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One concrete way we infuse the arts and culture into a community is cultural planning, a community-wide process of creating a vision for cultural programming and development. Another way is to ensure the health and vitality of cultural facilities in communities. Often, the two go hand-in-hand.

The cultural planning process assesses the current community culture and creates an implementation plan to achieve a community’s vision. Cultural plans act as mirrors for a community—they are, ideally, a reflection of the community’s culture that they serve.

Many communities are engaged in cultural planning to help address the needs and opportunities of the community members by assessing and utilizing the cultural resources available. Some cultural planning may be narrowly focused on the needs of artists, arts organizations, and audiences; however, cultural planners are increasingly considering the role of culture in resolving broader community issues.

The most successful cultural plans address the needs and desires of the community throughout the planning process, from the initial stages to the implementation of cultural programming and development.