Creative Placemaking in Memphis, TN
MASSCreative has partnered with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) to work with the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) and Americans for the Arts 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 shape, reshape or preserve communities and local economies by intentionally leveraging the power of arts, culture, and creativity.
As part of this work, Matt Wilson and Andre Green traveled with representatives of MACDC to a convening in Memphis to work alongside other partnerships from Ohio and Pennsylvania to deepen their knowledge of creative placemaking and begin to develop a strategy to help Massachusetts develop placemaking knowledge.
Over the course of the two days in Memphis, Wilson and Green were able to see firsthand examples of the use of arts and culture to revitalize historical monuments and business districts. “A highlight for me,” Green, MASSCreative’s Political Director, reported back “was getting to see a working loading dock for trucks that had been transformed so that it could serve as a performance venue on weekends, turning the sort of economic development most people don’t want in their communities into a real central nexus for a vibrant business district.” Additionally, they spent time working through how to better engage artists in meaningful partnerships with their local Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in local creative placemaking projects.
MASSCreative and MACDC 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.