Friday, January 12, 2018

Welcoming new partners and sponsors

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The Consortium in NCCP's name is intentional.  We never wanted to be just a center or institute -- with all the ivory tower connations that conveys.  Like creative placemaking itself, we are about meaningful and productive partnerships.

We are fortunate now to have more than 55 partners and a growing number of supporters.  These include 15 state arts agencies; several universities and colleges; and associations in community development, real estate development and urban planning.

Among the newest supporters of NCCP's programs are:

  • Lyndhurst Foundation
  • Tennessee Arts Commission
  • McClure Engineering
  • Cultural Planning Group
  • Colorado Creative Industries
  • Wyoming Arts Council
And we welcome our new partners
  • Maryland State Arts Council
  • New Mexico Arts
  • Oklahoma Arts Council
  • Montana Arts Council
  • Urban Land Institute - Northern New Jersey chapter
  • American Planning Association - North Carolina and Louisiana chapters
  • Arizona State University - Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
  • College Park Partnership
  • Public Art Reston
  • Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council
Supporters and event sponsors get free tickets, and partners get discounts, for NCCP events.  They are encouraged to share them with their networks.  If you would like to become a supporter, sponsor or partner of an event or of NCCP in general, please contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352, x1

NCCP offers more workshops in more places

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Through NCCP's creative placemaking workshops, you can build your skills in developing public art, crowdmapping, sustaining initiatives for the long term and more.

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking offers a growing array of half day workshops, starting in February 2018.  And they will be in more locations:  Burlington, NJ; Orange County, NY; and locations in North Jersey to be announced.

Each three-hour workshop is limited to 30 participants, so please register soon.   AICP planners may get Certification Maintenance credits for many of the workshops.  NCCP is applying to become a provider of CM credits.

For more information, or to host workshops in your area, please contact Leonardo Vazquez or Thomas Young at

Community Development for Artists, Designers, and Makers
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
To influence the people who affect quality of life in communities, it helps to understand them and speak their language. This workshop will help you make more persuasive arguments to elected officials, leaders of community organizations, and others who can make things go – or stop – in a community. Specifically, you can explore:
*How those involved in community development think about issues affecting quality of life in communities, and how they measure success
*The levers of influence in communities – from individuals to institutions. In other words – how things change – or don’t – in communities
*The sources of funding for community-oriented projects
*How nearby communities have engaged arts to address community issues.

Economic development for artists, designers and makers
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
We know that the value of art is priceless. Unfortunately, a lot of businesspeople, elected officials, investors and their advisors don’t see it that way. If you want to influence these people, it helps to talk about the arts in ways they can understand. This workshop will help you make more persuasive arguments. Specifically, you can explore:
*How those involved in local economic development think about issues affecting standards of living in communities, and how they measure success
*The levers of influence in communities – from individuals to institutions. In other words – how things change – or don’t – in communities
*The sources of funding for local economic development projects
*How nearby communities have engaged arts to address local economic development issues.
Building Teams for Creative Placemaking
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
As Geraldine R. Dodge President Chris Daggett has said, “The hardest part of collaboration is collaborating.” This workshop focuses on building sustainable and high-performing teams for creative placemaking. Participants will learn how teams go from starting off as a group of people with different agendas to a team with a shared mission and views on how to move forward. Participants will also learn the methods of Community Coaching, a team-building and planning tool that has been used in 15 communities in New Jersey and Louisiana.

Creative Community Engagement
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
Tired of traditional community meetings? A lot of people in the community are too. This workshop explores artistic and fun ways to engage community members. Participants will learn about easy ways to create community models, photo-voice, visual notetaking, role-playing and other methods of engaging audiences. Participants will learn how to use these methods to get critical knowledge about communities, build consensus, or generate enthusiasm.

Creating Community Murals
Instructors: Kadie Dempsey and Dan Fenelon
(note: no arts training is required) Murals can be important tools for bringing people together and building civic pride. Or they could just be paintings that come people like and others hate. The difference is how they’re done.
You will learn how to plan and manage a marling project that engages community members and works to support planning and creative placemaking efforts. You will get hands-on training by working on an actual mural in class.

Creating Public Art
Instructors: Kadie Dempsey and Dan Fenelon
A piece of public art can be a creative beacon that connects an entire community. Or it could be just another object on the sidewalk that some people, some people hate, and too many ignore. The difference often is about how it's designed, who's involved, and who's making what decisions.
This workshop will help you design and develop true community-guided public art initiatives. You will learn all steps of the process, from idea creation through site selection to installation.
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
Taking stock of your existing assets and opportunities can help you do more cost-effective creative placemaking. You will learn how to read a community for ‘hidden’ creative assets and opportunity sites. You will also learn how to engage stakeholders in crowd mapping and how to build better creative placemaking strategies from your maps.

