Friday, October 7, 2016

Crowdmapping: A great way to discover spaces and rediscover places

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP,

When it comes to creativity in communities, there's a lot more there there.

But too many people overlook the spots where creativity happens -- restaurants, hair salons, a tiny tucked away dance school.  Too many ignore or don't see the potential of vacant spaces and blank walls.

Crowdmapping can help people see assets and possibilities.  In crowdmapping, people collaborate to create maps. They might map existing activities, suggest spaces for new activities, identify problems, or all three.  If led well, it can be an inspiring and fun social event that empowers people to design their communities. And it's an important tool for creative placemaking. NCCP used crowdmapping to help build the award-winning Creative Perth Amboy plan. 

You can learn to lead crowdmapping that helps you build good plans at our upcoming workshop:  Identifying and Mapping Creative Assets, October 18, 2016 in Burlington, NJ.  You will practice crowdmapping (bring comfortable shoes) and learn:

  • What to look for when looking for creative or cultural activities, or spaces for them to happen
  • How to 'connect the dots' to outline districts and paths
  • Ways to strategically engage people in conversations about place that go beyond what's on the ground
  • About free and low-cost online tools to do crowdmapping
Through a partnership with the American Planning Association New Jersey chapter, this workshop will be submitted for up to 6 AICP Certification Maintenance credits.

As an NCCP reader, you can get 25% off registration fees:  Use discount code NCCP10.  Member of Creative Teams that have been coached by NCCP get half-price seats.  But please know that there are only about 20 seats left for the workshop.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Exciting, diverse lineup of sessions in The Art of Healthy Communities

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

You can now see who's speaking at The Art of Healthy Communities: the second annual Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange, November 11 in Newark, NJ, We hope you'll agree it is a diverse and exciting line up.

There will be up to 24 presentations on six topics:

  • Community building
  • Research, evaluation and outcomes
  • Healthy aging
  • Youth health and engagement
  • Dance, performance and community
  • Healthy creative partnerships
Creative placemakers from as far as Australia, Canada, California and Colorado will be there, giving short presentations on innovative practices or new research and thinking in the Creative Placemaking field.

You can talk too.  Each topic features a facilitated roundtable-style conversation among participants and speakers.  In fact, the whole day is about having intelligent conversations on how creative placemaking impacts public health.

After lunch, we'll do two Open Space conversations, which let you pick the topics you want to talk about.

This event will be submitted for up to six AICP Certification Maintenance credits.

Registration is open.  You can get discounted registration if you register by October 10.

Learn more or register:

The Art of Healthy Communities is sponsored by New Jersey Health Initiatives, Atlantic Health System, and National Housing Institute/Shelterforce magazine.  It is made possible with the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Workshop will help promote creative placemaking in South Jersey

By Leonardo Vazquez

South Jersey creative placemakers are doing interesting and important work in places like Atlantic City, Camden, Glassboro, Hammonton and Woodbury.  But there could and should be more creative placemaking in the region.

The South Jersey Cultural Alliance is working with The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking to do a workshop that introduces creative placemaking to arts, history and public affairs leaders in the region.  It will be December 8, 2016, 9 am to 2 pm, at the OceanFirst Bank Training Center in Toms River, NJ

Creative placemaking is a new way to improve quality of life and economic opportunities in communities through arts and culture. Participants will learn from the successes of other South Jersey creative placemakers and explore strategies for their own communities.

The workshop date and agenda will be announced soon. It will be designed for artists, arts administrators, culture and history professionals and public officials in South Jersey, Central Jersey and the Jersey Shore.

This workshop is made possible with support from the OceanFirst Foundation.  Partners include the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, New Jersey Historical Commission, Sustainable Jersey and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

For more information, or to get updates, please contact Karen Pinzolo, Executive Director, South Jersey Cultural Alliance by email.

Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange to feature art exhibit on place and healing

By Leonardo Vazquez

An exhibit of art works on health and community will be part of The Art of Healthy Communities, the second annual Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange, November 11 in Newark, NJ.

Up to 20 artists will display and sell their work. The exhibit will be part of the conference from 12 to 4 pm; it will be open to the public from 4 to 7 pm.

