Adam Kent, Senior Program Officer at DC LISC, and Rev. Erik W. Martinez Resly, co-director of The Sanctuaries, share their take on artist/community developer collaborations, and the importance of working through growing pains.
As the effects of widening inequality play out at the neighborhood level across our country, unexpected cross-sector collaborations are uniting arts and culture with the work of community development.
In Washington, DC, an ongoing affordable housing crisis, coupled with longstanding racial inequities in employment and income, have resulted in dramatic demographic changes in many neighborhoods that were previously disinvested in, and were predominantly Black. Such inequitable change has reinforced both the need, and the shared value, of aligning arts and culture with community development to address the physical and cultural displacement pressures many residents face.
Two years ago, our organizations—LISC, a national community development nonprofit with over 35 years of experience, and The Sanctuaries, a newly-formed multicultural arts community in DC—forged a partnership to work in this intersection.
The Sanctuaries brought expertise in training artists to work alongside residents to build power, shift culture, and heal spirits. LISC brought expertise in bringing the necessary resources to bear to help residents create healthy and sustainable neighborhoods of choice and opportunity.
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* Photo Credit: Rev. Erik W. Martinez Resly