Keys to Community Stewardship

Community stewardship plays an important role for the ongoing success of complex projects.
At the heart of Artscape’s practice in creative placemaking is a commitment to ongoing engagement with the communities our projects serve.  We build our projects from the ground up in the community, engaging community members, partners, stakeholders and investors in the project from the very earliest stage. Community stewardship plays an important role in the governance of all of our projects. In the early stages of project exploration and through its development, our research, community engagement and vision development are supported by a Community Steering Committee. Once operational, a range of community stewardship models including Community Steering Committees, Youth Arts or Programming Advisory Committees all create opportunities for community members to be involved in the decision making process.

Your project may also offer opportunities for tenants to become involved in some level of ongoing project governance, perhaps contributing to a programming or tenant selection committee or even your board of directors. These opportunities ensure that projects continue to be strongly rooted in and serve the needs of the artist and arts organizations who call them home.

A Community Stewardship Plan is an effective tool to keep community engagement alive and relevant, and to ensure that you are continuing to strive to serve the community’s vision for the project. The plan will also provide room for the project vision to evolve over time with the community’s needs and desires. The plan should contain information about how community members can contribute to the governance and management of the project, while supporting the delivery of the vision, and in the evolution of the vision as the project matures.

When should you develop your Community Stewardship Plan? Ideally, it should be developed the year the project opens, with the guidance and contributions of our community steering committee or advisory group. Once operations are smoothed out and normalized, the development of this plan will provide a framework for staff and community stakeholders to work together to shepherd the project forward and ensure its ongoing success.

What should be included in a Community Stewardship Plan? Every plan is unique and ideally tailored to suit the needs of your project. The following components form a strong basis to work from:

•          The founding vision of the project
•          Background on the project
•          Who the plan is meant to serve
•          Overview of project governance, management, and advisory group(s)
•          Approach to community stewardship for the project
 
Check Out the Community Stewardship Plan for Artscape Youngplace

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