Over the past 7 years, we invested over $100M in supporting artists as allies in equitable community development. We were able to invest $87M in 279 creative placemaking projects in 208 communities of all sizes across the United States. We also invested $18M in six community development organizations, and developed a robust research program, looking at what happens when arts and cultural strategies are deployed towards community planning and development goals.
As a ten-year program, that is ending in 2020, we’ve spent this last year analyzing the field of creative placemaking, what we’ve accomplished so far, and what’s needed next to best support the field beyond 2020. In partnership with Arizona State University, The Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, we’ve been working with The Bridgespan Group and using their Strong Field Framework to gather a clear understanding of the current state of the creative placemaking field across this country. In fact, you may have participated in our field survey (thank you!). In addition to the survey, Bridgespan conducted a series of focused interviews with leaders of the field.
Their analysis concluded that the creative placemaking field in this country is “moderately strong.” They also found that over the last 7 years we have steadily developed a shared identity among a group of practitioners who would not have previously defined their work as being part of the same field; we have added both to a knowledge base and to standards of practice, and we have been able to identify, support, and engage leaders, practitioners, funders, and policy makers. Find out more about what we learned in this blog summary. So far so good, but they have also identified some broad areas of work where we need to pivot to be of most use to this growing field.
Investing more than $100 million in local practice through the National Creative Placemaking Fund and through Community Development Investments, we have come to realize that there is certainly knowledge that can be gleaned at the national level and knowledge that is generally applicable when the arts and culture sector partners with other sectors. We’ve also learned that lasting change – to have these sorts of partnerships be standard operating practice and not just a grant-funded one-off – must happen on the local level, within an existing ecosystem. And for that change to take root on the local level, there must be local ownership of both the resources and the responsibility. To achieve that future, we are not continuing the National Creative Placemaking Fund and instead we will transfer funding in up to six geographies to strengthen the local ecosystems of creative placemaking.