The Loop Lab

Cambridge Arts Council

Funding Received: 2017
Cambridge, MA
Funding Period: 2 years and 3 months
July 3, 2018

(Christopher Hope, Lyz Crane, Brandon Dennison)


My name is Christopher Hope and I am the co-founder of the The Loop Lab. We are a charitable non-profit workforce development opportunity for young adults from underrepresented young adults from the ages of 18-26 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to enter the audio and video digital industries through comprehensive training and internships.  I would like to share my experience participating in this year’s Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Charleston, West Virginia. This was my first time participating in the summit. It was also my first time visiting the amazingly beautiful Appalachia region. I was invited to speak on the panel Artplace Deep Dive: Creative Workforce Development which also featured Brandon Dennison of Coalfield Development Corporation. The topic presented the new and innovative strategies initiatives from Appalachia to Cambridge that are helping to build a sustainable workforce for people across America. I thought that Lyz Crane of ArtPlace did an incredible balancing act in moderating the discussion and juxtaposing what workforce development looks like in a urban context versus a rural context.  


(Sarah Westlake, Thomas Young, Christopher Hope)

Importantly, I found the workshops, and roundtables to be the right balance of engaging without ever feeling too long. Subject titles included Demystifying Funding For Creative Placemaking, Art-Based Economic Development in Coal-Reliant Counties: Lessons Learned in Appalachia, New Visions For Economic Development, and Knowledge Exchange: Connecting Appalachia were filled with experts who made the content accessible and relatable to me.  

Finally, I networked with some pretty incredible artists doing creative placemaking work throughout Appalachia. One of them was Megan Bullock who is the design director of MESH Design & Development. MESH works with social entrepreunuers and nonprofit organizations to build brands and digital experiences. Megan is a design rock star and I can’t wait to find a project to collaborate with her on!

Another person whom I met is Brandon Dennison of Coalfield Development Corporation (CDC).  His organization is engaged in intense community work that takes a holistic approach to on-the-job training. CDC uses the 33-6-3 model each week: 33 hours of paid labor, 6 hours of higher education class time, and 3 hours of life-skills mentorship. Unemployed and underemployed people were hired to construct green affordable housing.

I deeply enjoyed my experience at this year’s summit in Charleston, WV. I left the event excited about the future of creative placemaking, and feeling inspired. I can hardly wait to attend the National Creative Placemaking Regional Summit in Washington D.C this early October. I hope to see you there!


Christopher Hope, Director of The Loop Lab