Monday, January 9, 2017

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit 2017; Propose a workshop, take advantage of special early bird rates

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Do you have special insights on how to sustain creative placemaking efforts beyond a few projects, how to build high-performing partnerships, or making communities more equitable and fair through the arts?

Propose a workshop for Thriving Together, the 2017 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit. It will be May 5, 2017 in Newark, NJ.

Leadership Summits are interactive. Image: Leonardo Vazquez
Session proposals are due by January 25. Session organizers/instructors get a free ticket to the convening and a big discount on exhibit space.  Propose a workshop.

We're also offering a very special early bird price for the conference. The first 50 people who register by February 5 pay only $50. After February 5, the fee goes up monthly. If you wait until May to register, you would pay $150.

Why wait? If you enjoyed the Summit last year, you'll probably like it again. Even if you didn't go, you'll probably enjoy yourself. 98% of last year's participants did, according to our surveys.

Building the creative placemaking field: NCCP 2016 accomplishments and 2017 initiatives

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking accomplished a lot in 2016 to help build the field of creative placemaking. We are planning to do even more in 2017

2016 accomplishments:
Yarn It project in Glassboro. Courtesy of Mary Salvante
  • Promoted and taught creative placemaking to arts organization leaders and public officials in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
  • Helped nearly 300 people learn how creative placemaking can enhance social equity and public health through the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit and Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange.
  • Also through the Knowledge Exchange, provided opportunities for innovative thinkers and researchers to share new ideas and success stories.
  • Boosted creative placemaking in Perth Amboy, NJ by helping the city win a statewide award for its creative placemaking plan.
  • Helped Glassboro, NJ and Hackensack, NJ adopt creative placemaking strategies to enhance their downtowns and build stronger connections among stakeholders.
  • Helped PlanSmart NJ win a two-year National Endowment of the Arts grant to build a creative placemaker community in New Jersey.
  • Provided Hackensack, NJ and Englewood, NJ free landscape architecture design services by teaching a studio class at Rutgers University.
  • Through our leadership in and partnerships with Sustainable Jersey, created incentives for more New Jersey communities to adopt policies that support the arts.
  • Started new partnerships for creative placemaking with more influential organizations, such as:  Atlantic Health System, Creative Start Ups, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Montclair State University, New Hampshire Institute of Art, New Jersey Community Capital, South Arts, Support Center of New York and New Jersey, University of Denver, Shelterforce, Next City and more than 10 state arts agencies.
  • Provided eight free webinars to help introduce creative placemakers to more useful issues and ideas.
  • Through the American Planning Association's PAS Memo series, published a creative placemaking guide for urban planners.
  • Helped several clients and potential clients make stronger arguments and pursue funding for creative placemaking.
  • Completed a fourth year of the Certificate in Creative Placemaking program.

For 2017:

Sharing ideas at the 2016 Creative Placemaking Leadership
Summit. Image: Leonardo Vazquez
  • Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits in the southeastern United States, Denver and West Virginia.
  • A Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Newark, NJ on May 5 that focuses on lasting creative placemaking, social equity and partnerships.
  • Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchanges in the Southeast and Southwest.
  • A series of workshops in New Jersey and New York to help you develop your leadership skills, beginning in January with Building Teams and Public Support for Creative Placemaking.  The first one: Building Teams for Creative Placemaking, March 21 in New York City.
  • A new and improved Certificate in Creative Placemaking program.
  • A new NCCP membership program that will provide special benefits and additional resources for creative placemaking.
  • More, to be announced soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Next Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit focuses on sustainability, social equity and partnerships

By Leonardo Vazquez

Thriving Together, the next Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, will focus on how creative placemaking can improve quality of life for disadvantaged people, successful partnerships, and maintaining and growing creative placemaking over the long term.

The all-day event will be Friday, May 5, 2017, at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ. Registration and more information will be available in January.

