Culture Counts in Communities: A Framework for Measurement

Report by Maria Rosario Jackson, Joaquin Herranz
November 1, 2002

The Arts and Culture Indicators in Community Building Project (ACIP), launched in 1996 with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, seeks to integrate arts and culture-related measures into neighborhood quality-of-life indicator systems. This task includes creating the concepts, tools, and language required to do so. ACIP is built on the premise that inclusion of arts, culture, and creativity in quality of life measures is more meaningful when it relies on the collaborative efforts of the wide spectrum of people involved in the arts and in community building.

Since existing formal data and research are not an adequate base on which to build meaningful neighborhood indicators with an arts dimension, ACIP—based on its field work and document research—developed a set of guiding principles for the treatment of arts, culture, and creativity in neighborhoods and a set of parameters for research and measurement. These have been refined through a process of idea development and debate in workshops and conferences of researchers, community builders, policymakers, funders, arts administrators, and artists—and through application by ACIP affiliates around the country.