One of the signature aspects of the CDI program is that it is focused not just on doing creative placemaking, but on the wholesale integration of arts and cultural strategies into an organization’s core work.  ArtPlace has been very clear that we have no intention of changing the missions of the participating organizations, but rather to explore how arts and cultural strategies can influence how it carries out its mission in the long-term.

Therefore, technical assistance in this program focuses on the underlying, long-term factors that result in an organization’s ability to integrate and execute successful creative placemaking work and not just on the ability to do projects in the short-term.  

Organizations were chosen based on their track record in implementing cross-sector place-based projects, their values in working with communities, the opportunities in their community to incorporate arts and culture, and a genuine interest in learning to work in a new way.  Organizations were discouraged from coming into the program with pre-existing ideas for projects that they might execute so that they could focus on learning first and execution second. 

The participating organizations were asked at the beginning of the program to undertake a cultural asset mapping process to both help identify local arts and cultural assets and also to understand their community’s history, identity, and values with a new lens.  This information is designed to help build new relationships and to inform the long-term development of projects.

Technical assistance throughout the program has taken the format of visits by peer practitioners and experts, facilitated organizational and partner workshops, trips to visit creative placemaking projects in other places, and regular coaching.  The Center for Performance and Civic Practice is a major partner in technical assistance in this initiative, and the program has also engaged a wide range of other consultants and experts in the field, including regular visits and conversations with peer practitioners.