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imageIn conjunction with national and local partners, we work at the forefront of creating new value propositions for the arts in America. Explore with us the positive impacts of applying arts solutions to pressing challenges such as rapid globalization, the return of service members from global conflicts, or the health and wellness needs of our senior population. Arts policy at Americans for the Arts reaches beyond today’s challenges and strives to activate conversations about the world of tomorrow—and the ways in which the arts can knit an increasingly diverse, disparate planet together at both the grassroots and highest levels of decision-making.

How Arts Policy Can Impact Your Community

Our society at large struggles with many of the same issue that we as arts professionals are already tackling through our arts programs. Professionals across disciplines want to address social, educational, health, and wellness needs to contribute to quality of life. Government officials and local leaders are looking for ways to promote economic prosperity both domestically and internationally. As we address issues facing the arts in our daily work, we also confront broader issues in our society—enhancing creativity, growing the creative workforce, valuing intellectual property rights, adapting to new technologies, or building stronger economic and diplomatic relations in a rapidly changing world.

Through arts policy programs, Americans for the Arts joins your work with the work of others across disciplines and sectors. Collectively we begin to tackle the same issues and our toolbox is now richer as it combines the rich array of creativity, innovation, and passion that the arts can contribute to pushing for solutions.

Making an Impact through Our Arts Policy Programs

Joining national partners and thought leaders in the field with Americans for the Arts' cutting edge research and expert staff in art policy issues, we forge arts-based solutions that are innovative and practical, to address the needs of both domestic and international communities.

Arts policy at Americans for the Arts employs multiple strategies to help take concepts from ideas to concrete policy change at the national, state, and local levels:

  1. Convene policy forums, such as the National Arts Policy Roundtable, to explore and share ideas, policy, and private sector best practices nationwide.
  2. Research concepts and ideas to support arts-friendly policy positions.
  3. Collaborate with national and international strategic partners to take the set of positions and create an action strategy to advance a cultural policy agenda.
  4. Provide critical tools and information for our various action networks to put the policies into play on the federal, state, and local levels.

Here are some key examples of our work in each of these areas.


The Americans for the Arts policy roundtable programs include the Aspen Seminar for Leadership in the Arts and the National Arts Policy Roundtable. Both convene a select group of artists, philanthropists, and thought leaders in lively dialogues that explore how we can create a more vibrant role for arts and culture in 21st century American society. Each National Arts Policy Roundtable yields a report containing recommendations on public policies and private sector practices that are necessary to move the issue from thought to action. Reports are available on the National Arts Policy Roundtable web pages.


Americans for the Arts established the Institute for Community Development and the Arts to provide a research-based understanding of how the arts are being used to address social, educational, and economic development issues in communities across the country. Here you will find an archive of all past Monographs and special reports written to address these issues through the arts and arts policy.


The National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military is a national collaborative effort, launched in 2012 and co-led by Americans for the Arts and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, to advance the arts in healthcare and healing for military service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers. The goals of the National Initiative are to:

  • advance the policy, practice, and quality use of arts and creativity as tools for health in the military;
  • raise visibility, understanding, and support of arts and health in the military;
  • make the arts tools for health available to all active duty military, staff, family members, and veterans. More information about the Initiative can be found at

Tools and Information

The National Arts Administration and Policy Publications Database is a repository for some of the most seminal research, policy, and management documents written in the last 50 years. This collection is a helpful resource for anyone working in the arts management field today, with papers ranging from how-to manuals to data-driven research reports to advocacy guides to policy papers. Start your search here—and if we don’t have what you’re looking for, we want to hear from you!

Want more training on how arts policy works? Be sure to check out ArtsU, the webinar platform for Americans for the Arts.  You can get some quick background on a variety of arts polilcy topics including: Arts Education, Arts in the Military, and many more!

Join Us to Bring about Change through Arts Policy

Policy requires action to reach implementation and permeate down into our communities and arts programs - at both the grassroot and the grasstop levels. Through advocacy, we push for policy changes to be reflected in our laws. If you are an arts professional, you know the transformative value of the arts and you realize the potential of creating polices across disciplines that include art components. Start to learn more about advocacy by visiting our Advocate hub page or consider participating in the next Arts Advocay Day, held annually on Capitol Hill. Or join our Arts Policy Listserv to keep up to date on topics related to arts policy and be the first to hear of new programs at Americans for the Arts in support of arts policy.

To help us better serve you, let us know what you want to explore. Contact the staff liason for Arts & Policy.