Public Matters is at its best when it is crafting projects that confront intractable problems. We collaborate with clients and neighborhood residents to develop multi-faceted responses to complex, long-term, place-based issues. We prioritize engagement and critical reflection on community issues, and partner with stakeholders from many sectors. We assist organizations, foundations, and civic bodies in developing sustainable, community-focused programs that expand their impact and capabilities. We use creative strategies with visual and educational components to move from issues to outcomes, providing services from idea generation through project completion.
Our multi-generational team designs project-based learning and experiential programs that use media production, among other technologies and techniques, to interpret and present community issues, character, meaning, and history. Our projects fuse creative strategies with analytical methodologies. We have relationships and experience working with various Los Angeles high schools. Projects connect education to community and take students out of the classroom and into the world.
Youth and young adults are central to Public Matters’ efforts towards sustainable change. In every project, local youth and young adults participate in exercises that require them to step into roles as creators, directors, producers – leaders. They present their work publicly, transforming lived experience into expertise. In the process, they realize the impact their work has in shaping public awareness and opinion. High school students and young adults become next generation community leaders and creative problem solvers.
Public Matters uses media and technology for public impact – to engage communities in the exploration, interpretation, and public presentations of their neighborhoods. We use innovative applications that combine traditional and emerging media with locative and data-based technologies. We teach media production skills and distribution strategies that serve community interests.
Public Matters’ social marketing campaigns diverge from traditional strategies by inverting common methods of representation and tone. Our campaign media is by, for, and of the community that creates it. Media features community members and often uses humorous or imaginative riffs on local tropes to engage viewers. We try for a deeper level of interaction between message and audience, so that our social marketing has profound and lasting impact.
Public Matters projects work to improve the visibility and appreciation of often overlooked community assets through creative strategies and applications. We work closely with clients, project partners, and community members to develop interactive engagements that can enhance the economic power of the partners and the community and increase the capacity of the neighborhood while strengthening a sense of community. Projects do this by increasing the prominence of assets and relationships both within the local community and in the larger region. We prioritize community reinvestment, maintaining and growing wealth in the neighborhoods where we work.
Market Makeovers are comprehensive, community-led strategies to increase access to healthy foods in food desert/swamp areas. Public Matters coined the term in 2007, expanding on the traditional public health jargon of “corner store conversions”, in order to emphasize community engagement and sustainability. They are unique because of their emphases on education, work with youth and community members, the creative use of media, long-term social marketing strategies to increase awareness of healthy food consumption, and the simultaneously promotion of the participating market. Each individual Market Makeover has a distinct look and feel. Yet, all involve: