ARTPLACE AMERICA (ARTPLACE) is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions. We began our work as an organization in 2011, and will finish in 2020. Our mission is to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development.
We envision a future of equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities in which everyone has a voice and agency in creating contextual, adaptive, and responsive solutions. To this end, we’ve invested $104 million to grow the field of creative placemaking through demonstration projects, in-depth investments in organizational change, and research.
We believe that traditional community planning and development has not always led to communities being as equitable, healthy and sustainable as they could be. We believe that the arts and culture sector has necessary tools, knowledge, and skills that can be deployed in partnership with the community planning and development sectors to improve community outcomes. We refer to this intersection as creative placemaking.
Creative placemaking happens when artists and arts organizations join their neighbors in shaping their community’s future, working together on place-based community outcomes. It’s not necessarily focused on making places more creative; it’s about creatively addressing challenges and opportunities. Success is measured in the ways artists, formal and informal arts spaces, and creative interventions have contributed toward community outcomes. We believe creative placemaking at its best is locally defined and informed and about the people who live, work, and play in a place.
We believe that there are a set of people who wake up every day thinking about the future of their communities, and that these people work across a variety of sectors and desired outcomes and include everyone from residents to artists to teachers to professional community planners. We created this matrix to help us organize our work and communicate about it visually:
We define arts broadly and use the phrase “arts and culture” to represent many forms, including: craft & culinary arts, dance, design & architecture, film & media, folk & traditional arts, literature, music, visual arts, theater & performance, and other formal and informal creative practices.
As we work toward the end of our charter, we’re focused on creating a strong creative placemaking field of practitioners by encouraging the adoption of creative placemaking practices.
To ensure the field remains robust after our work concludes in 2020, we’ll embed knowledge and resources within existing networks of practice and strengthen and empower local ecosystems to own and evolve the practice. Across many sectors, artists are working side by side with planners, developers, and public officials to think differently and imagine solutions that meet a broad range of community needs and spark and sustain public interest. ArtPlace continues to embed our values by working with comprehensive and sector-based community development practitioners, artists and cultural organizations, higher education institutions, the creative placemaking field, and our philanthropic partners.