The Catalyst Initiative supports place-based project teams comprised of an individual artist and a civic (community, non-profit, or municipal) partner to conceive and execute a small-scale local arts-based project created in response to an expressed need by the partner. The Catalyst Initiative is one of CPCP's three core streams of activity. 

As part of the cohort, CPCP offers artists and civic partners conceptual and process support throughout planning, implementation, and evaluation of their projects. CPCP makes site-visits, convenes the cohort and supports documentation.  Artist and civic partner teams receive capacity-building in —

  1. Solid partnership processes and cross-sector translation tools
  2. Co-design strategies that clearly demonstrate the value of cross-sector collaboration through the resulting community endeavors
  3. Project coaching by CPCP staff throughout the project timeline
  4. Web-based narrative case studies to aid in local and field-wide advocacy
  5. Opportunities to engage in a national cohort of peer artist/partner teams

The Catalyst Initiative is made possible due to generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

You can read more about how CPCP defines Civic Practice here.  




Latrelle Bright & Carol Hays of the Prairie Rivers Network

Latrelle Bright is a theatre maker and arts advocate. Prairie Rivers Network champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois.


Jasmin Cardenas & Ana Romero of the Chicago Workers Collaborative

Jasmin Cardenas is an actress, storyteller, arts educator, and a community organizer & activist who identifies as Colombian-American. CWC Workers’ Centers in Waukegan, Elgin, and Chicago-Little Village, Chicago-Englewood, offer workers a safe-space to build leadership and learn how to grow power in the workplace; regardless of which agency they work for.


Heidi Winters Vogel of Inside Out Playback Theatre & Reverend Daniel Robayo-Hidalgo of the Episcopal Diocese  of Virginia

Inside Out Playback Theatre has curated storytelling events with trauma and abuse survivors, a racial reconciliation group, local churches, college students in conflict, international peace-builders, folks transitioning out of incarceration, middle and high school students, migrant workers and professional organizations all over the United States and with people from all over the world. Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s committee on Race and Reconciliation is to support the Diocese, its churches, committees, commissions and related organizations in eliminating racism and encouraging cultural diversity, recognizing and incorporating the diverse & enriching gifts of all races and cultures.


Sarah Campen & Christine Woll of The Nature Conservancy

Sarah Campen is an Alaskan rural community organizer and interdisciplinary artist working in the mediums of dance/movement, playwriting, and theatre performance. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.


Oskar Ly & Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association

Oskar Ly is Queer Hmong French American multi-disciplinary artist, cultural producer and community organizer. Hmong American Farmers Association advances the prosperity of Hmong farmers through cooperative endeavors, capacity building and advocacy. HAFA is a non-profit started and led by family farmers.


Kimi Eisele & Brian Powell of Pima County Office of Sustainability & Conservation + Claire Zugmeyer of the Sonoran Institute

Kimi Eisele is a Tucson-based writer, dancer/choreographer, director, and visual artist. Pima County’s Office of Sustainability and Conservation works to promote a sustainable and livable community and the conservation of Pima County’s natural and cultural resources through the implementation of Board adopted policies that promote the environmental, social, and economic wellbeing of our region. The Sonoran Institute’s mission is to connect people and communities with the natural resources that nourish and sustain them.


Over the course of our first two rounds of the Catalyst Initiative grantees, 13 teams of artists and civic partners from Arizona, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. came together to envision the impact that the arts could have on their community-based work. The projects focused on a range of community development sectors including Agricultural and Food, Economic Development, Environment and Open Space, Transportation, Public Health and Safety, and Community Development. Each artist focused on a set of activities ranging from community engagement and visioning to creative advocacy practices, organizational capacity building, and cross-sector knowledge sharing.

To learn about previous Catalyst Initiative collaborations, check out the project portraits on our Resources page or via CPCP on Issuu.