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits bring together people from many different fields -- arts, public affairs, urban planning, real estate development and more -- to explore ways to make communities better through arts and culture.  The Summit offers 'how-to' information through workshops, presentations, and other formats.  There is also plenty of time to build your network of creative placemakers.

The 2016 Leadership Summit attracted 150 people and got strong reviews from participants.

  • 98% said that they enjoyed the summit
  • 91% said they were satisfied with the quality of the speakers
  • 89% said that the workshops and peer learning experiences were useful to them
  • 80% said they learned a lot, and 55% said they learned more than they expected to
  • 75% said that there was a good mix of learning experiences

Here are some thoughts from last year's attendees on the Leadership Summit
  • "The Summit generated a lot of energy and consisted of big, thoughtful discussions
  • It was great being with like-minded people from around the country and in a location which has experienced a lot of neglect but now is rising to the surface in a positive way
  • Great networking and learning opportunity
  • A bit different than the usual conference, with more time for discussion, networking and creative thought
  • For people involved in the arts and community development, the program focused specifically on their needs
  • Useful discussions and perspectives for those interested in the intersection of arts/culture and community development
  • Great, current, relevant conversations.  
  • I told colleagues that the sessions were helpful to a broad range of professions.
  • High quality and well thought out event; worth your while
  • Small conference with good content and a great chance to network with colleagues on the East Coast.
  • I told them that I found out about some interesting metrics for 'gold' for the arts
  • I raved about it.
  • It was really inspiring
  • The sessions were inspiring and helped solidify some organizational ideas.
  • I encouraged colleagues to attend... and would definitely do so again.
  • That it's very informative and educational, especially if they are new to or just beginning creative placemaking."

To get updates on the conference, join the NCCP mailing list

January workshops can help you get more public support for creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

We often talk about creative placemaking in terms of how arts and culture affects a place.  But the key to making it work is getting the right people together and building public support. NCCP's January workshops can help you do that.

Building teams and public support for creative placemaking is for anyone who would like to lead efforts to address social and economic issues in their communities through arts and culture.

We'll share our insights from a decade and a half of building successful teams and engaging stakeholders around planning issues.  This will not be the usual 'how-to' workshop.  We'll explore why some teams succeed, while others fail; what kinds of community engagement can work best given your community's circumstances; and how creativity and culture can play big roles in your success.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Know the indicators of both successful and troubled teams -- and how to respond
  • Be able to make better choices for engaging communities
  • Learn how creative and cultural activities can help build teams and engage stakeholders in community improvement. 

Check out the agenda:
  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Why teams succeed - and fail
  3. Building a team for creative placemaking
  4. Troubleshooting common team problems
  5. Lunch (provided)
  6. Why so many community meetings fail
  7. Creative community engagement methods
  8. Choosing the best strategies; measuring success

Please don't wait to register. The first 10 people to register get a 50% discount.  Use discount code: CP50.  The next 10 get 25% off. Use discount code: CP25

Questions: Please contact the instructor, Leonardo Vazquez, at or 973-763-6352.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Creative Glassboro team produces vision plan for creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Glassboro, NJ, home of Rowan University, is a fast-growing town on the outskirts of the Philadelphia region.  It's a culturally diverse post-industrial mix of college town and exurb that had recently been the center of a largely rural county.  There's been a lot of 'eds and meds' development (that is, university and hospital). How does Glassboro welcome newcomers -- and longtimers who might have felt left out -- while preserving its distinct heritages and stories?

Creative Glassboro is exploring this question and more through its new Vision Plan and tactical urbanism projects. You can learn more about the plan here or join the team for a community celebration:  December 6, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 High Street West, Glassboro.

Creative Glassboro began in 2015 with community visioning. Credit: Creative Glassboro
The Vision Plan calls for growing a more inclusive and greener Glassboro that honors its diverse heritages through arts and cultural activities.  The team is now involved in its first major project from the plan:  yarnbombing and intergenerational knitting activities.

