The importance of convening and storytelling were core values of ArtPlace from the beginning. Each area of work incorporated its own ways of gathering people together and sharing stories, and ArtPlace also focused energy on field-wide efforts to do the same. Through our blog, videos, social media, and annual summits, ArtPlace helped strengthen robust networks and connected to hearts and minds in fundamentally human ways.
Stories have the power to show complexity and context, as well as share lessons that can’t be captured by dry data or formal analyses. ArtPlace’s communications created an editorial structure, with monthly themes that helped focus content on the blog, in video, and across social media — largely from funded projects, partners, and practitioners — that spoke to core issues and topics that were both timely and timeless.
Since the first ArtPlace Summit in 2013, we gathered a community of colleagues from the field of creative placemaking annually to help foster connections among peers. In promoting relationship building in the field through convening, peer learning was a natural result — all in service of helping relationships and ideas spread as core to the foundation of a healthy field of practice.
The ArtPlace Annual Summits set the tone for a concept of collaborative partnership; they have been forums in which to generate and exchange ideas about creative placemaking and to support the building of communities-within-communities. ArtPlace set up the summits to create a space where people from many different professional and community backgrounds could connect in meaningful ways: artists, housing developers, funders, researchers, health practitioners, and more. Colleagues came together from every corner of the United States and from Tribal, rural, suburban, and urban communities.
We saw this time together as a laboratory for new ideas and inspiration; a classroom for learning tools and techniques; and a space for reflecting, connecting, and caring for ourselves and others. Over eight years, it became clear that the national field of creative placemaking took seriously the radical act of gathering. A growing number of participants engaged each Summit as a crucial time for conversations on the issues facing our communities and our field, and a time to hear from national and local leaders of the ongoing effort to enlist arts and creativity in the work of making our communities healthier, safer, more joyful, and more just.
ArtPlace Summit locations:
ArtPlace organized the first creative placemaking gallery exhibition in partnership with the Kibel Gallery at the University of Maryland. 10 Sectors 10 Solutions: Artists and Community Change highlights 10 creative placemaking projects from across the country, each supported by ArtPlace, each addressing a community need, and each working within a traditional community planning and development sector. As an open-source exhibition, it has been presented by galleries across the United States including in Albuquerque, NM, Jackson, MS, Cincinnati, OH, and Philadelphia, PA. The digital publication of the exhibition can be found at: https://exhibition.artplaceamerica.org/