Thursday, December 11, 2014

Registration open for Certification in Creative Placemaking Program; Learn more at an information session

By Leonardo Vazquez

Creative placemaking is a fast-growing field in the arts, community and economic development, and urban planning and policy.  NCCP and Ohio State University offer one of the most distinct, comprehensive and challenging continuing education programs in this field.

The Certification in Creative Placemaking offers you much more than training. Our 10-month program helps you build a deep knowledge set for creative placemaking, develop your leadership and strategic communication skills, and share ideas with other smart professionals and students.  You will learn from top creative placemaking professionals in the United States.

This program is convenient -- entirely online and no required meetings. (Though you'll probably want to join your classmates in videoconferences and get-togethers.)  Graduate students can get three credits and, for AICP members, we will be requesting 18-28 CM credits.

The program has attracted artists, arts administrators, urban planners, government professionals, policy professionals and others from throughout the United States, Colombia, Egypt, New Zealand and The Philippines.

Want to learn more?  Please visit the program website, and sign up for a free information session:



NCCP unveils new website

By Leonardo Vazquez

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking has a new website.  This is one of the major steps to help us promote quality creative placemaking and to build a community of creative placemakers.  You can also learn about the various ways NCCP serves the creative placemaking field and communities that want to engage in creative placemaking.

This is the first major round of improvements to the website.  Please stay tuned for more updates.

Please visit the new website.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Keep up with creative placemaking news, funding opportunities and NCCP through Facebook and Twitter

By Leonardo Vazquez

As part of our effort to build a nationwide community of creative placemakers, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking now has Facebook and Twitter pages.  Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.

We are sharing updates about creative placemaking activities in the United States and elsewhere, funding opportunities, and of course, the work of NCCP.

Anyone subscribed to the NCCP newsletter is welcome to send us updates that we will share as we are able.  Subscribe to the newsletter.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hackensack gets community coaching for creative placemaking


The city of Hackensack, NJ, is engaging in creative placemaking to enhance the city through arts and culture.  The Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance, a partnership between the City and local businesses, is exploring how arts and culture can best serve the interests of residents and stakeholders, better ways to support the city’s significant investment in cultural facilities, and how Hackensack’s business district can compete for visitors in an area with a lot of competition for cultural tourism.

The Business Alliance hired The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking to provide community coaching, a unique approach that will help Creative Team members build a plan and the capacity to oversee its implementation.  We expect to be working with the City from November 2014 through June 2015. 

The work includes:
·         Developing a Creative Team, which will build a holistic vision for better integrating arts and culture into the city’s fabric and develop the capacity to help guide implementation,
·         Preparing a market analysis to help the Creative Team make more informed decisions, and
·         Conducting public outreach to give Hackensack residents, businesspeople and other stakeholders good opportunities to influence the final plan.

Hackensack is the 15th community in the United States – and the fifth in New Jersey -- to get
The Perth Amboy, NJ, Creative Team develops a creative
placemaking plan. Image courtesy: Noelle Jimenez Zaleski
community coaching.  The program has not only led to feasible and sustainable plans, it also has proven to build new connections and social capital within communities – as well as shared and collaborative leadership for action. 

Community coaching has been supported in New Jersey by OurTown grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in Louisiana by the state’s Office of Cultural Development.  It is available to any individual community within two hours of Newark, NJ and to groups of five or more communities elsewhere in the United States.  In New Jersey, NCCP is partnering with PlanSmart NJ to offer community coaching.


NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez will be speaking on community coaching November 14 at the upcoming National Assembly of State ArtsAgencies 2014 National Assembly.

We will report progress on these and other projects through our Facebook page, Twitter feed and the NCCP newsletter.


If you have any questions about community coaching, please contact Leonardo Vazquez at leo@artsbuildcommunities.com or 973-763-6352.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Jersey State Council on the Arts increases support for NCCP

By Leonardo Vazquez

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts awarded The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking a grant of $12,500 for the 2015 fiscal year. The Council's support will help NCCP strengthen several programs.  These include community coaching, thought leadership, and creative sector research.  All funding from the State Council will be used exclusively in New Jersey.

The grant represents a 25% increase over the fiscal year 2014 grant of $10,000.

NCCP's grant funding is administered by PlanSmart NJ, NCCP's fiscal agent.

We thank the members and staff of the Council for their ongoing support.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

State arts agencies staff to explore community coaching at national conference

By Leonardo Vazquez

NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez will be speaking on community coaching -- a method for building leadership in communities at the upcoming National Assembly of State Arts Agencies conference in November.

Community coaching sessions generate
 a lot of ideas and information
Community coaching is a distinct, six to nine-month program that develops diverse teams to engage in creative placemaking.  Each community team has around 12 to 40 members, and includes at least one working artist and one elected official in the community.  A trained coach is paired with the team and helps team members explore opportunities and challenges for creative placemaking. Through the sessions, the coach not only helps team members build their plan, but also helps them build their capacity to engage in productive partnerships and deal with the challenges of implementation.

The NASAA Assembly 2014 is from November 13 to 15 in New Orleans.  It is hosted by the Lousiana Office of Cultural Development.  In 2013, the Office conducted a custom community coaching program called Lousiana Creative Communities Initiative.  In this NCCP-designed program, ten communities throughout the state participated. They were coached by Louisiana arts and public affairs professionals who were trained by NCCP.

Community coaching is immediately available for individual communities within two hours of Newark, NJ.  To learn about more about opportunities for other communities, please contact Leonardo Vazquez  by email or by phone at 973-763-6352

Vazquez will be available for one-to-one and small group consultation at the assembly on November 13.  Please feel free to contact him for a consultation of up to 30 minutes.

Learn more about community coaching

Creative placemaking certification program has record enrollment and diversity

By Leonardo Vazquez


A public official from Christchurch, New Zealand.  A planner and nonprofit executive from Manila, The Philippines.  Five planners from Los Angeles County, California.  A community artist in Brattleboro, Vermont.  A Master of Business Administration candidate at The Ohio State University.

These are some of the 25 students in this year’s Certification in Creative Placemaking program.  They represent the largest and most diverse class since the program started at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School in Fall 2013.

This unique and challenging 10-month program helps students think broadly and deeply about creative placemaking, build their leadership skills, and practice creative placemaking planning and analysis.  

To get their certification, students:
·         Complete 6 ‘deep learning’ courses in topics such as community development, economic development, capacity building, site planning and destination marketing;
·         Participate in 8 to 10 entrepreneurial leadership sessions, where they explore cost-effective and ethical ways to influence individuals and groups, build alliances, and work in diverse environments.
·         Develop a creative placemaking plan or evaluate existing creative placemaking efforts in a community of their choice.

“The group is amazing,” said Audrey Stefenson, an AmeriCorps Member with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area who joined the program this year, “(Instructor) Tom (Borrup) has been incredibly engaging and helpful, and the progression of topics has been very helpful, yet challenging. I'm learning a ton! I particularly enjoy learning from such a diverse group of people.”

Graduate students and continuing education students work alongside one another (virtually, since the
program is entirely online.)  They read the same scholarly materials and engage each other in instructor-led conversations.  Students also learn from one another.

Instructors are experts in the growing field of creative placemaking. They include Borrup, a nationally-known consultant and author of The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook and Juana Guzman, who is known for development cultural tourism in non-traditional communities.

The Certification program is a joint production of the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning program and The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  Registration is closed for this year’s program, but it will be offered again next year.