Land, Culture, and Belonging: Place-based Community Advocacy

Public space is essential for building a culture of belonging, but creating and preserving spaces for equitable public use often requires powerful advocacy and elaborate partnerships between community coalitions, city leaders, and developers. As venues for gatherings, performances, and large events, the spaces can foster new connections, amplify voices, and share messages that advance a culture of belonging without othering. Like many similar centers, the Henry J Kaiser Center, the building that is housing our conference, struggled with insufficient funding and was closed for nearly 20 years, only recently reopening its doors. A community coalition of artists of color negotiated a community benefits agreement with a private developer who was granted a long-term lease by the city. Who has access, who benefits, who pays and who decides on the use of the space continues to be a negotiation. This session will feature leaders in this process and discuss how the case speaks to broader issues of land, culture and belonging, locally and nationally.


Friday, April 26, 2024