Arts & Culture

We seek to build strong, healthy cities by promoting the integration of arts and culture in community revitalization.

Program Overview

Our national Arts & Culture Program focuses on the role arts and culture play in re-energizing the communities that have long been central to America’s social and economic life. We believe that arts and culture are an integral part of life and, when embedded in cross-sector revitalization activity, can contribute to positive and enduring economic, physical, social and cultural change in communities.

We seek to make arts and culture as central to discussions of rebuilding and reinvigorating metropolitan areas as land use, housing, transportation, economic development and other more traditional disciplines. At Kresge, we use the term creative placemaking to refer simply to the deliberate integration of arts and culture in revitalization work; our grantmaking and investments focus on interdisciplinary approaches to the broad field of community revitalization.

Our approach requires that all community members should benefit from community revitalization activity and from the integration of arts and culture into such efforts. We partner with organizations committed to creating opportunity for low-income and underrepresented people. Those partners include a wide range of entities, from arts and culture organizations to community development corporations and other public-sector and nonprofit agencies.

Our goal is to expand creative placemaking activity and to understand its effect on economic, social and cultural change in disinvested communities. We recognize that there is a great deal being learned. We seek to test new approaches, identify lessons from current exemplary activities and promote the adoption of creative placemaking activity on a broad scale through direct grantmaking and support for research, evaluation and other endeavors that advance fieldwide and cross-sector understanding.

We invest through these focus areas:

Pioneering new approaches

We fund pilot projects that test the integration of arts and culture within other sectors and disciplines.

By supporting and documenting pioneering approaches to creative placemaking, we expect to gain a deeper understanding of key creative placemaking approaches and impacts that can be widely employed.

Harvesting leading practices

We support efforts that deepen, capture and share knowledge from established creative placemaking work in disinvested communities. We believe that sharing lessons about how and when creative placemaking contributes to revitalization is crucial to this emerging field.

Advancing proven approaches

We seek to promote the adoption of tested creative placemaking practices and will invest in work that advances that goal. Knowing that placemaking respects the uniqueness of communities, we expect the spread of successful practices will come though adaptation rather than replication.

We partner with national nonprofit and public-sector networks involved in community revitalization to bring tested creative placemaking practice into wider use. We believe that partnering with these networks has a high potential for widespread adoption of proven concepts.

How We Work

Because one of our key goals is learning and advancing the field of creative placemaking, we are shaping our portfolio to develop knowledge in specific areas. Our funding is targeted toward particular questions and issues. The lessons learned will inform the field and our future work.

Our investments are guided by a set of practices characteristic of creative placemaking:

  • Embed arts and culture in larger community revitalization initiatives.
  • Engage in cross-disciplinary, cross-sector activities.
  • Exhibit strong leadership.
  • Include artists and arts organizations.
  • Extend benefits to all stakeholders, especially low-income community members.
  • Demonstrate commitment to sustained engagement and empowerment of low-income residents.
  • Work to ensure current residents can remain in their community even where revitalization changes neighborhood economics.
  • Honor community distinctiveness.

We award general operating- and project-support grants and make program-related investments. The latter may take the form of direct loans, guarantees that provide credit support to borrowers or linked deposits. (Learn more about our Social Investment Practice.)

We are also a founding funder of ArtPlace America, a collaboration working to accelerate creative placemaking across the United States. Grant opportunities available through ArtPlace are another way to seek Kresge support.

Application Process

We accept applications for activities that are both cross-sector (public, private) and cross-disciplinary initiatives under the broad theme of Strong, Healthy Places. Such initiatives include – but are not limited to – health, environment, human services, education, arts and culture and community development.

Proposals are being funded under our focus areas: pioneering new approaches and harvesting leading practices. Please review each focus area’s web page for more specific information.

To learn about future grant opportunities, we encourage you to stay in touch through email subscription, RSS or social media.

Funding Opportunities

Program, Focus Area or Initiative Application Status Application Information

Arts & Culture


Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization

Funding opportunities are available for food-oriented initiatives that contribute to economic revitalization, cultural expression and health in low-income neighborhoods.

We have launched a competitive request for proposals. On Dec. 7, 2015 at 1 p.m. EST, Kresge will host a webinar to explain the grant opportunity and take questions. Register for the webinar here.

See the Libary item: Request for Proposals


See the Library item: FAQ

Harvesting leading practices


Accepting applications for activities that are both cross-sector (public, private) and cross-disciplinary initiatives under the broad theme of Strong, Healthy Places.

See the focus area page: Harvesting leading practices

Pioneering new approaches

Accepting applications for activities that are both cross-sector (public, private) and cross-disciplinary initiatives under the broad theme of Strong, Healthy Places.

See the focus area page: Pioneering new approaches