Art Works Blog

Let's Talk Creative Placemaking

Washington, DC

In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, ArtsQuest---an NEA MICD 25 grantee---is transforming the former Bethlehem Steel Plant into a vibrant arts campus. Photo by Victoria Hutter

More than 30 years ago I joined with a small group of Memphians to convert an old downtown cotton classing loft into residences and retail shops. Three of our collaborators were artists, one was an architect, one a famous local restaurateur, and me. So I know a bit about creative placemaking and how artists can imagine new uses for places that others have given up on.

I'm looking forward to the conversation Tuesday on Creative Placemaking sponsored by NEA at the Canadian Embassy and online. I'll be moderating a panel with four fabulous people: Rick Lowe whose work in Houston and New Orleans has been such an inspiration; Rich Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class; Ann Markusen whose research has produced so many important insights on our topic; and Tim Jones, the brilliant Canadian who, as head of Artscape, both serves artists and uses their energy and their crazy willingness to take risks to rejuvenate neighborhoods.

I have two questions for the panelists. I want to know from their perspectives what it means to be a creative place and how to calculate the benefits of that. And, always my favorite question, if our panelists were advising mayors or community leaders about the best investment they could make in jumpstarting creative placemaking, what would they tell them?

If you have a question for our panelists on creative placemakers, send it to us on Twitter with the hashtag #NEAplace, and I'll try to get an answer. Even if I can't ask it during our time on stage, I'll try to get it on a Flip camera and post it for you quickly on or Tweet it.

Want to brush up on what "creative placemaking" actually means? Check out this vlog by NEA Design Director Jason Schupbach. And visit our News Room for more info on tomorrow's Creative Placemaking webcast.

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