The Center for Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP) is a field-building resource that aims to make visible the power of the arts to demonstrably increase civic capacity.  CPCP collaborates with artists and community/municipal organizations to develop best practice frameworks for innovative engagement and cross-sector partnership activity with a focus on field-to-field translation, collaboration and co-design skills. Current initiatives include the Civic Practice Lab at Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater (supported by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation); The Catalyst Initiative (supported by The Andrew Mellon Foundation); and Local Landscapes (collaborators include Americans for the Arts).

CPCP defines Civic Practice as arts-engaged partnership work that is developed in service to the needs of the non-arts partner. Artists engage in this work around the nation with regularity, but due to the frequent low visibility of these projects and a scarcity of shared vocabulary, the way we integrate them into ongoing national cross-sector dialogue is severely limited. Projects that utilize tools of meaning-making and collaboration to produce work of public utility and civic activity require advocacy and capacity-building.

Initial research funding during the Center for Performance and Civic Practice’s start-up period has come from Howlround: A Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College.