Glossary of Terms

We recognize that words may mean different things to different people. Similarly, we can have a tendency to use words that are familiar to us, but perhaps new terms to others. Below are some words, phrases, and acronyms that you may find in our website and other marketing collateral. We wanted to share with you what these words mean to use so that you understand how we are applying them in our messaging.



The expression or application of creative skills and imagination with the intention of stimulating the human senses. Art is a diverse range of human activities that result in the creation of visual, performative, or literary objects or expressions representing an artist’s intent and process. The arts can be appreciated for their beauty, emotional power, or social commentary.



A 'way of life' shared by a group, or groups, of people. Culture is seen and shared through both physical goods as well as social behaviors, including writing and the spoken word, architecture, religious beliefs and practices, ritual and traditions, music, clothes, food, and more.  Culture is preserved through sharing and communal learning. Each region has its own cultural identity based on the people that live there - and their collective histories.


Cultural Sector

Made up of organizations dedicated to the preservation of the history and cultures of our one-of-a-kind region. Where would we be without the museums, libraries, heritage festivals, and all the other organizations and events that are so willing to gather and protect the integral parts that make up our region’s collective identity? Communities that do not place importance on the preservation of this sector risk forgetting the undeniable spirit of those that have built, and continue to build, the region.


Creative Sector

A range of economic activities that are concerned with the generation or distribution of knowledge, information, creativity, and innovation, which is also often referred to as the creative industries. 


Local/Regional Arts Agency/Council

A non-profit or municipal service-based organization that promotes, supports, and develops the arts and humanities at the local/regional level, ensuring an active cultural and creative sector in the geographic region being served. The presence of such organizations help ensure broad accessibility and public engagement with the arts socially, educationally, and economically. When services are administered inclusively and equitably, diverse cultural traditions and artistic practices are preserved, promoted, and accessible to community members. 



The demographic mix of a specific collection of people, taking into account elements of human differences.



The promotion of justice, impartiality, and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Equity is the just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.



The degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision making processes within an organization or group.



The degree to which an individual is afforded the opportunity to acquire information, engage in programs, enjoy services, and benefit from systems. 


Cultural Equity

Embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people - including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion - are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.



Black, indigenous, or person of color


Organizational Capacity

All those components it takes for an organisation to achieve its mission. This includes both the resources and processes to deliver programs and services, as well as the mechanisms necessary to continually anticipate future opportunities and risks. It is an organization's internal potential to be productive, effective, and impactful. 


Organization Capacity Building

A measurable improvement in an organization's ability to fulfill its mission or meet its objectives through a blend of sound management, strong governance, and dedication to assessing and achieving results.

Capacity building efforts can focus on the following key areas: 

  • Mision, vision, and strategy
  • Governance and leadership
  • Service delivery and impact
  • Strategic relationships
  • Resource development
  • Internal operations and management



Multi-faceted approach to the planning, designing, and building out of spaces that are accessible to the general public. These people and place-based design strategies are intended to create emotional bonds between people and the spaces they occupy. Community engagement and participation are critical steps in the placemaking process, as investments need to be centered on community members and their needs, aspirations, desires, and visions. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community's existing assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating shared spaces that promote community health, cohesion, and well-being.



The active care and maintenance of space after a sense of place has been established.



A person practicing a particular artistic discipline (visual, literary, or performing) whose work demonstrates an understanding and appreciation for concept, material, process, and technique. 


Teaching Artist

Can also be referred to as artist educators or community artists, are practicing artists who supplement their incomes by teaching and integrating their art form, perspectives, and skills into a wide range of settings. Teaching artists work with schools, after school programs, community organizations, prisons and jails, and social service agencies.

Erie Arts & Culture

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