Cultural Policy


We define Cultural Policy as a system of arrangements (policies, practices, trends, etc.), both public and private, that govern and influence the arts and cultural sector.

Goals/Intended Outcomes

We envision a world in which:

  • Artists are recognized as valid and necessary participants in a healthy and thriving society, and have access to resources to thrive creatively and professionally
  • Historically marginalized individuals and organizations have the skills, resources, and opportunities to thrive and lead change
  • Arts organizers and cultural workers are actively engaged across sectors – including business, industry, and governments – recognizing the intersectionality of society’s most critical concerns and providing creative approaches toward a healthy, just, and sustainable world
  • Communities – as collections of people who share cultural heritages, philosophies, or geographic locations – have broad access to artistic work and cultural expression that is reflective of themselves and others
  • Public and private supporters advocate for and invest in living artists and the organizations that support them
  • Alternative systems of philanthropy, artistic opportunity, organizing, and policy-making are strengthened and modeled

Spheres of Influence

Our Cultural Policy work includes (but is not limited to) active engagement in the following areas:

  • Justice and equity that centers historically marginalized voices, including people of color, LGBTQ people, people living with disabilities, and rural and geographically isolated communities
  • Emergency preparedness, response, and resilience
  • International exchange that is rooted in equity and reciprocity
  • Local initiatives that contribute to a more just and healthy community in New Orleans
  • Arts philanthropy and its practices and policies
  • Environmental justice

How our Cultural Policy Work is Informed

Our work is driven first by the needs of our constituents – our Partner organizations, artists, and our local community in New Orleans. Additionally, we seek an understanding of the needs, gaps, and opportunities for influence within the broader arts sector, the arts philanthropy field, and the larger arenas of justice work.

How our Cultural Policy Work is Enacted

NPN/VAN’s Cultural Policy work is embedded within every department and across a range of platforms and approaches – public speaking, crafting of policy statements, participating in funding panels and boards, attending gatherings of field leaders, writing and publications, organizing convenings, and more. It is the purview of all staff, Board members, and Partners, and we work to be more deeply informed and skilled to practice this work. We seek opportunities to lead change, to speak up and speak out rather than simply observe. And we seek opportunities to learn from others who are better informed or experienced than we are, and to allow this understanding to embed itself into our programming and operations.

Past Issues