Arts & Culture Group Profile Project

The Arts & Culture Group embarked on commissioning written stories of the power of art in Appalachia. In this series - called How Appalachian People Use Art to Make Change: Stories of the Power of Art - we profile innovative projects in Appalachia that infuse community economic development work with arts and culture in order to make a stronger impact in the communities served.

Through the profiles, we sought to:

  •       Bring attention to the ways that arts and culture can integrate into any sector and across just transition issues;
  •       Lift up arts and culture work in the region as a way to draw in potential new funders to the region;
  •       Show funders who typically don’t fund arts and culture that using arts and culture strategies can amplify project impact in new ways;
  •       Demonstrate how funders are already engaging with and supporting this work;
  •       Share perspectives of how projects can be funded holistically and across multiple sectors.

The project was originally envisioned before a pandemic brought our economy and in-person social activities to a halt and before the profound national attention on racial injustice began creating new openings for changing broken systems. These simultaneous crises and opportunities are now the context in which these profiles debut, and their themes are even more salient: art heals; art builds power; art resonates when other forms of communication fall short; art helps us reimagine new ways of being. These stories illuminate what is possible when communities set culture as the root for positive transformation.

Download the full booklet of stories.


We welcome more stories of the power of art in Appalachia. If you'd like to share a written story, email [email protected]

We were thrilled to partner with Elizabeth Wright, who artfully wrote the profiles for this project. Special thanks to Lyz Crane of ArtPlace America and Heather Pontonio of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation for their excellent guidance on this series.