Cultural Organizing

In this podcast, host Richard Evans explores how to strengthen communities through cultural initiatives. He is joined by Frances Lucerna, Executive Director of El Puente, which is based in the South Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and Caron Atlas, Co-Director of Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts. They discuss how to best support existing communities through grassroots organizing around local cultural commonalities.

This podcast is part of an ongoing series that profiles the work of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2011 Cultural Innovation Fund grantees. Learn more.


atlasCaron Atlas, Co-Director of NOCD-NY, is also Director of the Arts & Democracy Project, which supports the cross-pollination between arts and culture, participatory democracy, and social justice. She also teaches at Pratt Institute, and is a member of the Steering and District committees for Participatory Budgeting in New York. She is co-editor of two publications: Bridge Conversations and Critical Perspectives, and contributor to Towards a 21st Century City for All and Beyond Zuccotti Park. Atlas worked many years at Appalshop, the Appalachian media center, and was the founding director of the American Festival Project, a national coalition of activist artists.

lucernaFrances Lucerna, Co-Founder & Executive Director of El Puente, has been a pioneer of community arts and education for the past 30 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Dance from Hunter College and Masters of Arts, in Education and Supervision, from Bank Street College. She danced professionally for 10 years and in 1980 returned to her community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and founded the Williamsburg Arts & Culture Council for Youth, a performing and visual arts program for adolescents. In 1982, Ms. Lucerna became co-founder of El Puente, a nationally recognized community/youth development organization nurturing holistic leadership for peace and social justice.

Richard Evans is the President Emeritus of EmcArts, where he directs program design, research, and strategic partnerships that place a particular emphasis on innovation, adaptive organization change, and effective ways that the arts and culture field can respond to the demands of a new era.