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.