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Program for Connection

When people encounter experiences at arts and cultural organizations that align with what they care about in their lives, they will have an easier time understanding the importance of those organizations in their communities. Use the guide below to ensure that the values-based messages you’re using in your communications and marketing are reflected in the programs and experiences you offer.

Before you get started

Here are some things to remember as you design and update your programming and plans: People value opportunities to engage actively in arts and culture via personal creation, participatory museum and theater programming, and social interaction.

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Programming for CONNECTION and interaction

People value sharing creative experiences and expressing their own creativity. It helps us build powerful connections with the people we’re closest to, with our community and the world around us, with our heritage, and with ourselves.

Questions to ask:

  • In what ways will this program or experience help participants create connections (to family and friends, to people they do not already know, to their heritage, and to themselves)?

  • How can you provide more opportunities for people to be active participants with the work and not only be passive observers?

  • What opportunities can you provide for people to “get behind the curtain” witness, observe, and participate in the development process?


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Programming for GROWTH

Creative expression enriches our lives and communities by helping us GROW and find personal fulfillment.

Questions to ask:

  • How can your programs inspire and challenge people and teach them new things?

  • How do you make space for important discussions and questions?

  • How do you help people engage with, learn from, understand, appreciate, and empathize with other perspectives and cultures?

  • How can your programs foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills?

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Programming for WELL-BEING

Creative expression enriches our lives and communities by promoting our health and WELL-BEING.

 Questions to ask:

  • How can your programs help people reduce stress or find balance?

  • What activities can you offer that would help boost resilience, recovery, and healing?

  • In what ways do your offerings help people to energize and recharge themselves?

  • How do the experiences you offer help people reconnect with themselves or with what’s most important in their lives?


Programming for VOICE

Creative expression enriches our lives and communities by empowering everyone to find and share their VOICE, and enabling us to experience the voice of others.

 Questions to ask:

  • In what ways do you offer space for people to express their unique identity, creativity, and ideas?

  • How are you honoring and sharing cultural heritage and identities across generations and communities?

  • How does your work engage and elevate diverse voices and perspectives?

  • How do you offer programs that invite people to experience and be inspired by the creative expression of others?


Programming for HAPPINESS

Creative expression enriches our lives and communities by contributing to our HAPPINESS.

 Questions to ask:

  • How do you provide opportunities for people to create and share lasting memories?

  • In what ways do your programs and activities promote interaction between people?

  • What programs and activities help people experience the full range of human emotion?

  • How are you offering experiences for people to have fun?

Source new ideas

For other ideas on how you can integrate more social interaction and participation into your programs, check out these articles from the growing library of resources:

Photo credits from top left: Eugene Symphony photo by Amanda L. Smith; Hyde Square Task Force photo courtesy of the organization; ReadyGo Art at the People’s Center photo by Michael Johnson; Eugene Symphony photo by Amanda L. Smith.