What happens when arts and cultural strategies are deployed towards community planning and development goals? How does the arts sector align with outcomes already articulated by various fields within community development – housing, health, community safety, workforce development, and more?
ArtPlace’s research strategies sought to understand both the processes undertaken and the outcomes achieved by creative placemaking practice. By looking deeply into the activities and learnings surfaced in both the National Creative Placemaking Fund and Community Development Investments program, we brought the creative work happening in communities of all sizes and contexts together with an analysis of key trends and measures of success in community development practice. Rather than attempting to develop a single approach or system for evaluating creative placemaking project impacts - which vary widely depending on local context, community goals, and partners involved - ArtPlace research strategies were conceived more broadly to support practitioners and organizations interested in taking up creative placemaking work.
To this end, we launched the “Translating Outcomes” initiative from 2015 to 2020 – an incremental, segmented approach to building creative placemaking knowledge for and with a diverse range of community development practitioners. For each of the ten sectors in ArtPlace’s Community Development Matrix, we engaged countless partners to conduct field scan research, convene cross-sector working groups, and create resources in language specific to each sector. We endeavored to center artists’ and practitioners’ perspectives throughout the research process, and in each sector we identified strategic, non-arts partners - often at the national intermediary level - to support the knowledge-building process and sustain the work after ArtPlace’s sunset. The initiative ultimately highlighted the importance of interdisciplinarity in creative placemaking research and practice, and laid the groundwork for the field to embrace a multidimensional array of success measures that are as nuanced and complex as the practice itself.
In 2020, we conducted a meta-analysis that brought the sector-specific findings into a comprehensive whole, answering at long last the research question, “How can arts and culture support equitable community development?” Visit the dedicated microsite creativeplacemakingresearch.org to learn about the thirteen cross-cutting themes that emerged from this research, access the analysis through an interactive infographic, download the data from all ten sectors, and read responses to this body of work from artists, educators, organizers, researchers, and more.
Click on each tile below to learn more about the intersection of arts, culture, and each sector of community development, including ArtPlace’s published field scan reports and the constellation of visionary individuals and institutions leading work in each sector.