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Community Engagement

The Indiana Arts Commission has adopted community engagement as a principle to support our values and funding imperatives and address structural inequalities by providing access to programs, services, and resources.

So what exactly is Community Engagement?

Community Engagement Defined

The IAC defines community engagement as the activity of consistently cultivating two-way community relationships – beyond conventional programmatic partnerships. Community partnerships are rooted in programs, activities, and marketing, whereas community engagement is rooted in people and requires long-term commitment.

Why Community Engagement?
  • To build a better community, not just a better organization
  • To understand what the community cares about
  • To build better programs and a more loyal audience
  • To share control with community groups and members
  • To produce things that are meaningful to the community
  • To challenge organizations and the community
  • To propel change in organizations and the community
  • To build a more sustainable, long-term organization

What can be done as an Individual Practitioner?

  • Identify resources and allies within your own organization and/or your community.
  • Seek support from colleagues who are in the process of creating change within their institutions.
  • Be committed to a lifelong process of learning and change.
  • Be available to your peers as a resource.
  • Conduct data analysis on your own portfolio to identify where dollars are going and opportunities for change.
  • Use inclusive and welcoming language in your external communications.
  • Seek research and data about equity to present to leadership.
  • Learn the history of local ALAANA communities and become familiar with leaders.

What can be done in your Institution?

  • Provide opportunities for board and staff to learn about or attend trainings on implicit biases and historical perceptions of disability.
  • Assure that an equity lens informs all decision-making, programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Establish an equity advisory committee or working group of colleagues that will inform programming direction and guide institutional change.
  • Use inclusive and welcoming language in your external communications.
  • Advocate research and data collection that accurately represents the demographics served by and serving in arts organizations and foundations.
  • Intentionally consider, select, and support board and staff who value equity.
  • Intentionally consider, select, and support diverse candidates for board and staff.
  • Collaborate with other organizations working in IDEA to provide resources and share best practices to create equity.


Contact Information

This work is constant and always evolving. If you have any thoughts, comments, resources, or suggestions you’d like to share with us, please email them to