses and place names

Placemaking and Belonging

February 13, 2013

We hear a lot about creative placemaking these days. Some like the term and others don't. On this conference call, presenters discussed what sorts of creative placemaking practices strengthen self-determination and belonging within a community. The call illustrated the power of place-based arts and culture as an integral part of equitable, democratic, and culturally vital communities and explored placemaking in the digital sphere.

Humanity After the Storm

Arts & Democray Project director Caron Atlas describes how people came together to create a Wellness Center at the Park Slope Armory evacuation center following Hurricane Sandy and experienced the power of arts and culture to restore respect and dignity in a disaster.

Cultural Organizing for Community Change, Brooklyn, NY

Cultural Organizing for Community Change provided a space where artists, media makers, organizers and policy makers could learn effective ways to deepen their work and strengthen their capacity to use the tools of creativity, imagination and organizing for community change. The workshop included cultural organizing framework, skill building workshops, networking opportunities, and an intergenerational conversation with cultural organizers. 

Participatory Budgeting NYC Creative Resources

Arts, culture, and media were integrated into Participatory Budgeting in New York City (PBNYC) in its 2011-2012 inaugural year. This list of creative resources, compiled by Arts & Democracy Project with the Arts and Culture Committee of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee, is intended as an inspiration for year 2.

South Oxford Space

Spacing Out: Innovative Urban Uses of Cultural Space

On August 15 Arts & Democracy Project joined Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY) and Urban Bush Women to cosponsor Spacing Out: Innovative Cultural Uses of Urban Space. The forum took place at the South Oxford Space, 138 S. Oxford, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Arts & Democracy Testifies at City Council Hearing

Arts & Democracy is a proud member of the NOCD-NY coalition whose members testified at a joint hearing of the NYC City Council's Arts and Small Business committees. As a result of NOCD-NY's organizing and presence at the May 11 hearing much of it focused on naturally occurring cultural districts. We presented a series of recommendations for how the city could support NOCDs and neighborhood based cultural economies and illustrated the recommendations though our member's testimony. 

Time to Vote!

What does your neighborhood need?  An improved park? Safer streets? A community cultural space? After six months of participatory budgeting in New York the polls are opening and its time to vote!

The Line: An Unemployment Demonstration March 6

On March 6, Super Tuesday at 8:14 am an unemployment line with thousands of people holding pink slips over their heads will stretch through Manhattan from the Wall Street bull to Union Square. Join this powerful collaboration between artists and labor.   

Highlights from a Gathering on Cultural Organizing and Climate Solutions

Report from a day-long meeting in New York involving musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers, theater groups, festival producers, chefs and others working to raise public awareness about the threat of climate change and the promise of clean energy. Sponsored by the Chorus Foundation, the gathering was organized and facilitated by Farhad Ebrahimi, Betsy Taylor, Cuong Hoang, and Lauren Nutter. Arts & Democracy presented on arts and social justice organizing.

BCC: Building Collaborative Capacity - NYC

Building Collaborative Capacity is a series of workshops, gatherings, and partnerships that help build the connective tissue necessary to deepen collaborative work so it can be truly effective.

NOCD-NY (The Naturally Occurring Cultural District Working Group)

On August 18, 2010 NOCD-NY, the Naturally Occurring Cultural District Working Group joined with cultural and community leaders and elected officials to launch a citywide alliance to revitalize New York City from the neighborhood up. Arts & Democracy is proud to be part of this coalition. 

Walking the Talk and Talking the Walk

Arts & Democracy Project hosted a People's Potluck in Brooklyn. The potluck was part of a series of artist-led conversations and meals focused on interdependence taking place in the summer of 2011 created by MAPP International Productions in collaboration with Samita Sinha and Create Collective.

Taking Over and Talking Back

Taking Over and Talking Back tells the story of the community conversations following Danny Hoch’s performances of his play Taking Over in New York City neighborhoods. At the Williamsburg, Brooklyn talkback a longtime resident of Williamsburg's Latino community said, “We fought poverty, violence and blight, and we made the Southside a better place to live. We are now strangers in our own neighborhood, and it’s painful.” 

Marty Pottenger

Marty Pottenger is a critically acclaimed writer, director, and performer with more than 20 years of experience in creating and directing community-based arts initiatives. She uses art to "reveal the underlying connection between people, and activate people's inherent desire and momentum for justice and equity."

Urban Bush Women

Throughout its 23-year history, the Urban Bush Women performance ensemble has spoken of the power of the spiritual tradtions of African American and the African Diaspora community through dance, music and storytelling.

Incarceration, Fatherhood, and Artmaking

Carol Fennelly and Ayo Ngozi on artmaking with fathers and children in federal and state prisons.

By Ayo Ngozi and Carol Fennelly

Multifaceted Art of Community Planning

Ron Shiffman and Anusha Venkataraman consider the intersections of organizing, creative practice, and community-based development.

By Anusha Venkataraman

Tensions and Synergies of Being Strategic and Creative

Brad Lander and Esther Robinson discuss organizing and art, anthropological listening, and whether being holistic is important.

By Esther Robinson

Arts of Regional Change

The Art of Regional Change (ARC) brings together scholars, students, artists, and community groups to collaborate on media arts projects that strengthen communities, generate engaged scholarship, and inform regional decision making. Founded by media artist jesikah maria ross, ARC is a joint project of the University of California at Davis Humanities Institute and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change.

A Youth Voices Curriculum Resource and Guidebook developed to help other communities engage in similar projects is planned for spring 2012.

Cultural Organizing for Community Change, Brooklyn 2015

Our upcoming cultural organizing workshop in Brooklyn will take place Nov 22. We will post the developing agenda for the workshop soon.