We help clients equitably advance cultural vitality. We connected Grand Rapids, MN with a strategic vision to shape municipal policy and resource allocation for arts and culture. We lead a creative community development planning process for NeighborWorks America. And, we helped Plainfield, NJ assess converting a former church into a cultural arts and education center. We provide:

  • Cultural plans for districts, cities, towns & regions
  • Strategic advice to advance equitable outcomes
  • Creative community engagement
  • Arts-based public participation
  • Cultural asset mapping
  • Public art planning
  • Research for cultural facility development

Want to learn more about Metris’ cultural planning philosophy? We invite you to read “A Cultural Planning Manifesto,” written by principal cultural planner Julie Burros, or listen to the American Planning Association’s interview with her for its “The People Behind the Plans” podcast series.

Cultural Asset Mapping – Year of Chicago Theatre (Current)

The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the League of Chicago Theatres designated 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre to celebrate and build a stronger, more diverse, and inclusive performing arts sector. As a legacy of that year, the League and DCASE invested in a deeper understanding and engagement with theater and performance assets in the South and West Sides of Chicago, areas which have traditionally had less support and formal infrastructure for the performing arts. In 2019, Metris participated in the process to select three teams of artists to carry out extensive community engagement and data collection. Pivoting to virtual engagement during 2020, the teams collected stories and perspectives to identify cultural assets on the South and West Sides of Chicago—the people, organizations, facilities, businesses, and place-based histories that support and inform the development of the performing arts in these communities. The Metris team facilitated team convenings and reflection sessions. Metris supported the teams’ efforts by providing technical assistance on data collection design and selecting Esri mapping tools. Metris is now conducting an analysis of the material collected to inform policy and programmatic recommendations to help strengthen the performing arts sector in underserved areas of Chicago. The recommendations will align with opportunities within Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative and upgrades coming to Chicago Parks District and Public Library facilities. The final report documenting the cultural asset mapping process and findings will aim to catalyze the development of long-term support systems and infrastructure for the performing arts on the South and West Sides of Chicago.

Charting Intermedia Arts’ Next Chapter (2019)

Intermedia Arts’ mission reads, “Intermedia Arts is a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art.” For over four decades, Intermedia offered support for underrepresented artists and community members in the Twin Cities. In 2018/2019, Intermedia faced a pivot point. Amid a financial crisis, the board decided to lay off all staff and sell its building in order to address and overcome that crisis. The board subsequently engaged Metris along with social practice artist Marcus Young. Metris and Young served as thought partners to help Intermedia better understand how it could invest the remaining $1 million in proceeds from the building sale in a way that continues to fulfill its mission and meets the needs of the arts community it traditionally served.

Cultural Asset Mapping (2019)

Biomed Realty purchased one of the last remaining open parcels in the Kendall Square section of Cambridge, Massachusetts. BioMed Realty engaged Metris to identify what physical cultural assets already exist in the Cambridge area and identify gaps in the marketplace. Metris developed an extensive database of cultural assets, created a series of thematic, regional maps to illustrate clusters of cultural assets and delivered an interactive map of cultural assets, so that the client can conduct further analysis as the development plan progresses.

Plainfield Cultural Arts Education Center (2018)

The City of Plainfield, New Jersey found itself facing an exciting prospect—the transformation of the soon-to-be-vacated First Unitarian Church into a vibrant, multi-use, cultural arts education center. Metris contributed its experience in cultural planning, cultural facility development, creative placemaking, and municipal arts program development. The City engaged Metris to investigate comparable projects to identify the elements of a successful development, what their operation comprises, and what kind of a public planning process they undertook. Metris conducted a site visit to the First Unitarian Church to better understand the space and the condition of the building. We then researched three successful multi-use arts centers in former sacred or historic spaces. We then developed key findings and recommendations that the City can incorporate into the planning and feasibility process to realize a multi-use cultural arts education center.

GRMN Creates

GRMN Creates: an arts and culture roadmap (2015)

Metris Arts and strategic partners GO collaborative and Markusen Economic Research developed a ten-year, strategic arts and cultural plan for the City of Grand Rapids, MN. We connected Grand Rapids with a community-backed, strategic vision that will help to shape all aspects of municipal policy and resource allocation related to arts and culture.

Read Online | Download pdfs: Full Report | Intro & Goals

Working Effectively with Somali Residents Through the Arts

Working Effectively with Somali Residents Through the Arts (2009)

A study examining how the nonprofit, commercial and academic arts sectors can work more effectively with a large concentration of Somali residents in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Read Online | Download pdf: Working Effectively with Somali Residents Through the Arts