Bridging Divides, Creating Communities: Arts, Culture, and Immigration

John Arroyo
Date of Publication: 
October, 2020
Source Organization: 
Welcoming America

Rifts in public attitudes toward immigration policy underscore the need to understand changing demographics as a value, not a threat. The migration experience can teach us more about unity than differences. Bridging Divides, Creating Communities: Arts, Culture, and Immigration is a field scan that highlights how arts and cultural strategies are effective tools in achieving immigration-related outcomes. The author lists four immigration priorities (goals): building welcoming and inclusive communities, empowering new Americans through relevant service provision, expanding alliances to build collective capacity, and establishing infrastructure in immigrant destinations. Each goal is paired with an arts and culture strategy so that artists and stakeholders can develop a shared language and mutual objectives for local communities to benefit from cross-sector collaboration and synergies. The field scan is based on an analysis of 140 creative placemaking projects, and semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 30 practitioners working in the immigration and/or arts and cultural sectors. Arroyo provides detailed case studies from across the country that offer successful and replicable models regardless of whether a locality is a traditional gateway city or new immigrant or refugee destination. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Arroyo, J. (2020). Bridging Divides, Creating Community: Arts, Culture, and Immigration. [A Creative Placemaking Field Scan]. Artplace America, LLC and Welcoming America.