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.
ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, which describes projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic.
In practice, this means having arts and culture represented alongside sectors like housing and transportation – with each sector recognized as part of any healthy community; as requiring planning and investment from its community; and as having a responsibility to contribute to its community’s overall future.
In scanning the community planning and development field, we found five types of stakeholders working across ten sectors that, while not comprehensive, capture a majority of work taking place in communities:
It is ArtPlace's goal to demonstrate the unique value add that arts and culture can bring to each of the 50 cells of this matrix.
In scanning the arts and culture field, we found that the same five types of stakeholders working across ten disciplines that, while also not comprehensive, capture a majority of the work within the sector.
It is ArtPlace’s goal to support the unique value that each of these disciplines and types of stakeholders have to offer their communities.
ArtPlace has four core areas of activity: a national grants program that annually supports creative placemaking projects in communities of all sizes across the country; our Community Development Investments in 6 place-based community planning and development organizations that are working to permanently and sustainably incorporate arts and culture into their core work; field building strategies that work to connect and grow the field of practitioners; and research strategies to understand, document, and disseminate successful creative placemaking practices.
At ArtPlace we believe that successful creative placemaking projects do four things:
- Define a community based in geography, such as a block, a neighborhood, a city, or a region
- Articulate a change the group of people living and working in that community would like to see
- Propose an arts-based intervention to help achieve that change
- Develop a way to know whether the change occurred
In everything we do and support, arts and culture work to help achieve a place-based change, which means that it is the community development interventions that are creative, not necessarily the outcomes. In creative placemaking, “creative” is an adverb describing the making, not an adjective describing the place. Successful creative placemaking projects are not measured by how many new arts centers, galleries, or cultural districts are built. Rather, their success is measured in the ways artists, formal and informal arts spaces, and creative interventions have contributed toward community outcomes.