We recently had a chance to sit down with Lyz Crane, our Deputy Director, to talk big picture about the work she’s been doing on the Community Development Investments. It’s always a treat to grab a beer with a colleague and indulge in the kind of far-ranging conversation that staff meetings and formal agendas don’t allow, and Lyz never disappoints. Lyz, Jeremy Nowak, and Willy Wong spent six weeks on the road conducting site visits for the CDI program. They had a chance to experience 21 communities across nine states and to look under the hood of each place-based organization, from community development and economic development corporations to park conservancies, healthcare initiatives, and even a sheriffs’ activities league. We asked Lyz to reflect a bit on the macro trends she observed, and one of the first things she mentioned surprised us.
According to the International Economic Development Council, "no single definition incorporates all of the different strands of economic development." For the purposes of our Community Development Matrix, we focus on the actions that stakeholders and policy makers take to grow the economy of a municipality or region, specifically around retaining and expanding existing businesses, growing new businesses, and attracting businesses to relocate. Some definitions of economic development also include the creation of jobs, and we separate job creation into its own sector: Workforce Development.
Exactly three months ago today, the ArtPlace team was in Philadelphia kicking off our annual Grantee Summit. We welcomed 300 grantees and partners to take part in two-and-a-half days of sharing, learning, and what we hope was a generally good time. The annual Summit is part of our Fieldbuilding work, led by Prentice and me, which focuses on facilitating dialogue and connections among creative placemaking practitioners. The Summit was my first opportunity to meet our grantees and observe the kind of magic that happens when you put a bunch of intelligent, creative, community-minded folks in a room together (...or when you lock them in a hotel basement) and watch the ideas flow.
Those who have been following ArtPlace’s progress closely know that we talk about our work as investing in arts-based strategies to help achieve place-based outcomes in order to reposition arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development. In order to make sure that we are covering the entire field of community planning and development, we have identified ten sectors that generally cover that terrain. At our annual Grantee Summit that we hosted in Philadelphia in May, we organized our breakout sessions around these ten sectors, featuring our grantees working in those areas in conversation with an expert from the field.
Veasna and I just returned from Kentucky and, in short, it lived up to its would-be tagline: Kentucky Kicks Ass. We had a chance to connect with grantees in Lexington, Hazard, Whitesburg, and Cumberland; and I was able to say a few words at the Community Development Society’s annual conference. First and foremost, thanks for the hospitality from everyone who showed us around the Commonwealth. You guys made the trip awesome, and helped update our wardrobes to boot!
I am just back from a summer visit to see my grandmother and extended family in Cleveland, OH. As aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family paraded through her house, I kept hearing versions of the same questions: “What is it you do? Creative placemaking? What is that?” (To which Grandma would inevitably respond, “I don’t know what it is he does, but we’re very proud of him.”) While the community of colleagues who are deeply connected with our work at ArtPlace America keeps growing, that “what is creative placemaking” question is one that I continue to answer as I meet with mayors, artists, funders, and community organizers all around the country.
Last month, Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres traveled to Georgia to attend a convening hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts. Javier also took some time to visit ArtPlace grantees in the area, including the Paradise Garden project in Summerville, a rehabilitation effort to preserve the home of renowned artist Howard Finster. Collaborative partnerships across local and county government and alongside arts and cultural preservation leaders have led to significant success for this project and rural town, as Javier shares:
As you all should know, this week was an exciting one for ArtPlace as we announced our latest round of National Grants Program grantees on Monday. There's been a lot of buzz in the news since then about our newest projects and their respective communities and we wanted to take a moment to share some of the great press hits that came our way. Happy Friday and happy reading! Inside Philanthropy: The Complex Funder Pushing Creative Placemaking With Millions in New Grants. Today, ArtPlace America is announcing the winners of its 2015 grants and asked if we wanted to take a first look at where $10 million in funds is heading.
Today marks an exciting day as we announce and welcome the latest round of National Grants Program grantees to the ArtPlace family! We’re thrilled to share with you the work of the 38 unique projects in this year's National Grants Program pool and hope you take the time learn more about them here. 50% of this year's grantees are first-time ArtPlace applicants, 97% of them are first-time ArtPlace grantees, and 29% work in rural communities.
Calling all cross-disciplinary researchers! Today marks ArtPlace's second open call for research consultants. We currently seek to commission three “field scans” that document and explore the relationship between arts and culture and the following community development sectors: Housing, Public Health, and Public Safety. Check out the full Call for Research Consultants for detailed information about the opportunity and instructions on how to apply. Submissions are due Thursday, August 6, 2015, and scans are expected to begin on September 1 and be completed by November 17, 2015.