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the report

Mapping the Landscape of Socially Engaged Artistic Practice

Socially engaged art is not new. Neither is writing about it. But despite a longstanding body of work in this area, the shape of the socially engaged art landscape remains elusive at best…at a time when artists’ voices could not be more necessary to society, or in need of support. Mapping the Landscape of Socially Engaged Art was written to help increase the visibility and legibility of this growing area of artmaking in order to amplify its impact and unlock more resources for it. The report’s authors, Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative, conducted in-depth interviews with over 50 diverse artists, field leaders and funders, a literature review, and a focus group with artists to discuss the findings. The resulting report offers new ways of looking at this landscape and includes case-studies of representative work.

what’s next

Mapping the Landscape and the microsite on which it is housed were created in part as catalysts for an ongoing conversation among artists themselves. displays information—Helicon’s report, a set of commissioned essays, a list of resources for professional development, funding, and ongoing education—but it is not a two-way microphone. Using the channels of social media, #artmakingchange is a forum to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities artists face when working in the public sphere. Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

about helicon

Helicon collaborates with artists, cultural organizations, foundations and other partners working to make the world more creative, sustainable and just for all people. More than a research firm, their work includes strategy, organizational development, coaching and consulting services. All their work is grounded in a belief in the power of culture as a transformative force for change and an essential component of a healthy and vital society. To learn more about who they are and what they do, visit


Initial funding for Mapping the Landscape and #artmakingchange was provided by the Compton and Robert Rauschenberg Foundations. Both the site and the report on which it is based are the result of many people contributing their time, talent, and resources as interviewees, copyeditors, or design advisors. Special thanks must be extended to Joshua Ascherman, Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford at Helicon Collaborative, Emma Kilroy, the entire team at Kiss Me I’m Polish, Jen Sokolove, and last but not least, Risë Wilson. Without their Herculean efforts none of this would have come to pass.