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Cultural Capacity Plan

Cultural Capacity Plan

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Throughout 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.

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.  

What's Happened to Date:

What's Next

  1. The SCCP Ambassadors are refining draft recommendations with the City and their cultural groups, as well as experimenting with projects that can build capacity in the community.
  2. We are also drafting the Cultural Capacity Plan based on 6 months of community feedback and Ambassador input. The plan will organize input into a framework that prioritizes implementation strategies and allocates resources equitably and transparently.
  3. You can join us for a second forum on cultural development in the fall of 2023. Details to come.

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