To create the Vision Plan, Creative Glassboro engaged in Community Coaching, an NCCP program that has built creative placemaking plans and leadership teams in 16 communities in Louisiana and New Jersey. You can learn more about Community Coaching at an upcoming information session. 

For more information on Community Coaching, please contact Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking by email or at 973-763-6352.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016 Knowledge Exchange worth the trip for creative placemakers

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

As Executive Director of The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which supports free outdoor music around the United States, Sharon Yazowski is a busy person.  But even though she was speaking on stage for only seven minutes, it was worth her time to travel five hours from Los Angeles to Newark, NJ for the Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange.

“This was my first time participating in CPKE and I found it extremely valuable—the formats for sharing outcomes, experiences, and insights were conducive to maximizing the collective knowledge of attendees.  It was wonderful to connect with others in the field and learn about their impactful work, while also having fluid discussions throughout the day about the challenges many of us are trying to address through our creative placemaking efforts.”

Newark Museum's Steven Kern speaking
Ms. Yazowski wasn't the only long-distance traveler to The Art of Healthy Communities: the second annual Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange,  Among the 125 people who attended the November 11 event were visitors from throughout the US and as far away as Canada and Australia.

The event, produced by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and PlanSmart NJ, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology featured talks and community conversations on six topics in creative placemaking.

Many of them touched on the key theme of creative placemaking and public health. After lunch, participants learned about Voices of Valora music that serves veterans with PTSD, and heard songs composed by vets and musicians.  Brian F. Dallow, the Executive Director of Music for All Seasons, which created Voices of Valor, was the lunchtime speaker.  In the afternoon, participants led conversations on topics that they offered and selected themselves.

"I very much enjoyed the Knowledge Exchange and thought it was worth traveling for," said Clay Frickey, a City Planner for the City of Fort Collins, CO.  Mr. Frickey was also a presenter. "It is really nice seeing what other municipalities are up against and the Knowledge Exchange is a great way to make connections to discuss these issues."

Other participants enjoyed it too. A participant satisfaction survey shows:

  • 99% said the conference was informative.
  • 95% said they enjoyed the conference.
  • 92% said they would attend the Knowledge Exchange again.
  • 88% said the Knowledge Exchange was as good as or better than other academic or 'big idea' conferences they have attended.
  • 86% said there was enough time for networking.
  • 83% said they would recommend the Knowledge Exchange to others.
  • 83% said there was enough time for conversations.
  • Everyone who participated in Open Space conversations found them informative and enjoyable.*

"I was truly inspired by the conversations and presentations and am looking forward to expanding my network through the new contacts that I met and conversations that I started," said Melanie Stewart, Associate Dean and Professor of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University's College of Performing Arts. She also co-chairs Creative Glassboro (NJ).

"I was especially impressed by the international interest and concern for healing communities especially now in a context where we really need to come together as a country.  I hope that our work will have real impact in achieving a healthier path forward."

The morning presentations covered these topics:
  • Community building
  • Research, evaluation and outcomes
  • Healthy aging
  • Youth health and engagement
  • Dance, performance and community
  • Healthy creative partnerships
Knowledge Exchange participants are encouraged to share their
insights and experiences
Each presenter spoke for seven minutes, and there was about a half-hour of peer exchange conversation.  Participants asked questions or spoke about their own experiences, adding their insights to those of the formal presenters.

In the Open Space portion of the convening, eventgoers talked about such things as community engagement, creative placemaking and community development during the Trump administration, language in and as space, gentrification, and how to maintain the knowledge sharing after the event.

"My favorite component of the event was the open sessions at the end," Mr. Frickey said. "While mine was the least explicitly 'placemaking' focused conversation, we had a nice discussion with divergent opinions that have stuck with me since the Knowledge Exchange.  It's always nice talking with people about things they are passionate about in a less structured format."

