How to impact community health through engaging community stakeholders around cultural assets?

In 2011, Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) partnered with Healthy City to develop informational mapping of all the cultural treasures identified in four communities using the WikiMap tool on HealthyCity.org. ACTA, through a partnership with The California Endowment, implemented the “Activating Cultural Assets Pilot Project” (ACCAPP) in four Building Healthy Community locations: Boyle Heights, Eastern Coachella Valley, Santa Ana, and Merced. The pilot project utilized a participatory cultural asset mapping methodology to engage and empower community stakeholders to identify cultural treasures. ACTA defines “cultural treasures” as “the people, groups, places and events that reflect cultural expressions that are valued by the community.” The cultural asset mapping project was effective in lifting up community voice, as well as supporting community health through the implementation of a method that involved direct physical activity and creating new pathways to connect cultural treasures with social determinants of health.


Key Findings:

Community Stakeholders identified that in 2011, there were…

  • 84 cultural treasures in Boyle Heights.
  • 125 cultural treasures in Eastern Coachella Valley.
  • 102 cultural treasures in Merced.
  • 107 cultural treasures in Santa Ana.

Overall, a high percentage of the cultural treasures identified across the four communities were individual names of community members.

Effective Strategies
  • Cultural asset mapping creates an interactive way to create connections between community and self.
  • Cultural asset mapping can assist in creating a positive community counter narrative that can indirectly increase self-worth and pride.
  • Developing an online platform for collecting and disseminating information can help sustain stakeholder engagement.
Partner Profiles:

Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) promotes and supports ways for cultural traditions to thrive now and into the future by providing advocacy, resources, and connections for folk and traditional artists and their communities. ACTA is a statewide organization, headquartered in Fresno with regional offices in San Francisco, Watsonville, and Los Angeles. ACTA offers services, programs and grants. Over time ACTA has awarded over $4.2 million in grants and contracts.

Find out more about ACTA: http://www.actaonline.org

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