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ArtPlace Summit 2016 crackles with innovative presentations, ideas

Arts & Culture

The Kresge Foundation was well represented at the ArtPlace America Summit recently, where Creative Placemaking themes rippled through a series of speakers, panel discussions and interactive activities.

More than 300 attendees gathered for the summit, held April 4-6 in Phoenix, Ariz., sharing innovative initiatives taking place across the country to integrate art and culture into community development projects.

Attendees at the ArtPlace America Summit tour Roosevelt Row.
Attendees at the ArtPlace America Summit take a tour of Roosevelt Row in Phoenix, Ariz. Photo by Hugh McDiarmid

Highlights included rapper, artist and deputy sheriff Jorge Ferreira, whose presentation crackled with real-world examples of bringing positive change to low-income communities; a walking tour of Phoenix’s art-infused Roosevelt Row redevelopment; and a panel discussion led by The Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson that explored how arts and culture can disrupt community development’s business-as-usual model by embracing equity and locally driven decisions.

Discussion topics included the profound, as Bryan Lee Jr., director of the place for the Arts Council of New Orleans told the crowd that “Art is the user interface that connects to the soul”; and the practical, as Lyz Crane, deputy director of ArtPlace told a breakout session that, “A lot of what we talk about in Creative Placemaking is simply good community development and public engagement.”

Rapson used the gathering to announce the selection of Regina R. Smith as managing director of the foundation’s Arts & Culture Program. Smith started with Kresge in 2008 as a program officer and senior program officer. She had been interim director of the program since the summer of 2015.

Other Kresge attendees included Arts & Culture program officers Helen Davis Johnson and Michelle D. Johnson, Deputy Director of Social Investments Practice Kim Dempsey, Director of Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation Chera Reid, Vice President Ariel H. Simon, Communications Officer Hugh McDiarmid and Senior Adviser Maria Rosario Jackson who led a breakout session on accommodating new ways of working in the Creative Placemaking field.

ArtPlace has posted a visual recap of the conference, and will publish more follow ups through its blog.

The Kresge Foundation is a key funder of ArtPlace America, a 10-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, which describes projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development.

The Kresge Foundation focuses on Creative Placemaking as a comprehensive community development approach that embeds arts and culture in stabilizing disinvested communities in America’s cities. As part of cross-sector revitalization activity, Kresge believes arts and culture contribute to positive and enduring economic, physical, social and cultural change in communities.