Building Public Narratives to Support the Arts and Creativity

Helping the arts and creative sector broadcast their stories of impact to the public is a cornerstone of MASSCreative’s advocacy strategy. By telling the public narratives of working artists and cultural leaders, we can better engage and influence our political leaders to bring more support and resources to the sector.

This summer, MASSCreative’s Executive Director Matt Wilson conducted a half-day training with a set of museum curators from the Peabody Essex Museum’s (PEM) Native American Fellowship (NAF) program.

PEM houses the oldest ongoing collection of Native American art in the Western Hemisphere. Beyond stewarding the collection through exhibitions and publications, PEM furthers its commitment to it by fostering and advancing the next generation of Native American leaders in the cultural sector through its fellowship. Since 2010, the NAF has gathered talented emerging indigenous scholars and cultural heritage professionals for summer-long positions within the museum.

Wilson’s training with the fellows, helped them develop their own narrative on what brought them to their work as museum curators. Said Wilson, “Telling one’s personal narrative is a leadership practice. Through narrative, we can learn to access the moral resources we need to make choices we must in response to the challenges of an uncertain world – as individuals, as communities and as nations.”


Because it engages the “head” and the “heart,” public narrative can instruct and inspire - teaching us not only why we should act but moving us to act. We can use public narrative to link our own calling to that of our community to a call to action. Leaders can use public narrative to interpret their values to others, enable one’s community to experience values it shares, and inspire others to act on challenges to their values.

If you are interested in scheduling a public narrative training for your organization, contact Selassie Davies at [email protected]

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