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Collinwood Rising is a collaborative effort to transform North Shore Collinwood, a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland, by growing a grassroots art movement. The initiative aims to combat urban vacancy and invigorate the community of North Shore Collinwood by engaging artists in the community and increasing the vibrancy of the neighborhood’s Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. Collinwood Rising will be converting vacant spaces into an artist-inspired playground, a performing arts incubator and artist live/work space and commercial storefronts.

Northeast Shores Development Corporation is leading this multi-organization initiative. ArtPlace spoke with Brian Friedman, the executive director of Northeast Shores, to discuss his experience at the recent Creative Placemaking Summit and the key take-aways from the summit.

ARTPLACE: What ideas did you gain or lessons did you learn that you plan to apply to your initiative?

Friedman: The recent ArtPlace Summit was a fantastic gathering of change-makers from across the country. It was humbling to be in such a group of intelligent agents.  On that note, we’d like to extend a congratulations to ArtPlace for creating and facilitating an arena in which collaborations could take place between businesses, arts and community organizations from around the nation. The presentations were thoroughly appreciated as well as the collective brainstorming about initiatives and learning about different organizations nationwide.  We’d also like to extend our gratitude to Carol Colletta and Rocco Landesman for their informative and enlightening thoughts and comments.

A great idea that comes to mind from the conference involves a media-sharing strategy that would allow us to use each other’s media contacts to raise awareness of our collective work. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness nationwide and to become more aware of our peers and of their engaging projects (e.g. Glass House Project, Irrigate Arts and Worm Farm).  Last but not least, there was a great conversation on the topic of vibrancy indicators. It was brought to our attention that a vibrancy indexing of our initiative relative to the region will be available in the next couple months. We’re very excited about getting our individualized vibrancy profile information in the near future. We’re all in the same boat and working towards similar goals.  We look forward to reviewing the information and mapping out ways to further improve on strategies to increase and maintain vibrancy within our neighborhood.

ARTPLACE: What new opportunitites for your initiative did you identify from conversations with other creative placemakers?

Friedman: We were not aware of the wide range of types of projects that were occurring and how much of this diverse country that we collectively cover. With that new knowledge, it seems critical to increase the collective national knowledge of our placemaking work.  We’ve had the pleasure of co-presenting with Springboard for the Arts the week following the ArtPlace Summit at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Kansas City. Further, we are planning to visit and see their work in regards to their Irrigate initiative as well as have them come here to Cleveland. We also admire the work of the Glass House Project in Chattanooga and their strategies regarding the revitalization of the historic Glass Street commercial corridor. Of special relevance is their How-To Guide and how it outlines and describes their project goals. It is a great frame of reference for us as we construct our replication kit which will incorporate similar ideas.

Equally of interest is the Wormfarm institute and its initiative of activating art within a rural area.  We love the creative idea of artist influenced farm stands and the encouragement of property owners to engage in creating their own artistic installments (bringing the artist out of non-artists, so to speak). This also encourages us to broaden the scope of how we will create and implement creative projects in the future.

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