Expanding Support for Creative Placemaking

NEA and The Kresge Foundation Partner in Pilot Program
young girls dancing in the parks in front of a mobile art studio
ArtHome's ArtBuilt Mobile Studios are welcomed to city parks. Photo by Esther Robinson.
Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Kresge Foundation are partnering to expand support of creative placemaking through the launch of a pilot technical assistance program. In collaboration with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Creative Placemaking Program (LISC) and PolicyLink, the pilot program will provide the creative placemaking field a deeper understanding of how to do arts-based community development well, ultimately benefiting funders and practitioners. Specialized technical assistance will be given to 14 organizations and their partners with the goal of advancing each organization’s ability to lead successful projects that result in positive short- and long-term outcomes for their community. In addition, the program will clarify standard practices in creative placemaking by sharing lessons learned. The program will also inform future funding practices for NEA’s Our Town program and Kresge investments. “We are excited to work closely with and learn from projects on the ground,” said Jason Schupbach, director of Design Programs at the NEA. “This unique collaboration amongst government, foundation, and community development organizations will be beneficial to everyone in the U.S. who is interested in creative placemaking.” “Stronger, more collaborative partnerships that foster equitable and inclusive community development will help advance creative placemaking projects that improve the life circumstances of vulnerable populations and strengthen neighborhoods,” said Regina Smith, managing director of Kresge’s Arts and Culture Program. “We are thrilled to partner with NEA, LISC, and PolicyLink to pilot this initiative.” Through a competitive process, the NEA selected seven previous Our Town grantee organizations to receive the technical assistance:
  • Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, SD
  • City of Kansas City, MO
  • City of Anderson, SC
  • Forklift Danceworks in Austin, TX
  • Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency in Palm City, FL
  • Metro Nashville Arts Commission in Nashville, TN
  • Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH
The NEA is designating $500,000 to the program. Kresge is investing $860,000 directly to LISC and PolicyLink in order to extend technical assistance to seven grantees from its Arts and Culture Program. Those grantees will be announced at a later date. Also, Kresge will fund additional convenings for the 14 organizations to foster peer learning.   The technical assistance that LISC and PolicyLink will provide includes leadership training for artists to become community leaders, resident-led community engagement techniques, and lessons in how to impact local policy and planning. They will also arrange mentorships, convene webinars, create a learning network with the participating organizations, and draw out lessons learned. Both LISC and PolicyLink are experienced in managing learning networks and enhancing the capacity of organizations involved in community development projects. 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. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016. Go to arts.gov/50th to enjoy art stories from around the nation, peruse Facts & Figures, and check out the anniversary timeline. About The 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. In collaboration with nonprofit, public, private and philanthropic partners, Kresge helps to create pathways for vulnerable people to improve their life circumstances and join the economic mainstream. About LISC For 36 years, LISC has supported projects that revitalize communities by providing capital, strategy and know-how to community-based organizations across the country. LISC’s Creative Placemaking program helps local partners integrate arts and culture into their community development work to bring about positive social, physical and economic changes in low-income neighborhoods About PolicyLink PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate, prosper, and achieve their full potential. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of access to healthy food and physical activity, and engage artists and cultural leaders in these efforts to achieve equity.


Victoria Hutter, hutterv@arts.gov, 202-682-5962