What is Creative Placemaking? There’s no single definition, but here are some ways to think about the issue:
- the arts improving the quality of a place through social offerings and aesthetics that positively impact that place’s people, activities, and values…community planning and development that is human-centric, comprehensive, and locally informed (ArtPlace America)
- getting artists and designers, community culture groups, arts research groups, cultural affairs offices, and arts organizations out of their silos and into the neighborhoods and regions around them (National Endowment for the Arts)
- the leveraging of cultural assets to strengthen the social fabric of a community (Artspace)
- As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution. (Partners for Public Spaces)
More on What is Creative Placemaking?
1. The work needs to be ultimately place-based, meaning that there is a group of people who live and work in the same place. It can be a block, a neighborhood, a town, a city, or a region, but you need to be able to draw a circle around it on a map.
2. Concern for community conditions for everyone who lives in that place, with identification of community development changes to benefit all.
3. How can artists, creative entrepreneurs, arts organizations, and arts activity help move forward the change that has been articulated for this group of people?
4. Evaluation: how do you know that change has happened?
5. Repeat, adapt, collaborate, and persist.
- Focus on community assets – human, financial, social, economic, educational
- Focus on a diverse mix of opportunities and access to the arts for all
- Proclaim investment in the arts as part of civic agenda
- Inventory arts and cultural assets
- Support investment in arts infrastructure
- Arts education is key
- A creative place is built and nurtured through a great quality of life: investment in downtown revitalization projects, affordable housing, community engagement, vibrant street life.
- Persistence, patience, optimism, and a sense of humor will go a long way to keep actions moving forward. Community development and systems change is not a lineal, smooth, or finite process.
- Arts Wisconsin’s Creative Economy Resource Center
- 21st Century Wisconsin: a report on the state of Wisconsin’s creative economy, and recommendations for action
- ArtPlace America
- Our Town (creative placemaking grants), National Endowment for the Arts
- American Planning Association
- National Governors Association
- Rural Prosperity through the Arts and Culture Sector – an action guide
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies – Creative Placemaking research and resources
- Americans for the Arts – What is creative placemaking?
- Artspace, Minneapolis
- Projects for Public Places
- To Accelerate Economic Recovery, Look to the Arts, Governing Magazine, June 2021
- 8 Creative Communities Leading the Way to Vibrancy…One Small Step at a Time, Strong Towns, December 2020
11-12-2020: Two new resources are now available as part of the collaboration between ArtPlace America and NASAA, Strengthening the State Arts Agency Support System for Creative Placemaking. These tools provide information on how practitioners can better access public resources for creative placemaking, and are intended to heighten awareness and ease the pathways to public funding for those working at the nexus of the arts and community development.
- The Creative Placemaking Public Resources Guide is a website to help creative placemakers, community developers and arts organizations navigate federal funding opportunities. The new guide includes tips on how to apply for relevant funding programs, a database of information on federal resources and case studies that illustrate creative placemaking innovators using a variety of public sources.
- State Arts Agency Resources for Creative Placemaking Practitioners illuminates ways in which state arts agencies can be useful information-providers, conveners and funders for local creative placemaking efforts. It provides tips for approaching state arts agencies as well as recommended resources for readers interested in the arts and state policy.
- Bridging Divides, Creating Community: Arts, Culture, and Immigration, from ArtPlace America and Welcoming America Authored by John Arroyo, this field scan highlights the power that creative placemaking holds for those working to create an America where everyone – including immigrants and refugees – can belong and thrive. A mix of strategic framing, case studies, and recommendations lift up the incredible work already happening at this intersection while serving as a new resource for arts practitioners and immigration advocates alike. 10-8-20
- How Art Can Renew a Community, The Atlantic, 10-2-19
- The Future of Creative Placemaking – an interview with four leaders in the field, A Blade of Grass, 2018
- How Public Art Can Boost the Pride (and Resilience) of Your Neighborhood, Strong Towns, 7-10-19
- Worry Less About Crumbling Roads, More About Crumbling Libraries, The Atlantic, 9-20-18
- Analysis from the Kresge Foundation: Creative Placemaking gains a foothold nationally, must address critical needs to earn widespread adoption, August 1, 2018
- Rural Placemaking: Making the Most of Creativity in your Community, featured in Rural Voices, August 2017
- Town and Country: What’s Happening With Creative Placemaking? Inside Philanthropy, 8-10-17
- How to Do Creative Placemaking, National Endowment for the Arts, 12-1-16
- Our Creative Roots: The Arts and Development in Rural America, WESTAF, 11-29-16
- Weird’s worth: how weird became an economic strategy for hipster cities, Wired, 9-27-16
- Putting the arts at the center of community development, Knight Foundation, 1-28-16
- It takes more than bricks and mortar to revitalize a city and its citizens, Rutgers University, 12-22-15
- Creative communities and arts-based placemaking, Projects for Public Spaces, August 2015
- “Creative placemaking? What is it that you do?”
Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America
July 23, 2015, ArtPlace America blog
- The Art of Creative Placemaking: An Artspace Report
Artspace, March 2015
- The Next 50 Years of Creative Placemaking: Some Thoughts, from the National Endowment for the Arts, January 14, 2015
- A comprehensive set of articles on creative placemaking, in the Community Development publication, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, December 2014
- Four types of creative placemaking, by Mark A. Wyckoff, from Better Towns and Cities, September – October 2014 edition
- How to measure outcomes of creative placemaking
Mark J. Stern, University of Pennsylvania, 2014
- Are You Ready for the Country?, from the National Endowment for the Arts chronicles creative placemaking in six rural communities, from Vermont to the Sonoran Desert to the Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota, that are using the arts to help improve their communities socially, aesthetically, and economically.
- Moving beyond “smart growth” to a more holistic city agenda
Kaid Benfield, Natural Resources Defense Council staff blog, 7-8-2014
- Creative placemaking 101 for community developers
Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, 5-27-2014
- How the ‘creative placemaking’ movement is transforming neighborhoods
Southern California Public Radio, 5-22-14
Wisconsin creative placemaking programs, projects and plans (continually updated):