Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Jersey Creative Placemakers to conduct free crowdmapping workshop

By Leonardo Vazquez

Before you decide what you want to do in a community and where, it's important to know what and who you have available to work with.  Crowdmapping can help.

New Jersey Creative Placemakers, a new network for those working to make communities better through arts and local culture, will offer a free crowdmapping workshop in July 2017 as part of Together North Jersey's training series on creative placemaking.  The series is sponsored by North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

Crowdmapping in Queens, NY
The workshop is tentatively scheduled for July 14, 9 am to 2 pm, at North Jersey Transportation

Planning Authority's large conference room at One Newark Center in Newark, NJ.  It will be taught by NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez, who has taught similar workshops for the Municipal Art Society of New York and uses crowdmapping regularly in NCCP's consulting practice.

Anyone is welcome to participate, but seating is limited.  Registration is expected to open after June 20. To get updates on registration, please follow NCCP on Facebook or Twitter.

NCCP and partners to hold Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges around United States

By Leonardo Vazquez

Couldn't make it to one of NCCP's Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits or Creative Placemaking Knowledge Exchanges?  No worries.  There might be one close to you in 2018.

Thanks for a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, NCCP and more than a dozen partners will hold gatherings on creative placemaking in Denver, CO; a major Southeastern city; Newark, NJ; and Charleston, WV.  We are also considering a convening in the Washington, DC area.

Since 2014, Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges have brought together more than 700 people working to make communities better through arts and cultural activities.  The events, which were in Newark, brought in creative placemakers from around the United States, as well as from Canada, Ghana and Egypt.

In surveys after the events, the vast majority of participants said they enjoyed the events, learned a lot, got useful knowledge and made new connections.
A workshop at Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit
 in May in Newark, NJ

To bring the Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges to the rest of the country, NCCP is working with a wide variety of partners.  These include representatives of SouthArts, Tamarack Foundation, Creative Startups, University of Denver, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, South Jersey Cultural Alliance, Noyes Museum of Art, and more than 10 state arts agencies.  These partners and more help develop the content of the events in their region.

Each Summit and Knowledge Exchange will be designed to serve residents, organizational leaders, civic leaders and public officials in their respective region.  The events bring in 150 to 250 participants -- large enough to grow a network, but not so large that they're overwhelming.

The Southeastern Leadership Summit and Knowledge Exchange, covering the region from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana and Arkansas, will be held in March in a southeastern city to be determined.  The theme is also to be determined.

The Southwest/Rocky Mountain Summit and Exchange, serving an area from Texas to Arizona and up to Montana, will be April 6 and 7 at the University of Denver.  The theme will be Entrepreneurship, Arts and Equity. 

The Northeast Corridor Summit and Exchange, covering all the states along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line, will be May 17 and 18 in Newark. The theme is to be determined.  The Northeast Corridor events have been supported by the American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter, Atlantic Health Systems Healing Arts Program, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Montclair State University, New Jersey Community Capital, New Jersey Institute of Technology,  New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

The Appalachian Summit and Exchange, which will serve the Appalachian region from western New York south and southwest to northern Mississippi, will be held in June in Charleston, WV. The theme is TBA.

To get more updates on these events, sign up for NCCP's emails, or follow us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

To get involved with planning these events, or to be a sponsor or exhibitor, please contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New Jersey Creative Placemakers offers Learning Tours of creative Jersey communities

By Leonardo Vazquez

A good and fun way to learn about creative placemaking is to see how it works in communities.

New Jersey Creative Placemakers is now offering Learning Tours of several New Jersey towns.  In these tours, you can learn how creative placemaking has enhanced the communities, get a chance to offer your ideas for more improvements, and enjoy time with other people who want to make places better through arts and cultural activities.

Meet Me in Morristown, a monthly arts event. After the tour,
stop by and enjoy the event.
The first Learning Tour will be in Morristown, NJ, on June 29, from 4:30 to 7.  Morristown, a longtime center for business and healthcare, has become a regional hub of arts and entertainment, and is perhaps the first municipality in New Jersey to require private developers to support public art.

Learn more or register for this Learning Tour.   This event is co-produced by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, Morris Arts and CORE Creative Placemaking.

Later in the year and into 2018, we'll tour Hackensack, Rahway, Valley Arts (Orange/West Orange), Hammonton, South Orange and Maplewood.  New Jersey Creative Placemakers works with partners in each of these communities to organize the tours.  If you would like to help organize a tour in your community, please contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352.

New Jersey Creative Placemakers is a new network for anyone who wants to make Jersey communities better through arts and culture. It is free to join and everyone is welcome.  Learn more about New Jersey Creative Placemakers.

New Jersey Creative Placemakers is made possible by the generous support of National Endowment for the Arts, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  It is also supported through donations and tickets for network events.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Another successful Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Thriving Together, the 2017 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, got rave reviews from participants. An overwhelming majority said they enjoyed the Summit, held May 5 in Newark, NJ, learned a lot or expanded their professional networks.

