October 15, 2019

Cultural Community Benefits Institute convenes in Minneapolis

For three days, Oct. 11-12, 56 artists and organizers from throughout the United States gathered in Minneapolis for the Cultural Community Benefits (CCB) Institute, based on the new ArtChangeUS CCBP Toolkit, edited by Cézanne Charles, a partner of ArtChangeUS.

Pangea World Theatre and Ananya Dance Theatre served as local hosts. Workshop sessions took place at the University of Minnesota’s Barbara Barker Dance Center and at Pangea.

The weekend allowed participants to connect across their specific areas of expertise and to dive deep into the strengths and growth points of the CCBP Toolkit.

The Cultural Community Benefits Principles (CCBP) Toolkit is designed to complement the Cultural Community Benefit Principles Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) template developed by ArtChangeUS. Produced in collaboration with Detroit cultural organizers, the principles are based on ongoing efforts to increase accountability and engender equitable practices across the spheres of public/private real estate development (especially large-scale projects that receive public support) and in the planning and staging of public events, gatherings, and convenings.

ArtChangeUS would like to acknowledge the work of Rise Together Detroit, a coalition of grassroots community organizations from across Detroit that formed to ensure that Detroiters have a seat at the table when it comes to development in Detroit, and that such developments are equitable and inclusive. RTD produced and led the campaign for Community Benefits Ordinance Proposal A on Detroit’s 2016 ballot. This resident- and community-led initiative challenged the institutional practices of real estate development in the City of Detroit, inspiring the work of the principles and this toolkit.

The goal of both the original principles and the toolkit is to offer the wider cultural sector a values-driven and pragmatic approach to building equitable relationships by shifting our field’s institutional practices. This toolkit brings together interviews, case studies, reflective prompts, and group activities to unpack and operationalize the principles.

Every organization operates in its own context; the lessons, practices, and information contained in this toolkit should be used to spur reflection, conversation and creative thinking around the CCBP. The principles ask us to address systemic injustice and structural sources of bias in society by supporting organizations to center and uplift the narratives, experiences, talents, and histories of marginalized people and groups through their cultural convenings, publications, discourse, and events. 

Further, organizations are asked to confer and extend tangible economic benefits to those same communities where possible. Fundamentally, ArtChangeUS and its core partners believe that equity and anti-oppression processes are essential to creating and sustaining relevant, exciting, and influential cultural institutions that embrace difference and the nuances, complexities, and richness that this brings to society.