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We work at the messy edges where systems begin to integrate and transform into new modes of practice.


  • To support local government staff committed to their communities and looking for new ways to address complex issues.

  • To ensure arts and culture have place at the table in civic decision making.

  • To help local governments find locally specific and innovative solutions. 

  • To ensure that equity is at the foundation of all cross-sector work.

  • To provide the materials and tools needed for local governments, community development organizations, and arts organizations to work in deep partnership with each other.

  • To share our triumphs and our defeats. The work isn’t easy, and we want others to not only have the tools they need, but also to know where things can get hard, so others can find new edges of practice within their own work.

Civic Arts was there with us throughout the project in ways we didn’t even imagine at the beginning. We knew as an small arts organization that we needed help figuring out how to work with local government to scale our ideas. But when we started we didn’t realize what we didn’t know. Lynn and Ben helped us communicate with our municipal partners and find opportunities we didn’t know existed.
— Christina Houle, Las Imaginistas

What We've Achieved

  • Created the Exploring Our Town creative placemaking webportal for the National Endowment of the Arts.

  • Worked with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to develop Evaluation Plans for community development organizations across the country.

  • Created the ArtPlace America funded Drawing Lines Project in partnership with the City of Austin.

  • Supported artists and arts organization to have direct roles in municipal projects.

  • Worked with Austin area minority youth to identify local challenges and create art in response to those challenges.

  • Developed cultural arts master plans for small and mid-sized cities across the United States.

  • Completing a three year study with Forklift Danceworks on how arts organizations create civic capacity (funded by the National Endowment for the Arts).

Over here you’ve got some shapes... you know it’s actually kind of interesting... each shape has its own thing... and then when it comes together it really gives you a sense of completion. This piece of art caused me to have an emotional reaction - is that normal?
— Tom Haverford, Parks Department, Pawnee, IN



Lynn Osgood, Executive Director

Lynn Osgood is an urban planner and researcher whose work explores the intersection of the arts, planning, civic capacity building. Trained in landscape architecture and urban planning at the University of Virginia, Lynn moved to Austin in 2003, where she became Adjunct Faculty at the University of Texas.  In 2011 she started Civic Arts (previously GO collaborative) where she now serves as the Executive Director and leads the development of creative placemaking projects such as the NEA Exploring Our Town website, and the ArtPlace America funded Drawing Lines project, and technical assistance services for the LISC/Kresge.

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Ben Martin is an urban planner who focuses on cultural planning, creative placemaking, affordable housing, and economic development. At Civic Arts, Ben has developed and contributed to arts and cultural plans, engagement, and research for clients such as the Cities of Austin, Bastrop, and Brownsville, and Foundation Communities CDC. Previously, at Metris Arts Consulting, he was the lead researcher and writer for a field scan for ArtPlace America. Ben holds a Master’s of Science in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas, where he was a researcher on the “Uprooted” report on gentrification for the City of Austin. Ben is the cofounder of SPACE (“Sustaining and Preserving Austin’s Creative Ecosystem”), a group that advocates for the needs of local low-income arts and cultural spaces.



Arlene Ellwood works at Civic Arts as a project assistant while completing her degree in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Specializing in community-based architecture and with a background in engineering, Arlene brings a precision and rigor to Civic Arts mapping and project management tasks. With additional experience in the field of transportation, Arlene holds an undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.



Abbey Judd works at Civic Arts as a project associate while pursuing her masters in Community & Regional Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Abbey brings passion and experience to arts and culture in community engagement. Abbey assists with Civic Arts’ local Rundberg and Arts in Sacred Places initiatives. Abbey has her Bachelors of Arts in Urban Studies from Rhodes College.



Natalia Rocafuerte is a multimedia artist, disk-jockey and organizer in Austin, TX. She obtained a BA in multimedia studies and Art History from Texas State University and mostly dedicates her practice to material research, video and audio installations and illustration. A recent fellow of the 2019 NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentorship, Rocafuerte worked and collaborated with notable community based institutions like BossBabesATX, Mexic-Arte Museum and the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Rocafuerte also spins with the all vinyl collective Chulita Vinyl Club.

Project Partners, Sponsors, and Clients

We’ve been very fortunate and honored to have worked with many amazing people and organizations over the years.

Thank you.
Thank you for the work.
Thank you for the chance to share my ideas.
Thank you for the experience. It was such a pleasure working with you.
Thank you for the most fun and satisfying time on a creative job in my entire career.
You’ve set a new standard.
You rock.
— Claudia Weigelsberger, artist, Calgary, CA