Arts and Culture

What’s Your Role?

Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture Icon

What’s Your Role?

Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture Icon

As a person working in the arts and culture sector or a community development professional interested in using art in your work, you can create attractive public spaces that encourage physical activity.

Arts and culture can be a valuable piece of community planning and development strategies designed to promote physical activity. If you’re an artist or a community development professional, you can look for ways to work with others in your community to create attractive and accessible public spaces.

By involving local residents, you can ensure that community spaces represent and serve these residents in fun, customized ways. Communities with more appealing features, like public art, can attract more visitors and connect people and places in new ways.

Your efforts can also help improve the local economy and give new life to vacant or underused areas, making them more attractive and inclusive for people of all ages and abilities.

What Can You Do?

You can use the following strategies to encourage physical activity in your community.

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As an arts and culture professional, you can:

  • Join a local coalition working on planning and development projects designed to make your local community more activity friendly.
  • Propose projects that add unique features, such as artwork, to pedestrian infrastructure. These features should meet the needs of community members, while also reinforcing local identity and pride.
  • Partner with city leaders and local neighborhood groups to increase the use of local parks or green spaces by adding design elements that reflect local cultural traditions.
  • Help improve pedestrian infrastructures by adding public art and new activity-friendly features.
Want more proven ways to increase physical activity?

Active People, Healthy NationSM has many strategies that work. Visit the website to find options that fit your needs. Look for ways to collaborate with other sectors.

As a community development professional, you can:

  • Include creative placemaking in community development strategies. Creative placemaking uses multiple community-driven, collaborative approaches to integrate arts, culture, and design into the creation of public spaces that promote the wellbeing of residents.
  • Create ways for residents to be involved in community development decisions.
  • Use new and culturally relevant community design strategies that connect routes and destinations to increase physical activity.
Woman biking with backpack by wall art

What Other Organizations Are Doing

These communities are using arts and culture in their activity-friendly projects.

Public Art Creates Inviting Space in Greensboro, North Carolinaexternal icon
For decades, an abandoned railroad underpass in Greensboro formed a barrier between the city’s center and surrounding neighborhoods. The underpass was transformed into a work of public art as part of a project to develop a 4-mile, multiuse greenway across the city. Local artists added in creative ironwork and interactive lighting to make the area accessible and visually appealing.

Cultural Trail Connects Neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indianaexternal icon
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path that connects six cultural districts across downtown Indianapolis. It promotes economic growth and quality of life by linking neighborhoods, businesses, and entertainment venues. The inclusion of public art creates a world-class public space for both residents and visitors.

Colorful Signs Guide Walkers in Detroit, Michiganexternal icon
In Detroit, essential services and places are spread out across the city. That makes it hard for residents who use public transit or other forms of active commuting to get to the places they need to go. To help overcome this problem in one neighborhood, city officials hired a local artist to create colorful wayfinding signs between a bus stop and a local recreation center. The artist collected community feedback to design the signs, which have messages in multiple languages.

Resources to Help You

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity