MA, OH and Philly Picked for National Creative Placemaking Initiative

NACEDA and Americans for the Arts selected three partnerships to leverage the power of arts, culture and creativity to revitalize communities.

September 19, 2016

The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) and Americans for the Arts announced that three partnerships were selected to engage in an intensive, one-year program to build knowledge and advance creative placemaking in their state or region. Creative placemaking is a strategy to revitalize communities and local economies by intentionally leveraging the power of arts, culture, and creativity.

Third Space
Artists from the Amber Art & Design and "community connectors" from the People's Emergency Center CDC collaborate in West Philadelphia. Photo by PEC.

The partnerships are:

• Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and MASSCreative;
• Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation;
• Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and Just Act.

The Creative Placemaking Immersion Program will provide intensive training and technical assistance to the three partnerships. The program is funded in part by a $100,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to NACEDA. Americans for the Arts is NACEDA's lead partner on the initiative.

NACEDA Executive Director Frank Woodruff discussed his aspirations for partnership between the arts and community development fields. “The future success of our neighborhoods will require community developers to capitalize on culture and diversity as an asset to be harnessed, nurtured, and cherished,” he stated. “Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and Ohio have stepped forward to start building toward that aspiration over the next year. But their initiatives are just a beginning. NACEDA plans to use these initial places as a platform for continued creative engagement with diverse communities.”

The three partnerships were selected on the strength of their plans to advance creative placemaking knowledge in low-income communities in their state or region. They will each produce a final product that will continue the learning process nationally as well as in their footprint.


The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) and MASSCreative will host a series of workshops to bring together artists, designers, planners, architects and community developers. Each workshop will be held in a different region of the Commonwealth with local tours related to the workshop topics. MACDC and MASSCreative will release a report with learning materials developed over the course of the program; provide recommendations for state and municipal government and private developers on how to effectively embed placemaking into development; and hold a major public event to showcase their learning to the broader community.


The Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation will conduct trainings for community development and arts practitioners in Cleveland, Hamilton, and rural southeast Ohio as well as virtual meetings and provide coaching to participants. The partners will produce a video featuring footage of hands-on learning activities from the trainings and tours of the creative placemaking projects.


The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) and Just Act will launch “Art Powered Places: A Grassroots Creative Placemaking Program” to serve the community engagement arms of community development corporations (CDCs). They will provide trainings and technical assistance to empower artists and CDCs to work more effectively on arts-based resident engagement. PACDC and Just Act will produce an online creative placemaking toolkit.

A National Partnership to Advance Creative Placemaking

Americans for the Arts and NACEDA collaborated closely on this initiative to embed the arts into long-term community development. "Americans for the Arts and NACEDA share a deep commitment to promoting arts-based community development and creative placemaking as tools for helping America’s communities thrive,” said Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The Creative Placemaking Immersion Program creates a powerful alliance of leaders who can help deliver resources at the state and local levels. These partnerships offer an excellent opportunity for knowledge sharing and to broaden and deepen collaboration between the arts and community development leaders, and we are delighted that two such leaders are MASSCreative and Ohio Citizens for the Arts, both members of the Americans for the Arts State Arts Action Network.”

PolicyLink, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, ArtPlace America, the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, and bcWORKSHOP, Americans for the Arts, and NACEDA serve on an advisory committee for the Creative Placemaking Immersion Program. The advisory committee conducted the national RFP process, developed the training program and will continue to be involved in training, technical assistance, and evaluation.

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