Monday, July 10, 2017

Call for session proposals: Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

NCCP and its partners are planning five Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges in 2018.  The convenings will be held in the southeastern US, Denver (CO), Newark (NJ), Charleston (WV) and Maryland.  Each convening has or will have a distinct theme.  These include creative placemaking in small towns and rural areas, gentrification, entrepreneurship and equity.

On behalf of our team of partners, we invite you to submit a proposal to conduct a workshop or presentation for any of the convenings.  The deadline is August 20, 2017. To learn more or submit a proposal, please go to:

Workshops at 2017 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit
in Newark, NJ

Since 2014, Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits and Knowledge Exchanges have engaged more than 700 people.  Many of them are decision makers or key influencers from a wide variety of disciplines, including philanthropy, public policy, urban planning, community and local economic development, arts, and academia.  In evaluations, the vast majority of participants have said that they enjoyed the events, learned useful information, and made valuable connections.

The convenings were held in New Jersey. Thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, we are able to offer these events around the United States.
To learn more about a previous Leadership Summit, please visit:

To learn more about a previous Knowledge Exchange, please visit:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Learning Tour brings New Jersey Creative Placemakers to Morristown

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

Creative placemakers from as far as the Jersey Shore and Brooklyn went to Morristown last week to see how arts and local culture are helping to enhance the North Jersey town.  They learned about social and economic issues in the community, toured a downtown arts festival, met local artists and community organizers, and explored a new public art project in a community that is often bypassed by visitors and residents.

It was the first Learning Tour produced by New Jersey Creative Placemakers, an initiative of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. 16 people attended the event, which was co-produced and led by Kadie Dempsey, the Director of  Creative Placemaking for Morris Arts.

The participants saw a film about the Gateway Totem, a National Endowment for the Arts-funded sculpture that honors the heritages of the diverse people who live or lived in the Speedwell Avenue neighborhood.

Learning Tour participants meet with local artists at the Gateway Totem
Participants also heard from Jennifer Wehring, the Executive Director of the Morristown Partnership, a downtown business organization, and Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder.  Morris Arts is the county arts agency for Morris County.  The participants also met with Carlos Sartelo, a local artist and community organizer who works with Morris Arts on community engagement in the diverse Speedwell Avenue neighborhood.  At the beginning and end of the tour, attendees went through Meet Me in Morristown, a monthly arts festival produced by Morris Arts in the spring and summer.

The participants also did some creative placemaking planning.  They stopped at a vacant building and lot and brainstormed possible strategies for the site.  After the tour ended, several of the participants enjoyed drinks at Tashmoo, a local pub.

The event was covered by Morristown Green, a local news organization. See the article.

Future tours are being planned for September through November 2017.  They will be in the Valley Arts District (Orange and West Orange), Hackensack, Rahway, and Hammonton. To learn more or get updates, sign up for the NCCP newsletter, like NCCP on Facebook or follow NCCP on Twitter.

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.