LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster City’s Public Art Community Engagement (PACE) Neighbors program has three goals: artist development, community development, and bringing more public art projects to Lancaster City, PACE manager Yarlyn Rosario said.

The PACE Neighbors program is currently seeking an inaugural cohort of four artists who will develop temporary art projects that engage their neighbors and help develop a vision for the future of the city.

“As opposed to going into a neighborhood and just changing something, it’s like using art as a tool to listen and connect with others,” Rosario said.

For example, community members might receive a free piece of art in exchange for sharing feedback about their city, or they might color a bag to take home while having a conversation about their community — both projects that have been completed by previous Lancaster artists.

Lancaster City is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive plan, which will be its first new plan since 1993, and Rosario explained that information learned through the PACE Neighbors program will help guide the decisions the city makes for the new plan.

Fostering conversations with art is a new way to engage community members, Rosario said, and it facilitates conversations in ways typical strategies, like surveys or formal public meetings, do not.

“It’s engaging the community and engaging people that usually are underrepresented communities that aren’t usually engaged in traditional formats, so we really want to use art to see how we can connect with other people,” Rosario said.

The artists selected for the PACE Neighbors program will ideally be working in their own Lancaster City neighborhoods, studying the assets the communities already possess as well as what residents hope changes or remains the same about their communities in the future.

In addition to supporting community engagement, Rosario hopes the projects developed through the program are also meaningful for the artists. Artist development is another major goal of PACE Neighbors.

Over the course of the one-and-a-half-year program, the selected artists will have opportunities to work with one another, community partners, and mentors. They will also participate in PACE workshops and other informative programming to support their personal artistic growth.

“For the artists, I want them to understand that it’s a process. We’re so much about finished products sometimes…but a lot of times the discovery work is even more important, and sharing that is really what I want to see in the work,” Rosario said.

At the end of the program, the artists will work with the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College to develop an exhibition of their work completed during the program.

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Artists interested in learning more and applying for the PACE Neighbors program can visit this website. The application deadline is Sept. 30.