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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Survey shows Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit a success

By Leonardo Vazquez

Everyone enjoyed the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, held in June in Newark, NJ.  Most learned a lot at the summit, learned more than they expected, and found the information useful.

This is according to a survey conducted of summit attendees. Of the 79 respondents:
  • 100% of respondents said they enjoyed the summit
    Morning panel with creative placemakers
  • 99% said they were satisfied with the quality of the speakers
  • 95% said they learned a lot at this summit
  • 94% said what they learned was useful to them
  • 87% were satisfied with the diversity of speakers
  • 75% said that listening to their peers was useful to them
  • 71% said they learned more than they expected to

Many attendees also enhanced their networks at the summit.  
  • 76% said they expanded their networks at the summit
  • 75% said there was enough time for networking
About 97% said the summit seemed well-organized.

The best parts of the conference, respondents said, were Jane Golden's presentation (83% said that was their favorite part), the morning panel with creative placemakers, and the afternoon panel with funders.

There was a good amount of networking 

More than 92% said they would definitely recommend this program to their colleagues or members, and 8% said they might.

The survey asked respondents: What would, or did, you tell their friends and colleagues about the summit? 
  • "Great ideas, innovative thinking"
  • "Important to keep things moving forward in the direction of cross sector partnerships where creative placemaking and the arts are concerned -- this summit recognized that and provided opportunities for making connections, learning and having your voice heard."
  • "It was very well organized and professional; it encompassed a true diversity of stakeholders from creatives to policymakers, conceptualizers to number crunchers."
  • "There were a tremendous number of great ideas shared during the conference that would be of great benefit to learn more about and try to implement in your neighborhood development plans."
  • "Great way to collaborate with colleagues and learn from what other towns did successfully.  Also opened up new ideas and I learned about other places in the state that I never knew existed."

The 25 respondents who stayed for the peer-to-peer exchanges also enjoyed themselves and found the sessions
Susan Schear (standing)  facilitates a peer-to-peer session 
  • 96% said their facilitator listened to all participants
  • 96% said their facilitator provided fair opportunities for everyone to participate
  • 96% said they felt comfortable being part of their session.
  • 96% said they were able to participate as much as they wanted to
  • 84% said it was good to let participants choose the questions to be asked
  • 77% said the comments from their peers were interesting
  • 73% said the comments from their peers were useful
Asked what they liked best about the peer-to-peer sessions, respondents said:  "Hearing where artists were struggling with moving projects along... learning models of best practice... listening to peers about their success stories and approaches... there were ideas presented by other participants that I hadn't thought of... problem solving strategies to common roadblocks."

The estimated margin of error is about 9 points.

The Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit was a joint production of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, ArtPride NJ, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, PlanSmart NJ, and Together North Jersey.  It was made possible with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

If you would like to get updates about future events organized by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, please subscribe to our newsletter.

National Consortium for Creative Placemaking gets continued support from the Dodge Foundation

By Leonardo Vazquez

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking is excited to report that it has received $11,000 from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in June.  The grant will help support our work building capacity and connections for better creative placemaking in New Jersey.

Specifically, we will use this funding to support creative sector research in New Jersey, the Sustainable Jersey Arts and Culture Task Force, develop a creative placemaking leadership summit in 2015, community coaching in New Jersey, and other activities.

We appreciate the continued support and guidance of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit draws large crowd

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

In what may be the largest gathering related to creative placemaking in New Jersey, around 250 people participated in the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit.
Jane Golden speaking at the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

They heard from a wide range of professionals at the intersection of community, cultural and economic development, including keynote speaker Jane Golden, founder of the internationally-known Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia.

The morning panel featured a former mayor (James Kennedy, Rahway), an artist and community planner (Anker West), an arts program administrator (Sheila McKoy of NJ Transit), a developer of an arts-oriented space (David Garsia of the Art Factory) and a community organization leader (Anthony Smith of the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District).

An afternoon panel featured leaders of three arts-related funding organizations -- Chris Daggett of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Lyz Crane of ArtPlace America, and Nicholas Paleologos of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Ann Brady and Richard Bryant (standing)
 of NCCP facilitating a breakout session
There was also a lot of cross-sector conversation beyond the panel discussions.  Participants, who included public and elected officials, organizational leaders, economic development professionals, civic-minded artists and urban planners, also engaged in peer-to-peer workshops and a great deal of networking.

"A lot of interesting and thought provoking points and ideas were bouncing around," said Meredith Lippman, Program Development Specialist at the Hudson County (NJ) Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development. "Jane Golden was tremendously inspiring and the breakout sessions not only allowed for more discussion but also provided a chance to meet some of the other attendees."

Participants in peer-to-peer sessions discussed the connection
of arts and artists to placemaking. Susan Schear (standing)
 of NCCP facilitates.
Several partners came together to organize and support this event -- the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, ArtPride NJ, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, PlanSmart NJ and Together North Jersey.  The State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation both made it possible through their support and advice.

NCCP is planning another large creative placemaking conference for 2015.  If you would like to get updates on future convenings, please subscribe to the NCCP mailing list.

The panel discussions and Jane Golden's presentation will be made available on YouTube by North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Community coaching returns to New Jersey

By Leonardo Vazquez

Community coaching is a great way to build a plan for better creative placemaking in your community, as well as a team of stewards to help turn ideas into action.

It has been used in 14 communities in New Jersey and Louisiana since it was developed in 2011 by the leadership of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. Communities as small as hamlets and as big as regions have used community coaching to help them diversify their economy, bring artists together with other businesspeople, and address numerous social issues.

Community coaching has also been proven to build new partnerships and the ability of stakeholders to take
on more leadership roles in their communities.

In this program, a trained community coach is paired with a team of 12 to 30 community members who agree to work for 6 to 9 months on a set of creative placemaking strategies.  Teams meet every 3 to 4 weeks, and are guided by their coach to develop ideas and priorities, including implementation strategies.  Each team has a diverse mixture of artists, public officials, community representatives and businesspeople.

The next round of community coaching starts in October 2014.

Thanks to a partnership with PlanSmart NJ, community coaching is now being made available to communities throughout New Jersey.   Learn more about or register for the program in New Jersey.

To learn more about community coaching in general, please join us for our upcoming free webinar:  Community coaching -- a new way to speak truth to power.   It is June 3, from 2 to 3 pm eastern.  1 AICP CM credit is available.  Learn more or register