Art Works Blog

Creative Placemaking

When the New Cornelia copper mine shut in 1985, the tiny town of Ajo, Arizona, became even tinier. Located 40 miles north of Mexico in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Ajo's population registered a scant 2,919 people in the 1990 census, a drop of roughly 40 percent from a decade prior. Employment...
Like their urban counterparts, rural communities are distinct from one another, with their own assets, challenges, histories, and visions for a better future. As such, their community design—and design challenges—are equally diverse, with solutions taking shape in vast and varied ways. The National...
In the throes of COVID-19’s devastating effects on artists and communities, many are looking ahead to make sure that art and artists are integral to the social, cultural, and economic recovery ahead. Mayors, public health agencies, parks departments, and municipal government alike will need...
In times of crisis, it is human nature to want to help. Where can designers be most effective? How do we put our skills to use in the right context, at the right time? COVID-19 is a medical crisis, certainly, but it’s also a psychological, economic, and logistical crisis. Without a vaccine on the...
The start of a new year is always a time to reflect on growth and evolution, as well as a time to set intentions for how to move forward. If there’s one thing we collectively tend to feel during this process, it’s that change is hard. This is just as true professionally as it is personally, and...
When most people think about public art, they think of a mural on a wall or a building, or perhaps a large sculpture in a park. While murals and sculptures are certainly public art, they are far from the only ways that public art can be expressed. Perhaps a better term for public art would be...
The places we know have stories to tell. Those stories can be powerful assets in rebuilding a place after its economic base disappears. Among such places is Pittsfield, a town of almost 45,000 in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts that for decades was home to General Electric. Today...
Deep in the Flint Hills of Kansas, the vast tallgrass prairie looks much like it did thousands of years ago. The rolling hills still stretch uninterrupted, their slender grasses rippling in the breeze. The night sky still burns bright with stars, untouched by light pollution. And every spring, the...
When a friend visiting from Philadelphia compared Whitesburg, Kentucky, to Stars Hollow, all she got from us was a blank stare. Turns out Stars Hollow is the setting of Gilmore Girls : a small idyllic town, rural and intimate, yet diverse and open-minded. When our friend arrived in Whitesburg—a...
It sounds simple enough. An arts organization or a community based-organization (a nonprofit that works locally to improve life for residents) is interested in doing a project that uses the arts to help advance a social issue. It could be centered on a placemaking effort in a neighborhood or...

Pages