How three communities integrated arts & culture with transportation—and how you can too

As part of the State of the Art Workshop, Bozeman’s participants ride the local Streamline bus to experience first-hand the challenges riders face. (Image: staff photo)

Last week the arts & culture team caught up with this year’s  State of the Art (SOTA) Transportation Training participants to learn how arts organizations and transportation agencies in these communities are successfully collaborating to address unique transportation challenges. We’re also releasing the DIY Toolkit so that you can hold SOTA Transportation Trainings in your own community.

With generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, T4America partnered with Americans for the Arts to help three communities build capacity among local arts and transportation agencies to better collaborate with each other. Through State of the Art (SOTA) Transportation Trainings, each community worked to integrate artistic and cultural practices into transportation projects. On Wednesday, March 6, we featured workshop participants from Mariposa County, CA; Buffalo, NY; and Bozeman, MT in a webinar to share their stories. A recording of that webinar is available below.

We heard the stories of three distinct communities and learned about the diverse role that art and culture can play in solving local transportation challenges. From Mariposa County to the City of Buffalo, the workshop aimed to better integrate the arts and transportation sectors. For example, in Mariposa County, Mariposa County’s Art Council partnered with Mariposa’s County’s Planning Department to engage residents in planning a multi-use path to improve economic vitality, public health, and social cohesion.

We also heard from Jim Madden of Mountain Time Arts, an ephemeral, socially-driven performance arts organization, and Sunshine Ross of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), which provides free transportation to residents of southwest Montana through Streamline Transit. The two Gallatin Valley-based organizations teamed up through the SOTA Transportation Training to bring awareness to Streamline’s existence, build a culture of ridership, and brainstorm ways to make funding for Streamline more sustainable.

Hold a training in  your community!

We also teamed up with Americans for the Arts to create the SOTA Transportation Training Do-it-Yourself Toolkit to walk through the steps to design and implement a Transportation Training in your own community. SOTA Transportation Trainings can help your community gain a better sense of the role arts and culture can play in a transportation project, provide an opportunity to strategize about a transportation project with a group of people who may not typically work together, and develop a series of actionable steps that will help address the project and future collaborations.

Download the guide for a DIY training!

If you’re interested in having Smart Growth America facilitating a SOTA Transportation Training, we’d love to hear from you!

Creative Placemaking Transportation