Catalyst Initiative

Supporting a cohort of place-based project teams (an individual artist and a community or municipal partner) to conceive and execute a civic practice project.

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the catalyst cohort experience

Through the cohort, CPCP offers artists and partners conceptual and process support throughout planning, implementation, and documentation of their projects.  Artist and civic partner teams receive capacity-building in:

  • Solid partnership processes and cross-sector translation tools

  • Co-design strategies that demonstrate the value of cross-sector collaboration

  • Project coaching and site visits by CPCP staff

  • Web-based narrative project portraits to aid in local and field-wide advocacy

  • Opportunities to engage in a national cohort of peer artist/partner teams

"I learned so much about myself in doing this process, and in fact, I made discoveries of how my artistic practices apply very directly to the fields of organizational change and strategic development... I gained more confidence in the vitality and relevance of my work and methodology in a new way!"
— Anu Yadav, Actress, Playwright and Teaching Artist


CPCP’s first three rounds of the Catalyst Initiative have included projects in Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC.  

Past projects have been led by artists from theater, dance, literary, multimedia, and the visual arts who have partnered with policy, environmental, historical preservation, agricultural, transportation, health, water conservation, agriculture, resident recovery, workers advocacy, interfaith, and neighborhood organizations.

To see the work of these artists and partners, check out the project portraits

"The Catalyst work has continued to germinate in many ways!  I'm working with a small team from different non-profit orgs all focused on sustainable and accessible water in California and we've gotten a grant. My biggest contribution is a continuation of Catalyst work: thinking and designing creative engagements to frame, guide, and process dense and charged conversations about water pasts and futures. This work continues to nourish!"
– Nikiko Masumoto, Writer, Artist, and Farmer

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“I don't know that I would have automatically put this type of storytelling project together without the impetus of CPCP. It made me look at partnerships in a different way; how we can bring awareness to issues and how we can educate, using different community partners than what we normally use.”
– Stacie Walls-Beegle, CEO, LGBT Life Center


Interested in the future of the Catalyst Initiative?  Sign up for our mailing list to receive news on the next round of applications.  

Want to see this work continue?  To directly contribute to funding future cohorts and projects, make a donation to CPCP

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