Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Registration now open for the 2016 Certification in Creative Placemaking program

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Registration is now open for the 2016 Certification in Creative Placemaking program from The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and The Ohio State University.  This unique, online program helps up to 30 continuing education and graduate students learn creative placemaking at a deep level, as well as develop practical leadership and planning skills.  

Coaching success stories: Hackensack murals, Englewood historical exhibit

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

If you are in Englewood, NJ, you could see an exhibit about the city's long history and success in sports at the historic Mackay Park gatehouse.  Go 15 minutes west to Hackensack, and you can see an outdoor gallery of murals on Main Street.

Both projects stem from community coaching and team building provided by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking (NCCP).

In Englewood, the sports exhibit runs through December 13.  NCCP was contracted by the City of Englewood to prepare a vision plan for Mackay Park, the city's largest and most central park.  Since its founding in 1906, Mackay Park has gone from being a woodsy escape for weekend picnics to something more like an outdoor sports complex. Several residents wanted the vacant historic Gatehouse at the park's north end to become a museum.

Members of Englewood's Mackay Park Vision Plan
Leadership Team in a visioning exercise
On behalf of the City, NCCP helped to build and coached a diverse team of neighborhood residents, city staff and park users to develop the team.  NCCP invited members of the Englewood Historical Society to join the team. Through the team-building process,  diverse team members developed several ideas for programs and physical improvements to the park. The historical exhibit is among the first of what is hoped to be several more community-oriented activities in the park.

In Hackensack, NCCP, in partnership with the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, provided community coaching to Creative Hackensack.  This team, which is completing a creative placemaking plan, involved as many as 40 people from throughout the city.

Hackensack muralists meeting
Hackensack muralists meeting.  Image source: Main Street
Business Alliance Facebook page

The team developed a number of short term projects. The first one now being completed is the set of murals along a construction site on Main Street in the heart of its downtown.  The team took an innovative approach to its first mural project.  With an asset-based orientation and a goal to make art accessible to as many Hackensack residents as possible, team members saw 32 wooden panels at a construction site as a set of canvases.  Working with the property owner, the foundation and City organized a call for artists in June, and contracted with five artists to complete murals.

As the new building behind the murals is constructed, and the boards are no longer needed for public safety, the murals will travel throughout the City to inspire more creative activity.

In December, NCCP will begin working with the Glassboro Partners -- a partnership of the City of Glassboro, New Jersey and Rowan University, on community coaching to develop a creative placemaking vision plan.  The first community event will be from December 1, from 4:30 to 7:30, at the Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 High Street in downtown Glassboro.

Community coaching is available to any individual community within two hours travel (by train or car) of Newark, New Jersey.  Coaching services are available elsewhere in the United States if a minimum of five communities are involved.  Learn more about community coaching.
A finished mural by Lissane Lake. Image source:
  Main Street Business Alliance Facebook page

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New and upcoming webinars on creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and The Ohio State University are offering eight webinars on creative placemaking between December 2015 and May 2016.  The webinars cover a wide variety of subjects, including community development, economic development, psychological well-being and sustainability.

  • December 3, 2 to 3:30 pm eastern: Creative placemaking: integrating community, cultural and economic development,   Learn more or register
  • December 16, 2 to 3 pm eastern: History of creative placemaking in the United States, Learn more or register.
  • January 19, 2 to 3 pm eastern: Creative placemaking and human needs placemaking.  Learn more or register.
  • January 26, 2 to 3 pm eastern: Community coaching: a new way to speak truth to power, Learn more or register.
  • February 23, 2 to 3 pm eastern. Incorporating arts in urban and site design.  Learn more or register.
  • March 8, 2 to 3 pm eastern. The rise of freelance artists: implications for urban planning and design.  Learn more or register.
  • April 12, 2 to 3 pm eastern. Cultural districts and cultural institutions: suns or black holes?  Learn more or register. 
  • May 10, 2 to 3 pm.  How creative placemaking can help build more resilient communities Learn more or register.

To learn more about these webinars, please visit the Certification in Creative Placemaking program

A donation of $20 per webinar is requested.  Funds will help support the Certification in Creative Placemaking program at OSU.  However, anyone can participate free with the discount code:  donation

Friday, October 9, 2015

Next Creative Team Roundtable is January 27 in Hackensack, NJ

By Leonardo Vazquez

If you're on a Creative Team or arts council in New Jersey, or would like to start one in your town,
Creative Team Roundtable conversations, May 2015
please join us for the next Creative Team Roundtable, January 27 at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center.  This is a free peer learning and community building effort to help creative teams in New Jersey become more effective.

Talk about key issues facing your team or arts council with others like you.  Interested in public art? Building support from public officials?  Getting local property owners on board?    Get ideas and answers from your peers.

