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Cultural Capacity Plan

Cultural Capacity Plan

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Through September 2023, the City of Somerville invites you to participate in its capacity-building and cultural planning process. 

What is capacity-building?  Capacity-building helps develop the skills, abilities, and processes of Somerville's creative individuals, organizations, and institutions to grow the city’s network and support of arts and culture offerings, resources, and services. 

What is cultural planning?   Cultural planning is a process that focuses on Somerville specific activities and engagement in order to create a community-generated vision and action plan for strengthening and growing arts and culture assets across the community.
How to Participate

Residents and cultural workers in Somerville are encouraged to participate in the process in a variety of ways, including:

Why Now? 
With the third largest share of architects and designers, and the fourth largest concentration of visual artists, musicians, and other performing artists out of any city or town in Massachusetts, Somerville is a hub of the local creative economy. While the city’s recent building boom has created the potential for the development of new arts spaces, the arts community is questioning its ability to capitalize on this growth and flourish in the future. This concern stems from the challenges brought on by COVID-19 as well as the fragmentation of the city’s policies, organizational capacity, and institutional support. To learn more about the challenges artists face in Somerville, please see the Somerville Arts Space Risk Assessment.
How this Plan will be Different

The Somerville Cultural Capacity Plan will engage the local arts and culture community to explore ways to strengthen and improve access to Somerville’s cultural assets.

Building on previous cultural planning efforts in Union Square and pre-planning work initiated in 2020, the Somerville Cultural Plan will provide the container for cross-cultural conversations that will build capacity for cultural change by establishing the vision, policy framework, implementation strategies, organizational structures, and funding requirements needed to develop Somerville’s cultural community in ways that weave arts and culture into other policy and practice areas and help this community to flourish. The City of Somerville has hired Forecast Public Art and Solomon Office to lead this effort.  
Be a part of the process:

Take the survey today so we can match you with the developing community meetings. 

We’ll match you up with opportunities that align with your interests, whether that be joining a conversation with others in your cultural community, attending a city-wide forum, or becoming a leader.

What's Next

1. Join us for opening conversations March-May 2023
2. Participate in the city-wide forum on cultural preservation on May 23, 2023
3. The main project team will narrow ideas and form working groups to refine strategies and take on initiatives
4. Join us for a second forum on cultural development in September 2023
5. We’ll share a draft plan that organizes everyone’s input into a framework that prioritizes implementation strategies and allocates resources equitably and transparently. 

If you have further questions, or want to find other ways to get involved, please contact Daniel Koff at dan(at)