The Saving Power of Community Creativity

Highlights of Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Responses to COVID-19

Author(s): Center for Community Progress, Metris Arts Consulting

The contributions of arts and cultural organizations to community strength and sustainability too often go unrecognized outside their local context (and even sometimes within that local context). However, their leadership in response to the pandemic and the most recent movement for racial justice has not only helped build community resiliency, but potentially saved lives and livelihoods. It’s never been clearer how much we stand to lose if we fail to give these organizations the attention they deserve.

For several years, Community Progress and Metris Arts Consulting have explored how arts and culture organizations are revitalizing communities that have been hit hard with vacancy and abandonment through “creative placemaking.” As defined by ArtPlace, “[c]reative placemaking happens when artists and arts organizations join their neighbors in shaping their community’s future, working together on place-based community outcomes. It’s not necessarily focused on making places more creative; it’s about creatively addressing challenges and opportunities…We believe creative placemaking at its best is locally defined and informed and about the people who live, work, and play in a place.” The term “creative placemaking” has been used to describe both the community-centered planning and visioning process and a wide variety of projects implemented by community leaders. This practice can take varying forms including, but not limited to, temporary, visual art installations, performance events, and developing permanent, brick-and-mortar spaces.

In this publication, we highlight the efforts of creative leaders during the pandemic and also seeks to inspire others trying to address acute needs.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: July 2021

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