Piedmont Triad Initiative for Community Arts

Piedmont Triad Initiative for Community Arts Logo

improving lives through the arts


Salem College, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the High Point Area Arts Council and the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro are jointly sponsoring a multi-year project to harness the power of the arts to change individuals’ lives and our communities for the better.  For the purposes of the initiative, “community arts” means “arts-based projects intentionally designed to address community issues.”  Ideally, these will be carried out in partnership with community-based organizations.


PTICA encourages the arts to change individual lives and communities for the better. To achieve this end, PTICA seeks to foster lasting reciprocal working relationships between arts organizations, artists, and the broader community.


PTICA envisions itself as the catalyst of Triad community arts projects so that artists, arts organizations, community organizations, and the public begin to see the arts as a powerful tool for community improvement.


  1. Artists and arts organizations understand their role as a contributor to the improvement of individuals’ lives and begin to develop more work that does so.
  2. Community organizations, community leaders, and the public utilize the arts as an important vehicle for addressing social issues.
  3. Funders—public and private—support the power of the arts to transform individual lives and entire communities for the better and allocate more resources toward those ends.
Community Partners
Salem College
Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
High Point Area Arts Council
United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro The Winston-Salem Foundation Logo

The Piedmont Triad Initiative for Community Arts is funded in part by grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, the Charles Babcock, Jr. Field of Interest Fund of the Winston-Salem Foundation (www.wsfoundation.org), and The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Addressing Community Issues

Many of the most powerful examples of community arts work, sometimes called “community cultural development,” take place outside of established arts organizations.  The work is therefore not widely known by artists or arts managers.  Due to a very low public profile, it is also not widely recognized by funders, community agencies, or the general public.  As a result, arts organizations and the communities they serve are largely unaware of the potential this work represents.  Since this work is often a hybrid between the arts and the social sector it often “falls through the cracks” when it comes to funding.

Desired Outcomes

The creation of an atmosphere in which the arts are truly valued as a community asset.  Evidence of success will be increased collaboration among community organizations, community leaders, artists, and arts organizations.  A more specific near-term indicator of success will be the creation of a Triad community arts fair, giving organizations and artists the opportunity to discuss collaboration.  Another short term indicator will be the establishment of a community arts fellowship for local artists to create art projects that serve the community. A longer-term goal is the creation of a community mindset in which artists and arts organizations are consistently asked to participate in addressing issues of importance to residents of the Piedmont Triad.

The social capital impact of this project is particularly important.  The principal goal here is to use the arts as a mechanism for a broad variety of people—of differing interests, differing backgrounds, different vocations—to work together for community improvement.  It is through such work that social capital is most effectively developed.

The initiative began in the fall of 2007. It has accomplished the following

  • Development of a logo and web page for the project (www.salem.edu/communityarts)
  • Presentation of two workshops in November 2007 by national leaders in the community arts movement (Barbara Shaffer Bacon and Pam Korza). 65 arts and community leaders met to learn about the potential of community arts project and began imagining new ways of working.  45 community leaders were introduced to the concept and engaged in lively discussion about the possibilities.
  • Establishment of the database for a Community Arts Registry in the Piedmont Triad
  • Establishment of contacts with community education advocates as a foundation upon which to build arts-based student engagement projects 
  • Focus group meeting in Winston-Salem in January 2008 that has resulted in partnership projects dealing with the design for bridge replacement over Business 40 in Winston-Salem and supporting the ECHO Council’s StoryLine Project. The most visible results to date were a community forum on the design of the Business 40 bridges that took place at Green Street United Methodist Church in April 2008 and an art exhibit at DADA in September 2008.
  • Community financial support. Since the beginning of the Piedmont Triad Initiative for Community Arts, the project has taken in or received pledges of approximately $50,000 in grants and other income, not including the salaries of the full-time employees of each sponsoring institution who are sponsoring PTICA.  Grants have been received from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Salem College, the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, and the Winston-Salem Foundation.

This initial phase has created an infrastructure to support a process through which the arts can become more active in enhancing lives in the Piedmont Triad. These accomplishments marks only the beginning of a much longer process. 

Over the next few months, the primary focus of PTICA will be to:

  • Support the Business 40 Bridges and StoryLine projects in Winston-Salem
  • Encourage the creation of additional community arts partnerships and projects
  • Develop a funding mechanism for community arts projects
  • Expand the community arts networks and contacts that have been established to this point
  • Report progress on these fronts to Forsyth and Guilford County constituents, with particular emphasis on developing relationships with the community leaders who participated in the November 2007 Leaders Summit.