The 2016 Knowledge Exchange was sponsored by New Jersey Health Initiatives, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation,  Atlantic Health System, American Planning Association New Jersey chapter, Montclair State University, and Shelterforce magazine.  ArtPride NJ, South Jersey Cultural Alliance and the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation partnered in promoting the event.  Additional support came from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program. 

NCCP will hold its next conference -- the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit -- on May 5, 2017 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.  To get updates on the Leadership Summit, join the NCCP mailing list.

Participants choose what they want to talk about in the Open Space portion
of the Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange

*24 respondents completed the survey.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Great reasons to go to The Art of Healthy Communities: the 2nd annual Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

We know you're busy.  We know you have a lot of choices for events this fall. But here are 11 reasons why it's worth it to attend the Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchange, November 11, in Newark, NJ.

  • Get useful, practical knowledge.  You can get insights from expert practitioners and scholars on six key topics: community building; research, evaluation and outcomes; healthy aging; youth health and engagement; dance, performance and community; and healthy creative partnerships.  Speakers are coming from around the United States, as well as Canada and Australia, to share their knowledge.  By the way, the people attending are very smart too.  You can learn a lot from them.
  • Make great connections.  The Knowledge Exchange is attracting senior leaders and key influencers from the fields of grantmaking, community and economic development, public health, urban development, arts, and more. You'll probably meet someone who can help you in your work or your career. See who else is going to the Knowledge Exchange.
  • Plenty of time for networking. We know that conferences are not just for learning.  So we are providing plenty of breaks and long lunch so you have time to build your connections.  Bring plenty of business cards.
  • Explore your own ideas.  Do you prefer those conferences with talking heads talking endlessly?  Neither do we. That's why every presentation is no more than seven minutes long, and each topic includes 30 minutes of conversation between audience members and presenters. In the afternoon Open Space sessions, you can lead group discussions on topics you choose. These are good ways to get feedback on some of your ideas.
  • Learn about a great program for veterans with PTSD. In honor of Veterans Day, learn about Voices of Valor, a program that helps vets heal through music and songwriting. You'll also hear some of the songs composed by the vets.
  • Learn how creative placemaking can help build healthier communities. You probably know how the arts can make places more enjoyable. But the arts have even more power, and creative placemakers can guide that energy to improve the mental and physical health of residents.  Learn how from presenters and other attendees.
  • Planners: get continuing education credit.  The Knowledge Exchange has been approved for six AICP Certification Maintenance credits.
  • It's a good value.  If this were a television commercial, this would be the 'But wait' moment. The Knowledge Exchange is a good value at $150.  But as an NCCP subscriber, you get 25% off.  Your ticket is only $112.50.  Use discount code: NCCP10

    But wait! If you're a friend of any NCCP board member, or a member of any of these groups, you get even bigger discounts:  ArtPride New Jersey, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, Newark Arts Council, American Planning Association New Jersey chapter.

    If you're a retiree, a solo artist, or are part of a small community-based organization (with the less than 3 employees), we have a limited number of seats for $50 each. Use the discount code: community.   Please: If you or your organization can afford to pay more, please leave these community seats for someone else.
  • You're helping a good cause.  100% of the proceeds from the Knowledge Exchange will go to support The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  This will help us support your work with free and low-cost learning events, and advocating for creative placemakers throughout the United States.
  • Enjoy yourself at the event. There's dancing, art and food.  Seriously. In one session, everyone will be invited to join in a dance.  There will be an art exhibit (including interactive art) at the conference from 12 to 7 pm. You'll get breakfast and lunch, and snacks for the after-conference art exhibit.  You can relax and enjoy yourself while you're learning.
  • Enjoy yourself afterward.  Newark is only 20 minutes by train from New York City. Newark itself is a good place to explore: great Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish food in the Ironbound neighborhood.  Want to see an emerging arts district? Check out the Halsey Street area near the school.  And if you're a Springsteen fan, take the train down to Asbury Park and visit one of the coolest towns in New Jersey.