Erica Ruben-Hadzic, a New Yorker who designs events and programs for nightclubs, joined the Certificate program because she wanted to “update my knowledge of current trends and best practices for bringing the arts into neighborhoods.”
She got a lot more.
“What I didn't expect, is how the Creative Placemaking program is turning my perspective around,” said Erica, who has been an Executive Producer for the prestigious Summer Stage in Central Park.
“As a producer and curator, it is fascinating to learn about the process of building creative concepts through the history, voices, and success stories of a community. In some respects this course is challenging my notion of the producer/curator as the final taste maker. Rather, I'm starting to better see that the very livelihood of a creative project in a community has so much more to do with the process of conceiving it there in the first place.
Erica is one of 14 students from nine states in the initial class of the Certificate in Creative Placemaking, a program developed by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and New Hampshire Institute of Art.
|Students working on ideas during the residency|
of the Certificate program. Image by Chris Archer
Between August 2017 and June 2018, the students will explore critical issues in creative placemaking. They include community development, local economic development, qualitative and quantitative analysis, site planning, destination marketing, and alliance building. They also will develop their skills in collaborative leadership. The program is mostly online. Students met for a three -day residency in August, and are encouraged to share their work at an upcoming Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit offered by NCCP.
“The certificate has been a very fun and engaging way to explore the field,” said Ximena Bejarano, of Oakland, CA “and has really jumpstarted my own creativity in regard to how we might help shape the communities we live in. As someone without a background in planning, I feel that everyone's input is valued and I can draw on others in my cohort for their knowledge and experience.”
Ximena, who works for Net Impact, a nonprofit that mobilizes young people to use their careers to lead social and environmental change, came to the program to “gain some tools that I could apply to my current work and that might help me bring placemaking into the work of the organization.”
Students are already using what they are learning in class.
Amy Regan, a founder of the Rochester (NH) Museum of Fine Art, used a public engagement technique she learned during the residency to explore how participants at a Pride festival felt about Rochester.
Manchester (NH) Philanthropist Liz Hitchcock is working on purchasing an old theater and club to turn into a community-oriented venue and performance space.
|Instructor Tom Borrup teaching students during the|
residency. Image: Chris Archer
Liz said, “I've gotten so much from the program already -- the ability to have the residency and meet all of the classmates at the beginning of the program, helped me get a feel for the different problems other communities are seeing and some of the unique solutions that they have created.”
To learn more about Liz’ work, see http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20171014%2FLOCALVOICES07%2F171019598&template=mobileart
Amy, Liz, Ximena and Erica are trading ideas and learning with a diverse class of fellow students:
- · Lindsey Danhauser is a Senior Program Supervisor for Art and Recreation Services for Eden Prairie (MN).
- · Christa Drew, of Boxborough, MA is a Consultant for DAISA Enterprises, which provides business and initiative strategic planning, capacity building and evaluation services.
- · Jodie Levandowski is a Planner for Manchester (NH).
- · Emily Marks is an artist, curator and producer to youth audiences in Memphis (TN).
- · Glenn Michalowski is a Program Administrator for a regional para-transit service based in Pequannock (NJ) and a liaison to the town’s Economic Development Committee.
- · Kristin Stayer is the Executive Director for Park Place Community Center in Anderson (IL)
- · John Sullivan, a science teacher in New York City, is on the Board of Bike and Walk Montclair (NJ)
- · Lynn Thomson is the Manager of Community Education and Museum Outreach for the Currier Museum in Manchester (NH)
- · Carly White is a Graphic Designer for THENDESIGN ARCHITECTURE in Cleveland (OH)
- · Bob White is a landscape architect based in Portsmouth (NH)
“The course is rigorous and goes deep into how we define a community as well,” Erica said. “The teachers in this program share their heart-felt level of consciousness that is so encouraging to those of us who come at this program with a passion for our creative communities.”
Next year’s program will begin shortly after Labor Day 2018, and run until June 2019. Registration for the 2018 program will open in January, and there will be monthly information sessions from January through July. To learn more about the program, and sign up for updates, please visit http://www.nhia.edu/creativeplacemaking or contact Leonardo Vazquez, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-763-6352, x1