In concert with an overall embedding strategy, the final two years of ArtPlace’s story allowed for the critical action of placing decision-making power directly in the hands of practitioners. Through the Local Control, Local Field(s) initiative, ArtPlace convened Assemblies of practitioners in five geographies in a facilitated process and invited them to assume ownership of a pool of funds intended to further strengthen their local field of Creative Placemaking. 

From May 2019 through August 2020, Assemblies convened in the city of Philadelphia; the state of Massachusetts; and the regions of Central Appalachia, the San Joaquin Valley of California, and  Minnesota-North Dakota-South Dakota-and the 23 Native Nations who share that geography. Although each Assembly’s process was decidedly different, the essential ingredients for the program were consistent.

  1. People powered process: Each process centered the Assembly, the body of practitioners who do the work of creative placemaking/keeping/knowing from various vantage points and have deep commitment to the practice of equity in their locale. 
  2. Series of facilitated gatherings: More than meetings, these gatherings were designed with intentionality and rigor by each Assemblies’ dedicated facilitation team. The purpose was to guide the Assemblies in making their final decisions.
  3. Adaptive and hi-touch support: Regardless of any planned structure, ArtPlace and the Facilitation teams dedicated their efforts to moving adaptively. This was true for the Assembly’s as well who charted new paths to making their ideas happen.
  4. Real Money infused throughout: In addition to ensuring that the pool of funds were truly under the control of the Assembly, all participants received stipends for their labor.

At the close of each process, each Assembly completed the task by determining a vision and set of strategies for their funds, a way to make decisions, and a place to hold the funds so that they are truly the stewards and decision-makers long past ArtPlace’s sunset.

See this blog post to learn more about the genesis story. See below for more information about each Assembly’s story and how to follow their journey into 2021 and beyond.