Any visual artist is welcome to apply to be part of the exhibit.   The Call for Artists closes on October 14.  To apply to be part of the exhibit, please follow the links for the Art Exhibit on the conference website.

There is no charge to apply, and participating artists will get free entry into the event.

The guest curator is Stephanie O'Connor, artist and owner of The Artistic Giraffe Studio Gallery in Hackensack, NJ.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Creative placemaking workshops explore crowdmapping, muraling, team building, financing and more

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/

Upcoming workshops by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking can help you become a more effective creative placemaker.  You can learn:

  • Better ways to identify and map creative assets in your community (Why?  Because to choose where you want to go, you should know what you have)
  • How to create community murals
  • Strategies for funding creative placemaking initiatives 
  • Ways to build teams and public support for creative placemaking
Workshop instructors are experts in the growing field of creative placemaking:  Kadie Dempsey, Director of Creative Placemaking for Morris Arts and co-owner, CORE Creative Placemaking; Dan Fenelon, a muralist and public art sculptor, who is also co-owner, CORE Creative Placemaking; and Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.

Four workshops will be held between October 2016 and January 2017 at ArtPride New Jersey and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.  Each workshop is either a half-day or a full-day.Fees range from $65 to $150 per workshop.  Members of ArtPride and NCCP and Dodge grantees receive discounts of 25%. Members of Creative Teams that have received Community Coaching from NCCP receive discounts of 50%.

NCCP is looking for partners outside of New Jersey to host these and other creative placemaking workshops.  Partners receive a share of the net income from the workshops and receive discounts to the workshops and other NCCP events.  If you're organization is interested in hosting workshops, please contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or phone.

Creative Glassboro formed; welcoming volunteers for knitting and yarn-bombing initiative

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The small but fast growing South Jersey town of Glassboro now has a group of leaders working to make it a better place through and for creativity.

Creative Glassboro's mission is to "integrate arts and culture into the fabric of downtown Glassboro as an economic development tool that will enhance our quality of life, provide better creative experiences, and promote new opportunities for the benefit of all our citizens.Through arts and culture, Glassboro, from the east and High Street Arts District towards the west to Rowan University, becomes an increasingly inviting place where artists, business owners, professionals, educators, and private citizens of all ages want to live, work and thrive.Our guiding principles towards this vision are to be inclusive and embrace the diversity that exists in our community; encourage a balance of commercial development with green conservation; promote and preserve our historically rich cultural heritage; and promote and support a diverse mix of private, commercial, and non-profit-led arts and culture initiatives and programs."

To that end, Creative Glassboro is partnering with the Rowan University Art Gallery on its first community initiative:  Yarn It.  This is a series of events, including community knitting, yarn-bombing, and  event to bring together residents and visitors and highlight the downtown area.  It will be held September 24 and October 15.

Creative Glassboro is a diverse team of town residents, merchants, public officials and other who were brought together through NCCP's Community Coaching initiative.  The team developed a vision plan for enhancing quality of life, economic opportunity and the creative environment through creative placemaking.  Yarn It is the first initiative developed through the plan. 

For more, please visit Creative Glassboro's website

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Call for session proposals for Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange

Call for Proposals: The Art of Healthy Communities, November 11, 2016, NJIT, Newark, NJ
Deadline: September 10 (Note new date)

Session proposals are being accepted for the second annual Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange, to be held November 11, 2016 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.  

The theme of this year's conference is "The Art of Healthy Communities".  The conference is produced by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking through support from New Jersey Health Initiatives, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program.

We invite you to submit proposals for presentations on innovative or unusual research, thinking or practice in creative placemaking.  Preference will go to presentations that focus on the theme of the connection between public health and creative placemaking.  However, we are open to any presentations that demonstrate new knowledge or practice in the field.

The Knowledge Exchange is itself an unusual type of 'big ideas' conference.  Each speaker will have 5 to 7 minutes to present, and then will engage in conversation with audience members.  In the afternoon, all participants will engage in peer exchanges in which they collectively determine the topics they want to discuss.
Questions? Contact Leonardo Vazquez at  or 973-763-6352

Conference sponsors and supporters: