Cultural Community Benefits Principles Toolkit

Building Meaningful Strategies for
Just Transformations

This toolkit is a values-driven and pragmatic approach to building equitable relationships with residents, artists, culture-bearers, and organizers.

Edited by Cézanne Charles, the CCBP Toolkit was collaboratively developed by ArtChangeUS with Detroit cultural organizers to shift institutional practices within the creative sector.

Arts in a Changing America has a mission to reframe the national arts conversation by embracing the cultural assets of demographic change. ArtChangeUS is creating a vast network of artists, idea producers, and organizations that serves as an urgently needed catalyst to bring unheard leadership voices to the forefront of social discourse, arts production, and community change. As part of this broader mission, they contracted us to develop the toolkit and refine the Cultural Community Benefits Principles (CCBP) through interviews, field research and case studies. The principles were originally collaboratively developed with Detroit cultural organizers, based on ongoing efforts to increase accountability and engender equitable practices across the spheres of public/private real estate development (especially large-scale projects that receive public support) and in the planning and staging of public events, gatherings, and convenings.


The five principles ask us to address systemic injustice and structural sources of bias in society.

The toolkit supports organizations to center and uplift the narratives, experiences, talents, and histories of marginalized people and groups through their cultural convenings, programming, publications, discourse, and events. Further, organizations are asked to confer and extend tangible economic benefits to those same communities where possible. Every organization operates in its own context; the lessons, practices, and information contained in this toolkit is designed to spur reflection, conversation and creative thinking around the CCBPT.

Fundamentally, ArtChangeUS and its core partners believe that equity and anti-oppression processes are essential to creating and sustaining relevant, exciting, and influential cultural institutions that embrace difference and the nuances, complexities, and richness that this brings to society.

This toolkit brings together interviews, case studies, reflective prompts, contextual research, and group activities to unpack and operationalize the principles. Beginning in late 2017, this project was facilitated through an advisory including: Halima Cassells, Ill Weaver, and for ArtChangeUS, Roberta Uno, Kassandra Khalil, Elizabeth Webb, Daniela Alvarez, and Kapena Alapai. 


rootoftwo and ArtChangeUS would like to acknowledge the work of Rise Together Detroit, a coalition of grassroots community organizations from across Detroit that formed to ensure that Detroiters have a seat at the table when it comes to development in Detroit, and that such developments are equitable and inclusive. RTD produced and led the campaign for Community Benefits Ordinance Proposal A on Detroit’s 2016 ballot. This resident- and community-led initiative challenged the institutional practices of real estate development in the City of Detroit, inspiring the work of the principles and this toolkit.

Following its completion, the principles and toolkit have spurred the Cultural Community Benefits Trainings – a series of learning opportunities (in-person and virtual) for individuals and organizations. Developed by ArtChangeUS, these offer creative, practical and meaningful strategies for building commitments to greater diversity, equitable stakeholder relationships, and structural change within their work. Sessions are facilitated by ArtChangeUS team members and independent creatives in the field.



Date: 2018

Location: Los Angeles, CA; Detroit, MI; and New York, NY

Client: Arts in a Changing America

Development: Fall 2017 – Summer 2018
Completed/Launched: Fall 2018 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN REMAP: Twin Cities

Arts in a Changing America; The Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation.

California Institute of the Arts and NEO Philanthropy.

Cézanne Charles (rootoftwo – Editor and Researcher)
Halima Cassells (Editorial Advisory – Artist/Organizer)
Ill Weaver (Editorial Advisory – Artist/Organizer)
ArtChangeUS: Roberta Uno, Kassandra Khalil, Elizabeth Webb, Daniela Alvarez, and Kapena Alapai (Producer, Editorial Advisory & Research).
Middlecott Design (Visual Design/Layout)

Dimensions: 8.5’ (L) x 11’ (W); 61 pages

Media: Print and Digital Publication

URL: ArtChangeUS CCBP Toolkit


Featured Image: Performance by Ty Defoe. New York City ArtChangeUS Launch 2015.
Courtesy: Arts in a Changing America
Photo: Michael Conti

Join Our Mailing List

Reach out and say hello