St. Claude Avenue Placemaking

St. Claude Main Street, Inc. (SCMS) and CivicCenter

Funding Received: 2012
New Orleans, LA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 20, 2013

To encourage commercial and cultural revitalization along a pivotal corridor in New Orleans, St. Claude Main Street, Inc.’s Arts District & Parkette Program will unify and support the corridor’s creative endeavors and promote its activities through innovative marketing, visual identify and community engagement programs.

ARTPLACE sat down with Michael T. Martin, Director of St. Claude Main Street, to reflect on the ArtPlace Summit in Miami.

ARTPLACE: Where does this movement go next?  

MARTIN: The creative placemaking movement, while nascent, is growing very quickly. ArtPlace’s ability to garner support across the private sector is inspiring and provides the proof-of-concept that shows the movement has space to grow. With that growth, creative placemaking has the opportunity to expand its reach beyond the arts and urbanism sectors. Partnerships are the key to developing an effective creative placemaking strategy and in the next steps of the movement, partnerships should be further cultivated with community and economic development organizations whose focus include affordable housing, healthy food, workforce development, etc.

Creative placemaking supports art and cultural communities nationally, acting as a catalyst for regeneration in urban and rural areas that have experienced wholesale divestment and economic crisis. Holistic thinking about cities is necessary and while catalyzing regeneration is important, developing partnerships to support community and economic development efforts beyond the arts is also necessary.

ARTPLACE: What ideas did you gain or lessons did you learn that you plan to apply to your initiative?  

MARTIN: I learned a lot about the different partnerships that other organizations have developed to help push their efforts forward. Specifically, Intersection for the Arts project in San Francisco was interesting because they are actively engaging partners to directly benefit the local arts community. It was interesting to see how partnerships differed based on each place and how they resulted in very unique project outcomes.

ARTPLACE: What did you share about your initiative that was surprising to you or to other participants?  

MARTIN: When sharing about how our organization decided on the cultural community component of our programming, others seemed to be surprised that we had developed an advisory board to make all of the decisions. The advisory board’s decision-making powers were imperative to creating buy-in around our programs and their effectiveness in developing creative programming was crucial to moving forward.

ARTPLACE: What new opportunities for your initiative did you identify from conversations with other creative placemakers?

MARTIN: I learned quite a bit about marketing strategies that other ArtPlace Summit participants are undertaking. From a project in Phoenix all the way up to the major foundations, their marketing efforts showcased unique opportunities to engage potential program participants.