Creative Assets Inventories
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
What you should do as a creative placemaker depends a lot on what is available in your community. Creative assets inventories help you get a better sense of resources and opportunities to achieve lasting benefits. Specifically, you will learn:
*How to assess creative and cultural organizations in a community
*To develop more effective surveys for creative placemaking
*Tools for measuring local and regional creative economies
*Effective ways to share information to convince and persuade key audiences

Financing Creative Placemaking
Instructor: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP
There are many ways to sustain your creative placemaking efforts — grants, tax credits, donations, sponsorships, and more. Which are right for you? What funders are giving what types of projects? Learn about financing opportunities and get a funding resource packet.

2018 Strategic Conversations webinar series starts in January

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking will again offer free webinars in creative placemaking in 2018. The webinars explore a wide range of topics, including community development, place history and resiliency.

AICP members may also get Certification Maintenance credits.  NCCP is applying to become a CM provider, and we expect to apply for CM credits for all eligible activities (such as the webinars.)

Webinars are limited to 100 people, so please register at your earliest convenience.  Register here

The upcoming Strategic Conversations are:

Tuesday, Jan 23, 2 – 3:30 pm eastern
Creative placemaking: integrating community, cultural and economic development
What makes creative placemaking a new way to make communities better through arts and culture? How can creative placemaking promote social equity, sustainability, and prosperity? Learn about a model developed by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking that integrates community, cultural and economic development in ways that are sustainable and asset-based. Also learn how our model fits in with the guidelines of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Tuesday, February 20, 2 - 3 pm eastern
The growing creative economy in New Jersey: impacts on urban design, community planning and local economic development
A recent report from The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking shows that the number of artistic jobs and freelance artists, writers and performers in New Jersey is growing faster than jobs in New Jersey overall. What implications does this have for community planning, urban design and economic development. Though the focus of this conversation is on New Jersey’s creative economy, there will be a lot of takeaways for anyone outside of the state.
Friday, March 9, 2 - 3 pm eastern
History of creative placemaking in the United States
The term ‘creative placemaking’ was coined only six years ago, but it has been happening in various forms in the US since at least the late 19th century. This webinar will explore the earliest work in creative placemaking in America. Participants will learn about the pioneering work of Charles Mulford Robinson, Edgar Lee Hewett and others, and discover how placemaking through arts and culture has evolved over more than a century.
Tuesday, March 27, 2017, 2 - 3 pm eastern
Creative placemaking and human needs placemaking
The arts aren’t a diversion or a luxury. They are important for the well-being of individuals and communities. Many people already know about the power of the arts to enhance economic development. This webinar will discuss how the arts can help people develop and keep intellectual skills, build social connections, and more. We will explore how creative placemaking can support the elements of human needs placemaking.
Thursday April 12, 2 - 3 pm eastern
Community coaching: a new way to speak truth to power
Community coaching helps stakeholders build sustainable plans – and the shared leadership to implement them. This model helps build relationships between planner and client that makes it possible to address the big, difficult issues that keep a community from moving forward. It is a different approach to current models of planning practice, and it may challenge you to think about how you work with communities.
Tuesday May 8, 2 - 3 pm eastern
Incorporating arts in urban and site design
This Strategic Conversation explores how to design communities and sites to encourage more creative and cultural activities. Participants will also learn how the arts can help improve navigation, safety and other issues in urban and site design.
Tuesday June 5, 2 - 3 pm eastern
The rise of freelance artists: implications for urban planning and design
One of the fastest growing segments of the creative sector is freelance artists, writers and performers. To attract and retain these professionals, communities may have to rethink their approaches to urban design, community development, and economic development
Wednesday June 27, 2 - 3 pm eastern
Cultural districts and cultural institutions: suns or black holes?
One of the first things that many people think about in creative placemaking is creating a cultural district or building a large cultural institution. While districts and institutions can become catalysts for community-wide creativity and revitalization, they can also absorb a lot of time, energy and resources that could be used effectively elsewhere in the community. Learn how creative placemaking can make it more likely that districts and institutions have a broader impact on their communities.
Tuesday July 17, 2-3 pm
How creative placemaking can help build more resilient communities
With the damage caused from hurricanes, tornadoes and floods around the United States, more communities are looking to be more ‘resilient.’ Resiliency is not just about creative physical improvements to withstand storms; it is also connects to a community’s ability to revitalize quickly after disaster. Arts and culture can play a big role in helping communities recover. We will explore examples from Louisiana, New Jersey and Missouri, and discuss how to connect creative placemaking with resiliency in community dialogues.
Strategic Conversations in Creative Placemaking are made possible in part by generous support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The New York Times encourages you to consider living in Perth Amboy, NJ

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Congratulations to the City of Perth Amboy, which was featured in the Living In column of The New York Times in November.

Caroline Pozycki-Torres, founder of Perth Amboy Artworks, talked about how the city is being
Perth Amboy Creative Team member and Arts Council
President Greg Bender showing the creative placemaking
plan to Rep. Frank Pallone
transformed through arts activities.  NCCP worked with Caroline and other members of the Perth Amboy Creative Team (the precursor to its Arts Council) on a creative placemaking plan.  Caroline was one of the leaders of that effort.

This plan, the Arts Council and several projects, came through Community Coaching, an NCCP program to help communities build creative placemaking strategies and the capacity to see them implemented.  To learn more about Community Coaching, please contact NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352

Planning 2018 New Jersey Creative Placemakers events

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

New Jersey Creative Placemakers had a great first year in 2017.  We helped influence the Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area (Check out the section on arts), explored Morristown and the Valley Arts/Seven Oaks districts, and worked on strategies to activate a quiet corridor in Hackensack.  

Touring the Valley Arts District in
Orange and West Orange
In January, the NJCP leadership team meets to plan events for 2018.  We’d like your help.  What should we work on to help you build your knowledge and connect with other creative placemakers?

We’ve already got some events lined up:
  •          A Strategy Lab to recommend land use, tax, and other policies to support creative placemaking New Jersey.
  •          A Learning Tour of Hammonton, a growing arts center in South Jersey. That will be March 24. Learn more or register.
  •          The Northeast Corridor Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, which will be held May 3 and 4 at Drew University in Madison.  (You can register now at a special early bird rate.)

We also will create an online forum for New Jersey Creative Placemakers and a resource page for creative placemaking in New Jersey.

If you would like to be involved in these efforts, or help plan others, please join us at the next New Jersey Creative Placemakers quarterly meeting.  It will be held January 10, at the Art Factory in Paterson.  Please contact NCCP Program Coordinator Thomas Young at or 973-763-6352, x2, to get involved.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

NCCP welcomes two new board members

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Chuck Biczak and Anne LaBate have joined the Board of the Directors of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  The appointments were made effective November 21, 2017

Charles "Chuck" Biczak is a strategy and marketing professional dedicated focused on designing and implementing strategies, marketing campaigns, and business development programs that work in the real world.  Chuck has worked in Corporate Planning at Canon USA, Inc. since 1998, where he is currently the Director of Strategic Change Management.  Chuck led the marketing strategy for the successful design and launch of a brand new corporate logo and tagline: Canon See Impossible.  In addition, Chuck has helped to establish strategic partnerships, develop new business, and establish the social media strategy for Canon. 

Chuck graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and earned his MBA in Marketing from Drexel University.  While at Drexel, Chuck was a Teaching Assistant in the Marketing Department and won awards for both his teaching and research.  He is currently pursuing a Master Certificate in Music Business through the Berklee College of Music.  The diverse education means that Chuck is comfortable with both quantitative and qualitative approaches, encourages analysis and intuition, understands the big picture as well as the smallest details, and balances passion with strong project management.

Anne LaBate has been active in commercial real estate for over 25 years, with a current focus on estate, and is pleased to work every day within the Creek to Canal Creative District.
sales and leasing and prior to that, the appraisal of commercial properties. As a resident of Trenton, NJ, she has a particular interest in promoting the competitive advantages of Trenton real

She is active in her community as a Board member of the Trenton Downtown Association, the Trenton Parking Authority, the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Grants Committee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. She formerly served on the Boards of Passage Theatre Company and Artworks Trenton.

Anne has a BA in Community Development from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development and Investment from New York University.

On another note, former NCCP Board Treasurer Marisa Benson has stepped down from the NCCP Board of Directors.  

The NCCP Board of Director oversees the work and sustainability of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. For more information, please contact NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez by email or by phone at 973-763-6352, x1

Thursday, November 16, 2017

NCCP building a community of creative placemakers in New York City

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Where do creative placemakers in New York City gather to share ideas and support one another?  We don't know either. So we have started working with colleagues from some nonprofit organizations in the city to help build a community of practice for creative placemaking. 

We have been building a professional community in New Jersey for a year, and now have more than 200 members around the state.

We are planning an event in late January or early February to bring together creative placemakers in New York City to share their insights and talk about what resources they need to be more successful (besides funding, of course.)

If you'd like to get involved with this effort, please contact NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352, x1.  Learn more about The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.

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