A Story of Untapped Potential

CultureBank is a new investment platform that seeks to develop an ecosystem of artist-driven enterprises. Recognizing that we need integrated solutions that acknowledge and support whole people and whole communities, its founding principle is that undeveloped assets in marginalized communities—assets like cultural diversity, social cohesion, geographic history, generational knowledge, and people themselves—are critical preconditions to achieving healthy outcomes. Identifying and unleashing the potential of these assets will help communities thrive.

 
Hunter Franks,  The Thing That Makes The Thing  at YBCA Public Square. Photo Tommy Lau.

Hunter Franks, The Thing That Makes The Thing at YBCA Public Square. Photo Tommy Lau.

 

By supporting artists and their enterprises with innovative and radically collaborative investment structures, CultureBank turns communities into sites of self-guided investment, works to achieve shared health and prosperity, and reverses current trends toward displacement, disenfranchisement, and systemic inequity. Rather than return on investment, CultureBank seeks a “ripple of investment” through imaginative structures that create value that can be commonly experienced, and where everyone is an investor—the artists, the financiers, the community members. By leveraging unique investment structures, CultureBank feeds a rich but as-yet underinvested ecosystem of artists and connects them to growing movements to incorporate health outcomes into broader equity efforts.

Following a concerted Think Tank process that gathered recognized innovators, thought leaders, arts practitioners, community development investors, social finance experts, and impact investors, CultureBank set out to begin documenting the powerful work that is happening across the United States. With each story, we again experience the unique role that artists play in seeing and elevating what is present while creating further conditions for people—no matter what their existing life experience might be—to imagine what is possible for themselves and their communities.

We invite you to explore the role that artists play in laying the groundwork for shared health and prosperity. In the following chapters, we introduce you to artist entrepreneurs, share stories about their enterprises and their community impact, and illustrate the impact we can have when we understand artists as essential ingredients in any productive investment.