Sharing Tables with Strangers

Chloë Kline, Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf

July 2016

Strengthening neighborhoods through community centric concerts in the West End
of Providence

Can classical music concerts strengthen neighborhoods? This fundamental question guides Community MusicWorks’ recent evaluation of a “community-centric concert series” in its home neighborhoods of the West End and South Side of Providence, RI. Community MusicWorks (CMW) was able to investigate these questions: 

  • How can the long-term presence of a place-based cultural organization impact the neighborhoods that host it?
  • How does an organization with a long history of being deeply embedded in a neighborhood deepen its connection, and widen the circle of its impact?
  • Can such changes be measured, and made visible? If so, how?
  • What does CMW’s experience say to the wider field about the role of arts and culture in building cohesive urban communities?

These questions are central to CMW’s long-term mission of building cohesive community in urban neighborhoods. They also have implications for the larger field of place-making through the arts, offering insights to organizations interested in building strong, lasting, and impactful partnerships in communities, and in measuring the changes wrought by these relationships.

In this report, made possible by funding from ArtPlace America, Chloë Kline and Dennie Wolf examine the power of music to create and support more cohesive urban communities — a vital role in cities that host widening gaps in wealth and opportunity.

Read the full report. 


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