Friday, May 17, 2013

Sustainable Jersey team uses innovative strategy to promote creative placemaking in New Jersey

By Leonardo Vazquez, with Donna Drewes and Karen Pinzolo

People like to be recognized for their hard work.  That's why Sustainable Jersey is successful in getting municipalities to do more to protect their environments, enhance economic opportunity and improve quality of life in their communities.  Nearly 68% of New Jersey's 565 municipalities are pursuing or have received  Sustainable Jersey certification.

Riding that wave, Sustainable Jersey's Arts and Creativity Taskforce created three actions that together can help a municipality get 20% of the points it needs for certification.  This, in turn, will help creative placemaking become integrated into a community's planning and policies.

These actions are: developing a "Creative Team," a group of cross-sector leaders who envision arts development as a way to address community challenges; conducting an inventory of creative assets, and preparing a Creative Placemaking Plan that is adopted as part of the municipality'sMaster Plan.  The first two actions are currently available on the Sustainable Jersey website, and we anticipate that the Creative Placemaking Plan action will be incorporated into the program in June, 2013.

Watch Arts Day Offers Solutions and Celebration on PBS. See more from NJToday.

The actions were announced this month before 150 or so arts professionals at ArtPride New Jersey's annual Arts Day program. It was inspiring to hear stories from leaders from Woodbridge, Monmouth County, Orange and Creative New Jersey where actions similar to those in the Sustainable Jersey program are already underway. The event was covered by The Star-Ledger -- the state's largest newspaper and NJTV.

A municipality can received a Bronze-level certification by completing 10-12 actions that together generate at least 150 points.  Three hundred eight four of the state’s 565 municipalities have made a commitment to pursuing sustainability by registering with the program and 113 are currently certified.   

The Task Force is chaired by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking's Executive Director, Leonardo Vazquez, and includes representatives from public sector and arts organizations, including:  Karen Pinzolo of ArtPride New Jersey; Suzanne Ishee of Center for Creative Placemaking;  Elizabeth Murphy of Creative New Jersey; Wendy Liscow of Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Kadie Dempsey and Barbara Reuther of Morris Arts; Kristen Wegner of New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and Larry McCullough, formerly of Woodbridge Township.   They all worked on the actions, along with Morris Bellamy, a former board of member of Arts Build Communities.  

The team is managed and coached by Donna Drewes and Winnie Fatton of Sustainable Jersey.

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