Thriving Cultures

Culture helps people connect over time, inviting them to build and sustain the vibrant communities they call home. Thriving cultures honor and celebrate the artistic impulse as part of community behavior and as a way to strengthen community identity and cohesion.The Surdna Foundation believes that cultural organizations, programs and projects often provide the opportunity for exploration of values and can act as catalysts for the building of just, sustainable communities.At their best, they contribute to fair access to social goods such as rights, opportunities and dignity.

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We fund work in three related thematic areas.

Teens' Artistic Advancement

Surdna is dedicated to providing opportunities for the artistic advancement of teens. We aim to stimulate fresh thinking and new approaches to address the isolation and lack of opportunities for artistic advancement for young people from disadvantaged communities. Long-term,we expect teens from many cultures to contribute to the artistic fabric of the United States and to contribute to the evolution of new art forms.

Artists Engaging in Social Change

Artists, arts and other cultural organizations play a critical role in fostering just and sustainable communities: they raise awareness and deepen our understanding of seemingly intractable social problems; they help those whose stories are not often heard to gain a public voice; and they help to develop innovative solutions and inspire community members to action. Surdna aims to strengthen the capacity of artists and cultural organizations to effectively engage in social change and to support and heighten awareness of the diverse roles artists can play in social change efforts.

Community Driven Design

As part of fostering just and sustainable communities, Surdna recognizes the critical role of community-driven design as a catalyst for positive change. Disadvantaged cultural groups often have little say, and fewer resources, towards the creation of public spaces that recognize their values, preferences and needs. Surdna will assist community and cultural leaders, architects, designers, engineers and others to increase their collaborative capacity to design places that honor the inhabitants and signal increased optimism about the community's future.

The Thriving Cultures Program also offers fellowships to arts teachers in arts-focused public high schools through our Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship Program (SATF).