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NACEDA’s Creative Placemaking Immersion Program – Lessons for Leaders

In 2015, NACEDA set out an ambitious goal: to make creative placemaking a frontline strategy for community developers. With an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, NACEDA launched the Creative Placemaking Immersion Program. Creative placemaking engages communities in the using arts and culture to improve the physical and social character of placesA cohort of three of NACEDA members – community development associations in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia – worked with arts partners in their regions to build knowledge about creative placemaking among local community development nonprofits. View our final report to the NEA.

The Our Town grant was NACEDA’s first direct federal investment from a federal agency. Along the way, we added with our own resources,  those of members, and from Woodforest National Bank. Americans for the Arts partnered with us, sharing their expertise and their network. The Ohio, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia Massachusetts networks performed robustly, providing 26 creative experiences to 275 people and organizations over 18 months. Artists engaged neighborhoods in development plans. CDCs became arts advocates. Banks became arts investors. NACEDA networks throughout the country began thinking how artists and cultural strategies could enhance the impact of traditional community development.

The Community Reinvestment Act and the Creative Economy

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) plays a central role in encouraging financial institutions to provide adequate investment, credit, and services to low- and moderate-income communities. Increasingly, this work has moved beyond affordable housing to include creative places and businesses. The Community Reinvestment Act and the Creative Economy provides important research about how to use CRA to support creative places and businesses as part of comprehensive community development. This Open Source Solutions paper highlights examples of CRA-qualifying activities across the country.

Transportation for America Webinar

How can arts, culture, and community development be used to address transportation challenges? Transportation for America's Cultural Corridor Consortium webinar features leaders from cities in Alabama, California, and Indiana who are pioneering arts and culture projects through Transportation for America's Cultural Corridor Consortium, funded by The Kresge Foundation. Learn how they are engaging with community members, building local capacity for civic engagement, and helping build bridges of collaboration by using arts and culture in transportation projects. 

Cultural Corridor Consortium webinar

How to Build a Cultural Equity Plan

Building a Cultural Equity Plan, a toolkit from PolicyLink, provides step-by step guidance for developing a public process for community representatives to undertake a comprehensive community assessment and create a plan to implement future cultural programming. Understanding and tapping into community cultural assets are important ways that placemakers can work with communities to ensure racial and cultural diversity are valued.

Social Impact Pilot Project: Arts, Health & Well-Being

Arts + Social Impact Explorer

Access research and tools from Metris Arts Consultingthe firm associated with Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, co-author of the original Creative Placemaking white paper. The pilot includes three components: (1) a summary of research and example projects about the impact of the arts on health and well-being; (2) field research and testing of messages to increase the likelihood of the public supporting funding and policy goals related to arts-health/wellness integrations; (3) an evaluation of the pilot project to surface implications for expanding the research on a larger scale.

Overcoming Organizational Challenges in Creative Placemaking

Three webinars by Enterprise Community Partners help you get past sticking points and organizational challenges when using the arts and culture to improve the power of place.

Reflections on Rural Placemaking

Reflections on Rural Placemaking front pageThe Housing Assistance Council and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP partnered to explore how rural communities are utilizing creative placemaking to respond to the unique priorities of these communities. Their joint Reflections on Rural Placemaking outlines key lessons and opportunities for rural communities and creative placemaking. 

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

ArtsThe National Endowment for the Arts published How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development as a resource for engaging with the arts sector, useful information for community developers. The book is a collection of framing essays that introduce creative placemaking values and practice, as well as case studies gleaned from the NEA’s Our Town creative placemaking program.


Creative Placemaking Ohio

The Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts – through NACEDA's Creative Placemaking Immersion Program – partnered to host creative placemaking learning events in Ohio's Hamilton and Zanesville, attracting placemakers from community development, the arts sector, city governments, and more to learn how creative placemaking can fit into their local contexts and projects.

Watch the video the partnership made about their experience as state level organizations working for creative, prosperous people and places.  

Public Arts Resource Center

PARCAmericans for the Arts’ Public Arts Resource Center is an online portal for professionals and artists working in the public art field. Access a wide arrange of resources from sample documents and templates to case studies and research papers that can help you find tools, resources, and opportunities tailored to different roles in the public art field.


Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development

Policy LinkPolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by lifting up what works. Arts and culture are key avenues of their investigations in promoting equity. PolicyLink has pulled together “promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools.” Access Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer.


A Creative Placemaking Field Scan: Housing

ArtsArtPlace America (a 10 year creative placemaking initiative) commissioned field scans to better understand how arts and culture interacts with different sectors within community development. Read the summary blog on 6 Things That Arts Can Do for Housing. And, access the full housing field scan, Exploring the Ways Arts and Culture Intersects with Housing.


CASES & POINTS: A Summary of the Funder Exchange on Evaluating Arts & Social Impact

Animating DemocracyNACEDA partner Americans for the Arts convened funders, evaluators, and practitioners of the arts to explore how to assess and report the impact of the arts. The exchange fostered shared understanding of values and goal frameworks, indicators and tools, and affirmed the need for iterative learning and experimentation. Read Cases & Point: Funder Exchange on Evaluating Arts & Social Impact.


Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide

Monitor InstituteNACEDA highlights the power of networks, and activating engaged networks is vital to creative placemaking practice no less than other community development focuses. The Monitor Institute takes a funder's position to explore the necessity of networks and how to catalyze diverse actors to connect people, ideas, and resources. Read Catalyzing Networks for Social Change.

Building Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking Strategies for Gateway City Growth and Renewal

BuildingEngaging arts and culture in community development can be a regional strategy as well as a hyperlocal one. Mass Inc and ArtSpace examine the benefits that creative placemaking can have for Massachusetts’ “Gateway Cities” -- regional economic drivers outside of the Greater Boston area. While focused on the Massachusetts context, the lessons can be generalized to other parts of the country. Read Building Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking Strategies for City Growth and Renewal.


Creative Placemaking: How to Do It Well

createIn the Creative Placemaking white paper, Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwan Nicodemus set the framework for Our Town, a funding initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). After examining Our Town projects, Markusen and Nicodemus further explore the practice of creative placemaking -- collecting insights and best practices in Creative Placemaking: How to Do It Well.