You'll also learn about the work of Creative Hackensack and efforts to make the city a new cultural hub and arts destination.  Then stay to network with your colleagues at General Poor's Tavern (cash bar).

The Center is located at 101 State Street in Hackensack  Get directions

This Creative Team Roundtable is produced by the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking in partnership with Creative Hackensack and the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.  Please let us know if you'd like to host a future Roundtable.

Creative Team Roundtables are made possible in part by the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

For more information, please contact NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Next Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit focuses on how to do well – and do good

By Leonardo Vazquez

The next Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit will be Friday, March 18, from 9 am to 4 pm at Rutgers University – Newark in New Jersey. The daylong conference will explore how creative placemaking can build both social and financial equity in communities.

The Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit brings together arts administrators, artists, public officials, urban planners and others interested in making communities better through arts and culture.  It is a fun and inspiring daylong conference that offers participants many opportunities to learn about – and share their expertise – in the fast-growing field of creative placemaking.  In 2014, more than 250 people attended.  We expect more in 2016.

Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America will be the keynote speaker.  Other confirmed speakers include Tom Dallessio, Publisher, Next City; Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers-University Newark; and Ommeed Sathe, Vice President – Impact Investments, Prudential Financial.

Last year's Summit drew more than 250 people.  Mural guru
Jane Golden speaking at last year's Summit.
The program is being developed, but we anticipate having sessions tailored to arts and arts administrators, developers and other members of the development community, and public officials and professionals involved in community and economic development.

Sustainable Jersey actions connected to arts and culture, incentivizing developers, and creative financing strategies to support arts and culture.

We are also planning at least one mobile workshop to an arts facility in North Jersey.
We will be announcing speakers and sessions soon.  Sponsorships are available and appreciated.
To learn more, contact Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, at or 973-763-6352  <<Karen: Do you want to be the contact?>>

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2016 studio course seeking clients for creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Urban design and landscape architecture -- that is, the shaping of design of outdoor spaces -- can make a big impact on your creative placemaking efforts.

If you are interested in free or low-cost landscape architecture or urban design strategies, please consider becoming a client for an upcoming studio course of the Rutgers University Landscape Architecture program.  The course runs from January through May 2016, and this offer is available to communities within 90 minutes of travel to New Brunswick, NJ.

Free urban design support will be available to several communities that begin community coaching by January 2016.  Community coaching is a unique 6-9 month program that helps communities build sustainable plans and leadership for creative placemaking. Through this program, Creative Teams in New Jersey and Louisiana have developed several projects, changed local laws, attracted new investment, and created new partnerships.

The communities will receive support on a first come-first served basis. The number of clients depends on the number of students in the course.

Communities that want other landscape architecture or urban design services can receive them for a reasonable fee.

Please note that while students in the studio course will be expected to respond to their clients' requests and interests, they will be given the freedom to present their ideas as they see fit. Clients can get additional services after the studio course for a reasonable fee.

To learn more about this opportunity, please contact the studio course instructor, NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange a success

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Nearly 50 creative placemakers from the world of arts, government and community affairs came to the first ever Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange to share their insights.  Intended to be a creative take on a scholarly conference, the event let participants explore the latest thinking in a new field that explores how best to make places better through arts and culture.

They gathered June 26 at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) in Newark, NJ.

Amira Badran, a recent graduate of the
Certification in Creative Placemaking program,
shares her proposal for reinventing a public
square in Cairo, Egypt.
In the morning, participants listened to a dozen presentations from a variety of scholars and practitioners from the United States and Egypt.  Among the presenters were graduates of the Certification in Creative Placemaking program.

Presenters explored a wide range of topics, from defining and measuring creative placemaking to the impacts of current initiatives.  Learn more about the presentations and see some of the presentation slides.

After lunch, participants toured the future home of Express Newark, a new arts center being developed by Rutgers University in the old Hahne & Co. building in downtown Newark.

Then they shared ideas in an Open Space conversation. Open Space lets participants choose and lead their own discussion topics.

Surveys after the event show that 100% of attendees found the conference informative and 95% found it enjoyable.  100% of respondents who participated in the Open Space conversations found it informative and enjoyable.  81% enjoyed and learned a lot in the walking tour.  85% said there was enough time for networking.

The event was produced by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, in partnership with SPAA, The Ohio State University City and Regional Planning program, and the Rutgers University Newark Department of Arts, Culture and Media.  Several organizations sponsored the event, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, the Rutgers Newark Department of Arts, Culture and Media, and  the Ohio State University City and Regional Planning program. SPAA donated the building and staff time to support the program.
Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange participants in an
Open Space conversation