Image of the Santa Monica Boardwalk during a festival
Image courtesy of the city of Santa Monica

As local governments consider how to leverage a "once-in-a-generation" infusion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources, leaders may be wondering: Do we really have a sense of what our full community needs to recover from an incredibly challenging year? Could there be a transformative new idea, approach, or partnership out there that we just haven't thought of? 

There has possibly never been a better time to consider creative, community-engaged strategic planning and problem-solving approaches. As detailed in ICMA's recent guide, partnering with artists and culture bearers can help local governments and community stakeholders find new ways to communicate, build trust, and shape future development.

Recognizing the opportunities enabled by the ARP, Art-Train is a new virtual technical assistance program designed to give artists and local agencies the tools to effectively collaborate to support cross-sector, equity-centered, community-rooted solutions to pressing local government issues. 

ICMA is offering a limited number of scholarships to members or staff designees who would like to participate in the Art-Train program.

ICMA-sponsored participants in the agency-track will:

  • Attend a three-hour virtual training on May 25 (alternative dates are available if needed) and have access to biweekly coaching and technical assistance meetings for one year after the initial session.
  • Learn about strategies on partnering with local artists, including through flexible recovery funding, and three customizable models to implement local artist-centered programs within their own community.
  • Have opportunities to share what they have learned through ICMA content channels.
  • Connect with an expanded network of ICMA members and other peers interested in this work.

To apply for a scholarship, prospective participants should complete the brief form below and submit by May 14.

For just a few examples of successful local government-artist collaborations, read more about the projects below:

  • Art of Recovery, Santa Monica, California's effort to engage artists in projects promoting economic recovery, community connectedness and restorative justice, and public health and safety.
  • Creative placemaking in downtown business districts, a national effort led by the International Downtown Association and Springboard for the Arts.
  • The One Poem at a Time project in Louisville, Kentucky, that replaced predatory billboards with photography and poetry to accurately represent the identity and value of the community. 
  • The Eden Night Live project in Alameda County, California, where police deputies helped transformed a vacant lot into a vibrant community plaza. 
  • HighWaterLine, was a project in Delray Beach, Florida, where a chalk line helped represent community loss due to climate change. 

How to apply for the scholarship

Prospective participants should submit the following form by May 14, 2021. If you have questions about this opportunity, you can submit them with your application below or email

Apply for a scholarship to the Art-Train Technical Assistance Program

Are you willing to share how you are applying training content to your work (by connecting with other participants, writing for one of ICMA's content channels, being interviewed for a case study, etc.)?