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Municipal/Artist (M/A) partnerships are collaborations between local governments and artists, that use creative processes to engage residents and improve communities.

These partnerships are happening across the United States, and are becoming an important way for both local governments and artists to think outside the box and have a direct impact on communities.

A partnership is a sharing of values, as well as risks, responsibilities, resources, and rewards. An M/A partnership can be mutually beneficial: municipalities can provide artists with contexts, resources, and staffing to amplify their work; artists’ creative approaches bring new perspectives and strategies to community engagement. M/A partnerships merge municipalities’ and artists’ distinct ways of working, allowing them to address issues in new ways; and aspire to greater goals in service of the public than they can reach separately.

This guide is for both municipalities and artists, to help them successfully collaborate. This guide synthesizes best practices, features the voices of partners, and offers case studies, tools, and resources from a number of remarkable partnerships across the US.

What is a municipality?

It’s a local government — a city, town, village, or county; or a governmental agency such as a Parks Department or an Economic Development Office.

What is an artist?

A creative worker who specializes in one or more disciplines including visual art, performance art, theater, music, dance, design, spoken and written word, and social practice. For more on this last one, see resources.