How Cities Use Parks for Arts and Cultural Programs

City Parks Forum Briefing Papers 8



Urban parks have always been an important setting for arts and cultural programs. During the late 19th century, parks commonly hosted musical events. By the beginning of the 20th century, dance, theatre, and even the new medium of film began to be represented in parks programming.

Today, there is a tremendous flowering of artistic and cultural activity in urban parks, from large-scale performing arts festivals to long-term residencies with arts organizations. Parks and the arts have become mutually beneficial: the arts can play an essential role in revitalizing a park, and parks in turn can help solve problems faced by artists and arts organizations.

Since parks are the democratic spaces of a city, where communities can come together to express their identities, the marriage of parks and the arts makes perfect sense. Parks can be a vital place for the cultural expression of a community and a city.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2005
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association