About 140 people attended the event, which focuses on the how to's of making communities better through arts and cultural activities.  Many were from the Northeast Corridor region (between Boston and Washington D.C.), but several came as far as California, Canada and Ghana.  They participated in a dozen workshops and peer exchange sessions exploring how to sustain creative placemaking initiatives, build stronger partnerships and promote social equity through the arts.

A collaboration exercise at the Leadership Summit.
All of the participants surveyed said they 'enjoyed the summit' and 'what I learned was useful to me.'

97% said they 'expanded their network.'

95% said they were 'satisfied with the quality of the instructors.'

92% said they were 'satisfied with the diversity of instructors.'

89% said they 'learned a lot at this summit.'

Participants in this workshop learned how to engage community
members through model building
"More! It was great!" said one respondent in their evaluation of the conference. Others said:
"I liked the variety of topics, specifically those related to social justice and equity," "This was a great learning experience -- lovely people and instructors bringing together such diverse knowledge." "Programs were impressive and presenters were professional and humble in their incredible accomplishments."

While all the reviews were positive, we will focus on several improvements for future Leadership Summits.  Among them: requiring that instructors leave more time for audience questions or open dialogue, having more staff to improve on site registration, and providing more information in the conference packets.

Couldn't make it to this year's Leadership Summit?  No worries.  You will have plenty to choose from in 2018.  With more than a dozen partners, NCCP is planning Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits in:

  • A major Southeastern city in March
  • Denver, CO in early April
  • Newark, NJ in May
  • Charleston, WV in June
  • The Washington DC area in early Fall.
To get more information about any upcoming Leadership Summit or other gathering or workshop, sign up for our emails,  or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Creative placemaking and Latino communities at APA national conference

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The Latinos and Planning Division of the American Planning Association held several sessions at the American Planning Association's 2017 National Planning Conference.  NCCP Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez, a co-founder of the division, helped planners at these events learn more about the power of arts and culture to enhance communities.

The division held three sessions where participants could learn more about planning in Latino communities:  "Cultural Competency for Planners", "Professional Development Tips for Latino Planners" and a mobile workshop called "Latino Placemaking in Washington Heights."

In each of these, Leo shared how creative placemaking can help strengthen communities and empower residents, as well as engage people who are otherwise disconnected from public decision-making.

Thriving Together brings creative placemakers from US, Canada and Ghana together for Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

You might expect a conference focused on enhancing community and economic development through arts and culture to be a little different.  Would you expect to be building your visions for a community with children's toys and craft supplies?

That's what participants did in the "Urban Planners as Community Healers through Art-Making" workshop.  It was one of a dozen interactive workshops at Thriving Together, the third Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit.  It was held May 5 at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.

It attracted more than 140 creative placemakers from around the United States, as well as Canada and Ghana.  The event attracted artists, cultural leaders, planners, grantmakers, public officials and more. They came to learn more about how to make creative placemaking more sustainable, build cross-sector partnerships and learn better ways to promote social equity.  "Urban Planners as Community Healers" was taught by James Rojas, a planner and artist known for creative community engagement.

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit participants build in a workshop.

The conference also featured an after-lunch conversation "What's in the Paper?" that explored art-paper making and paper-based art as vehicles for helping traumatized people re-connect with their communities. The conversation featured Faith Bartley of People's Paper Co-op in Philadelphia and David Keefe of Frontline Arts in Branchburg. It was moderated by Newark Arts Council Executive Director Jeremy Johnson.

Leadership Summit participants play a game designed to promote communication and collaboration 
This year's event also included a reception, which was attended by about 50 people. The reception honored Donna Drewes, who as co-chair of Sustainable Jersey's Arts and Creative Culture Task Force, helped inspire dozens of municipalities in New Jersey to pursue creative placemaking.
The reception after the conference was a great way to relax and make new connections


Thursday, May 11, 2017

NCCP helps Queens residents learn creative placemaking

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

More than 40 residents of the Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens, NY gathered in Aprilplacemakers, and help make their communities better through arts and cultural activities.
to learn to become creative

They were part of the Livable Neighborhoods Program, offered by the Municipal Art Society of New York.  In this workshop, led by Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, participants identified key issues they wanted to explore, identified partners to help them with those issues, and began developing strategies to address those issues.  The workshop was held April 29, 2017 at Italian Charities of America in Elmhurst, Queens.

They also learned to see their community as a creative placemaker would -- recognizing the array of places where creative and cultural activities happen now, and identifying potential sites for more creativity.  In teams of 4 to 6 people, they 'crowdmapped' large sections of their neighborhoods.

To help the new creative placemakers, NCCP and MAS created an 'outcomes' document that offers the participants recommendations for next steps that they can take

NCCP offers a variety of workshops that can be customized for many audiences.  To get more information, contact Leonardo Vazquez by email or at 973-763-6352.