Tuesday, April 12, 2022

People look and point at a large colorful mural painted to resemble a neighborhood street map.

The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of over 40,000 members worldwide, recently announced the formation of a new Division focusing on the intersection of the arts and planning. The Arts & Planning Division provides a unique opportunity for artists and culture bearers to achieve more effective engagement between the two disciplines, as well as a stronger platform to influence the planning profession within the American Planning Association and beyond.

The mission of the Arts & Planning Division is to transform the planning profession through arts and culture with the vision of a just and equitable planning profession and practice where arts and culture are integral parts of a thriving community. For over three years, a group of dedicated APA member-volunteers—including Patricia Walsh, Director of Creative Community Advancement at Americans for the Arts—shepherded the original Arts and Planning Interest group towards achieving the Division status. 

Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, commented on the announcement, “Community is where the arts make a difference and planners play a key role in maximizing the health, safety, and economic well-being of everyone living in a community. There is a natural intersection between the arts and planning fields in holistically supporting the growth, cultures, and creative expressions of communities. As the arts are everywhere and for everyone, it is only natural for planners to incorporate the arts within community planning processes. It is through equitable and collaborative partnerships like the arts and planning fields that success can be reached in supporting everyone in having a full and creative life. I am excited to see support for the role that the arts play in planning from American Planning Association members in the formalization of the Arts & Planning Division.” 

The Arts & Planning Division will celebrate its creation with a Fiesta during the 2022 National Planning Conference April 30 to May 3 in San Diego.

Learn more about the Arts & Planning Division, including how to join and ways to connect for members and non-members, on the APA website.

For more information, please contact Miguel Angel Vázquez, Chair for the Arts & Planning Division, at [email protected].

Pictured: “Social Seed” by Gurpreet Sehra, photo courtesy of Winnipeg Arts Council.