Sustaining Religious Institutions, Social Clubs, and
Small Businesses That Serve As Community Cultural Centers

Community Anchors NYC

At a time of boom-and-bust development, artisanal pop-ups, and top-down gentrification, it is easy to forget the vital role played by long-standing community anchors like social clubs, religious institutions, and small businesses. For too long, philanthropy for arts and culture has paid scant attention to many of these grassroots sites, which serve as incubators for vibrant cultural activity in local communities. Fortunately, many visionary leaders are revitalizing immigrant and historic communities across the five boroughs of New York City. In 2015, with support from the Ford Foundation, City Lore’s Place Matters program undertook an initiative called Community Anchors. Through this unique program, we were able to document and honor as well as financially support ten sites throughout the city in their creative placemaking efforts, and to explore the broader issues faced by similar organizations that galvanize community activity through the arts.

Issue 1: The Struggle for Affordable Public Cultural Space

Issue 2: The Struggle for Affordable Private Cultural Space

Issue 3: Too Many Hats, Too Little Visibility

Issue 4: Sacred Space, Secular Arts

Community Anchors USA

This project was supported in part or in whole by an award from the Research: Art Works
program at the National Endowment for the Arts: Grant# 17-3800-7006. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the Office of Research & Analysis or the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in this report and is not responsible for any consequence of its use.