ArtPlace is a ten-year project in service of permanent change, thus our emphasis is not on creating a permanent institution, but instead on strengthening the field of people and organizations working to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development. We accomplish this in three primary ways:
Place-based work, by definition, is local and based in a place. In practice, this means that the individuals and organizations taking on a creative placemaking project may not be aware of others who are doing relevant work elsewhere. To date, ArtPlace has informally connected practitioners through one-off communications and funded project summits. As we move forward, we will deploy the community development matrix (hyperlink) to more systematically approach this line of work, allowing anyone interested in creative placemaking to discover connections across rows and columns with relevant projects/practitioners.
Broadening the Field
ArtPlace works to broaden the field by targeting community development practitioners who have not yet incorporated arts and culture into their work. We do not seek to get other sectors to recognize the value of arts and culture in a vacuum. Instead, we take the stance of asking another sector what it is trying to accomplish and offering to help achieve those goals. This portion of our work adopts the language and outcomes of the ten sectors of the Community Development Matrix (link to anchor) and shares relevant toolkits and case studies with them – ones that we have created through our own research strategies and those created by other colleagues.
Changing Normative Expectations
In some ways, the most important work that we will do is also the most difficult: changing normative expectations in this country, so that citizens and communities automatically include arts and culture as a core sector in their conception of community planning and development. Artists need to conceive of themselves as fully citizens with an important stake in their communities; and communities (to reinforce the false and destructive dichotomy) need to recognize that artists have a stake in every community conversation. ArtPlace is investigating the language and conceptual barriers that currently exist toward a shared and universal understanding that every community includes artists, and that every artist lives and works in a community.