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How to Do Creative Placemaking

New Book and December 6 National Convening Explore Creative Placemaking

Event Will be Livestreamed. Follow conversations at #creativeplace

Washington, DC—In its ongoing commitment to producing resources for community engagement with the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts has published How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development. The book features 28 essays from thought leaders active in arts-based community development as well as 13 case studies of projects funded through the NEA’s creative placemaking program, Our Town.

Concurrent with the publication of How to Do Creative Placemaking, the NEA, Kresge Foundation, ArtPlace America, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Partners for Livable Communities, are presenting Creative Placemaking: The Role of Arts in Community Development, a convening hosted by the Wilson Center on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 1:00 – 6:00 PM ET.

The event will be livestreamed on the Wilson Center website. You can follow the conversation on Twitter at #creativeplace.

THE BOOK: How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development

How to Do Creative Placemaking is intended as a primer for those interested in bringing the arts to the community development table as a tool—along with housing, transportation, public health, and other sectors—to advance revitalization efforts in an authentic way.

“The book is meant to help people start working with the arts to make their place better,” says NEA Director of Design and Creative Placemaking Jason Schupbach, “We wanted to create something easy to use and full of options for communities to begin doing this work, or to improve what they have already started.”

The book is divided into six chapters: Inclusive Planning + Equitable Development, Economic Opportunity, Community Identity + Belonging, Arts + Government, Arts + Physical Infrastructure, and Arts + Community Development Organizations. 

Among the essays are the following:

  • “Five Lessons Learned for a Successful Public Art Project,” by Americans for the Arts’ Patricia Walsh
  • “Can Arts Drive Rural Economic Development?” by USDA Rural Development’s Chris Beck and  the International Sonoran Desert Alliance’s Tracy Taft
  •  “Ethics of Development: A Shared Sense of Place,” by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s María Lopez de León
  • “How Can a Planning Authority Work with an Artist to Improve Public Health Outcomes for Residents?” by the City of Fargo, North Dakota’s Nichole Crutchfield

The book is free and joins other NEA-developed resources that assist practitioners and advance the creative placemaking field such as

Since 2011, the NEA has awarded more than $30 million to support 389 Our Town projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

THE CONVENING: Creative Placemaking: The Role of Arts in Community Development

The launch of How to Do Creative Placemaking offers an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments, challenges, and future of creative placemaking. To that end, the NEA, Kresge Foundation, ArtPlace America, the Wilson Center, and Partners for Livable Communities are gathering artists, community development experts, and policymakers together to examine the role of the arts in shaping towns and cities. The full agenda with start times is available here.

The convening agenda features Mayor Mitchell Landrieu of New Orleans offering framing remarks followed by a keynote from President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation Rip Rapson. The remainder of the day includes performances and three panels on:

  • Where Creative Placemaking is Now, a conversation between Maria Rosario Jackson, senior adviser for arts and culture at the Kresge Foundation and Jason Schupbach, NEA director of design and creative placemaking programs
  • What Creative Placemaking Looks Like, a panel discussion moderated by Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts
  • Where Creative Placemaking Intersects, a panel discussion moderated by Lyz Crane, deputy director of ArtPlace America

Each of the convening partners is deeply invested in making places better for everyone. Along with the NEA, ArtPlace America and Kresge Foundation provide funding, develop resources, and support field-building. Since 1993, Partners for Livable Communities has managed Culture Builds Communities, a developmental program that places cultural assets in community development efforts.

Follow the Twitter conversation at @NEAarts, @artplaceamerica, @kresgearts, @thewilsoncenter, and #creativeplace.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. 

About Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. For more information, visit kresge.org.

About ArtPlace America

ArtPlace is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

About the Wilson Center

The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

About Partners for Livable Communities

Partners for Livable Communities works to improve the quality of life and economic and social wellbeing of low- and moderate-income individual and communities.