Art Works Blog

NEA Arts: Arts and Culture at the Core

An evening view of the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where ArtsQuest and the city repurposed the Bethlehem Steel industrial site into an arts and cultural facility with a movie theater, arts gallery, and numerous outdoor performing arts spaces. Photo by Jeffrey Totaro

In our latest issue of NEA Arts, we're taking a look at creative placemaking in action. From Driggs, Idaho, to Baltimore, Maryland, to the entire state of Connecticut, communities large and small, in rural areas and in urban ones, are undergoing remarkable transformations by putting the arts to work. And while many of these sites are reaping the rewards of revitalized economies, they're doing something even more important---using the arts to celebrate and spotlight what makes them who they are.

From our story by Michael Gallant on NEA-inspired creative placemaking projects, here's Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Kip Bergstrom's take on why placemaking works:

"Starting with the first cave paintings 40,000 years ago, we've been using art to transform places that feel dark and scary into places that are safe and vibrant.... From primitive hand prints of blue and red pigment to the water-activated murals that were just unveiled in Hartford, Connecticut, the creative process that informs placemaking is an unbroken chain. What defines us, and the places where we live and work, is our art."

Do you have a creative placemaking success story you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments. 

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