A community issue exhibition uses art and artifacts as a catalyst for community action on a specific local issue.
This model is designed to: ● Invite the general public to get involved in making their community better in a targeted way ● Empower community organizations that work on that issue to raise awareness and inspire action around their work ● Strengthen your institution’s position as a community convenor and catalyst
This is the community issue exhibition toolkit. We wrote it for institutions—museums, libraries, cultural centers—that want to host and develop these kinds of projects. Inside, you’ll find templates, checklists, and helpful tips to build a high-impact exhibition on an issue that matters in your community. There are many ways to make a community issue exhibition that can be scaled to fit your organization’s size, scope, and mission. We wrote this kit assuming you already have a way of developing exhibitions. This kit offers special considerations for creating a community issue exhibition. Adapt this toolkit as you see fit.
This kit is based on our experiences at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) creating our first community issue exhibition in 2017: Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum. We’ve continued to use this template for other projects, but we thought it would be most valuable for you to see how this framework works with a single example from start to finish.