Radically Disrupting the Community/Cultural Planning Engine

Saturday, June 16, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

A cultural plan is one steps a local art agency can take to increase arts-directed funds in their community--but how do you re-envision the cultural planning process in a way that accounts for the healthy, vibrant, equitable new community visions people want now? In this session, hear how local arts agencies and their partners are cracking open the process, embracing new strategies, and developing community plans that are more inclusive, more equitable, and more representative of the community's hopes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the integration of longitudinal and incremental evaluation and market research to measure cultural vitality and impact.
  2. See what happens when you place art and artists at the center of a cultural planning process--and how.
  3. Hear about how certain communities are pushing beyond "cultural plans" to integrate arts and culture in full community plans in new and innovative ways.


Mario Mesquita
Education Manager
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
San Diego, California

Mario Mesquita, M.F.A in Public Practice 2015, Otis College of Art and Design, is an educator, advocate, artist, and organizer who explores the relationships and created boundaries that which we participate in–from public to personal realms. He is a founding member of Michelada Think Tank, a group of socially conscious artists, educators, and activists of color hosting conversations with people of color and allies interested in creative ways of change. Trained in graphic arts, he has pursued work beyond visual messaging and sought out opportunities to guide and shape people’s lives through education. Currently working in the intersection of art and education as the Education Manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. As a socially engaged artist, his practice encourages reciprocal dialogue and mutual learning, infusing contemporary art and practices with education to be used as a vehicle for education and an agent of social change.

Karla Raines
Corona Insights
Denver, Colorado

Karla specializes in strategy. Her work in the the arts includes IMAGINE 2020: Denver's Cultural Plan and 20:21 A Cultural Plan for Allentown (PA) along with numerous strategy engagements. A skilled associative thinker, Karla is adept at creating breakthrough ideas and new ways of looking at existing issues. She engages customers through original insights backed up by research. Recognizing that strategy development and execution is an ongoing and iterative process, she serves as a sounding board, strategy partner and of counsel strategist to organizational leadership. Karla holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. In her free time Karla is an abstract artist and fashionista.

Tom Borrup, Ph.D.
Creative Community Builders
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tom Borrup, Ph.D. a long-time leader in the community based arts field is the founder of Creative Community Builders based in Minneapolis. He consults with cities, foundations, and nonprofits integrating arts, economic development, urban planning and design, civic engagement, and animation of public space. His 2006 book The Creative Community Builders’ Handbook, remains the leading text in the field. As Executive Director of Minneapolis’ Intermedia Arts from 1980 to 2002, Tom helped transform a diverse urban neighborhood while building a nationally recognized multidisciplinary, cross-cultural organization. Tom serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Minnesota’s Masters in Arts and Cultural Leadership and teaches Cultural Planning for Drexel University. He earned his Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University researching the social and organizational networks of arts and cultural districts.

Lesley A. Elwood
Public Art / Cultural Planning Consultant
Elwood and Associates
Marina del Rey, California

Lesley Elwood, President and Founder of Elwood and Associates, has contracted with numerous public institutions and private developers since 1993. These include the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Long Beach Transit, Los Angeles to Pasadena Metro Blue Line Construction Authority, Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority and Omnitrans of San Bernardino County. Private development projects have been completed in Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, and West Covina. These projects have all required diverse artist selection processes, community interaction, governmental agency coordination, and artist oversight. Elwood has extensive experience brokering partnerships between private developers and non-profit arts/community organizations. Elwood has worked with artists from throughout the United States as well as Mexico, Japan, and Argentina. She has extensive experience giving educational presentations to arts organizations and civic groups. Her projects have been recognized and awarded by the City of Los Angeles, Southern California AIA, and the Western Council of Construction Consumers. She is a California certified SBE/DBE.