Creating Meaningful Arts Programs Designed to Engage the Community

Recorded On: 09/28/2017


Arts are limited in schools and arts institutions are often intimidating, while parks are open and inviting spaces. There is an opportunity for Parks Departments to play an active role in providing well rounded and engaging arts programming. Like traditional sports programs, the arts also foster positive growth for all ages. Arts can be used to build self -confidence, improve self- expression, enhance problem solving, encourage innovation, tackle social inequity and build community bridges. Parks departments are uniquely positioned to provide a wide range of access to arts and cultural opportunities, which engage, create a sense of place and give voice to diverse communities. This session will explore how both hands-on and experiential programming can be a vibrant part of any parks department's offerings, when designed to meet the needs of your community. Robust, well designed arts programs not only unite diverse audiences, they can be a catalyst for addressing social equity.

Session outcomes:

  • Be able to identify a community challenge or opportunity where arts can be used to solve the problem.
  • Understand how to leverage resources (both dollars and partnerships) to create greater art opportunity for your participants.
  • Understand how practical application of art programming can bridge social equity gaps that may exist in your community.

Amy McBride

Tacoma Arts Administrator, City of Tacoma, WA

Amy McBride is the Arts Administrator for the Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality at the City of Tacoma. With over 20 years’ experience as an art professional and a goal of creating a fertile ecosystem for arts to thrive, Ms. McBride manages three funding programs for arts organizations and artists, implements public art projects, develops innovative and collaborative programming and formulates effective policy. She developed the public art plan for Metro Parks’ recently initiated 1% for art policy and in partnership with the District, manages the new public art program.

She holds an M.A. from the University of Washington-Tacoma in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on urban art and BA from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mary Tuttle

District-wide Programs Manager, Metro Parks Tacoma

Mary Tuttle has a passion for creating opportunities which connect people to parks and programs. She spent seventeen years of her career serving in a variety of capacities relating to the arts, spanning work in public schools, universities as well as public and private agencies. From 2006 - 2015 Mary focused on building a viable arts program brand at Metro Parks Tacoma, known as Metro Arts. 

Metro Arts has grown to an annual attendance of 90,000, with a total cost recovery rate of 80%. It is primarily a direct service provider, with offerings in Visual, Performing & Culinary Arts. Metro Parks Tacoma was awarded the prestigious City of Tacoma’s Arts Patron award in 2016, for both its public art and programming commitment to the community.

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