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What is Creative Placemaking?

June 13, 2017

You may have heard the term “Creative Placemaking” zipping around the art world as of late. It’s quickly becoming one of those buzzwords that hold so much meaning and value, but people may not actually know what it stands for. Well my friend, you’ve come to the right place to help answer your questions about this fancy term – that just so happens to be the next topic of CC’s upcoming Well Fed Artist Workshop. #shamelessplug *turns to camera and winks*

“Creative Placemaking is an evolving field of practice that intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place.” (So says the Artscape website.) I like this definition because it encompasses the arc of what I think Creative Placemaking is: 1) Evolving = still changing and adapting. Being aware of what’s around us in our own communities. 2) Serving a community's interests. We must know who we’re living with, and what sorts of things motivate and inspire our unique demographics. BUT still remembering that, 3) we must grow, transform, and continue to learn about ourselves as humans and artists. Being thoughtful about what our community is asking for but also not being afraid of pushing each other out of our comfort zones. All of which is accomplished by working together. Hooray for collaboration!

Another important element to remember is that it’s not about “positioning artists as special outsiders who parachute in with easy fixes, but as neighbors who are one part of a whole set of things a community can do to be healthy. Nor is this movement about artists volunteering their skills, or being asked to contribute their skills “for exposure” – rather, it’s about artists who are justly compensated for their work and skills.” Check out this article on The Guardian by Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts in Minnesota. She is an inspiration and gives some awesome examples of how this work is done around the world.

Essentially, Creative Placemaking is everything we Creative Catalysts (Catalyi?) stand for. It is who we are and who we strive to be. I mean, creating and learning with your community while also becoming better humans making real change and meaningful art experiences? Um, yes please.

We hope this motivates you to come to the next Well Fed Arts Workshop! Our presenter, Kyllan Maney, is a total pro and will help us all delve a little deeper into this awesome topic. June 21st at 6pm in the Dobson Lecture Hall in the MCA Museum. See you there.

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