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March 2013

Greetings from the Arts & Democracy Project!


On February 13, the Arts & Democracy Project, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture (NAMAC), and Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) hosted Placemaking & Belonging, a national conference call. In his essay "Creative Placemaking and the Politics of Belonging and Disbelonging," Roberto Bedoya argues that you cannot have a complete conversation about creative placemaking without addressing questions of who belongs now and who will continue to belong as a result of the work. Using this essay as its jumping off point, the call focused on a vision for el puente greenlight district celebration 2012 place-based arts and culture that is built on values of equity, mutual respect, and democracy. Presenters included Gretjen Clausing, PhillyCAM; Roberto Bedoya, Tucson PIMA Arts Council; Robert Gipe, Higher Ground; Anusha Venkataraman, El Puente Greenlight District; and Caron Atlas, Arts & Democracy Project and Naturally Occurring Cultural District Working Group (NOCD-NY).  


In this e-newsletter, you will find the Placemaking & Belonging conference call recording and other resources related to the call.

Up From the Roots: Economic and Cultural Equity in Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts
Tom Borrup summarized the findings from a series of r
oundtable discussions convened in several cities across the United States between 2009 and 2011. The roundtables explored "naturally occurring cultural districts" - grassroots, culturally-based efforts that are bringing about significant changes within their diverse communities.   


The Rural Cultural Roundtable Report

rural round table report

The Rural Cultural Roundtable demonstrated the role of place-based culture and creative industries in rural communities. Co-sponsored by Arts & Democracy Project, Center for Rural Strategies, and InCommon, the roundtable took place just prior to the 2011 National Rural Assembly.

Arts & Equitable Development Briefing Call 

Moving from economic crisis to just and sustainable communities requires imaginative thinking and change on virtually every level. 

LAPD State of Incarceration

This 2010 call offered examples of such creative and transformational work including: Higher Ground,

Los Angeles Poverty Department, Housing is a Human Right

Laundromat Project, and 

Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC)Listen to a recording of this conversation here



Building Community: Making Space for Art (2011)

building community: making space for art

How might art spaces be incorporated into comprehensive community planning and revitalization strategies? Maria Rosario Jackson draws on 16 years of urban planning research to answer this question, focusing on the full range of artistic activity that people value, the importance of arts and creative outlets for all people, the roles that artists play in society, and the kinds of art spaces needed for robust cultural vitality.

Developing Artist-Driven Spaces in Marginalized Communities: Reflections and Implications for the Field (2012)

This essay by Maria Rosario Jackson, Urban Institute, distills important issues to consider in the creation of artist-driven spaces, primarily those in marginalized communities.


creative placemaking white paper

A pivotal white paper written by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa for The Mayors' Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors and the American Architectural Foundation.

Dr. Mindy Fullilove describes the "root shock" suffered when neighborhoods are physically uprooted. Additional articles about root shock can be found here.


Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP)

Based at the University of Pennsylvania, SIAP conducts research on the role of arts and culture in American cities with a particular interest in strategies for arts-based revitalization. Publications include:  From Creative Economy to Creative Society (2008) and Cultural Clusters: The Implications of Cultural Assets Agglomeration for Neighborhood Revitalization (2010) by Mark Stern and Susan Seifert. 


 Trend Papers on Arts for Change 

Animating Democracy's growing collection of papers by leaders in and chroniclers of the field includes new essays featuring the Network of Ensemble Theater's MicroFests. Part learning exchange, part celebration, each MicroFest shines a light on a spectrum of cultural production that is traditionally under the radar of official creative place-making strategies. Essays include: Re-imagining Revitalization: Thoughts on MicroFest: Detroit by Michael Premo; Making Art, Making Detroit, Making a Difference by Eddie B. Allen, Jr.; Creative Engagement and a Moral Economy in Appalachia by Caron Atlas; A Community of Practice: NET Learning in Placeby Gerard Stropnicky; and 

by Mark W. Kidd.



envisioning development

Center for Urban Pedagogy: Envisioning Development Toolkit 

Teaching tools about land use and urban development in New York City, including an interactive income map and affordable housing resources.



PolicyLink: Equitable Development Toolkit 

27 tools to reverse patterns of segregation and disinvestment, prevent displacement, and promote equitable revitalization.

creative community builders


The Creative Community Builder's Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Art, and Culture 

Tom Borrup provides a step-by-step guide to building economic, social, civic and physical community infrastructure through the arts.
As always, we're proud to highlight the great work in this field to support and cross-pollinate an extraordinary network of artists, cultural workers, policymakers, educators, and activists. Please be in touch, and let us know what you think!
All our best,

Amalia, Caron, Kathie, Javiera, and Michelle
Arts & Democracy Project 
In This Newsletter
Arts & Democracy Resources
Reports from the Field
Upcoming Events
Blogs, Writings & Websites

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podcast image 


Listen to the Placemaking & Belonging conference call here or download it at the NAMAC site.
Listen to our latest conference call Stories & Places on rural arts and culture here.




From the Neighborhood Up:
May 30, 11am - 7pm

Museo del Barrio

New York, NY 


from the neighborhood up

Neighborhood-based arts and culture as an integral part of an equitable, resilient, sustainable, and creative city. nocdny@gmail.com

June 6-8
New York, NY

This conference brings together activists, academics, and professionals striving toward just and sustainable communities

MicroFest USA: Honolulu

June 13-18


MicroFest USA
The culmination of the Network of Ensemble Theater's (NET) series of MicroFests that address the impact of art and artists in revitalizing communities. 


June 14-16

Pittsburgh, PA


The Placemaking & Belonging session explores place-based arts and culture that promote equity and democracy, drawing on case studies from Los Angeles, Tucson, and New York City.


 Open Dialogue 13:  

People, Places, and Policy 

August 2-4

Providence, RI


 Organized by The Association of American Cultures, this convening focuses on pivotal people, places and policies impacting cultural democracy in America.


by Brendan Crain, Project for Public Spaces, 1/30/13


Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and Occupation of Public Space 

Edited by Ron Shiffman, Rick Bell, Lance Jay Brown, and Lynne Elizabeth 

with Anastassia Fisyak and Anusha Venkataraman 


 Buildings and Belief: Reimagining Development and Contemporary Practice 

Highlights from Theaster Gates' Keynote at LINC's 2011 Space for Change Convening in New Orleans 

moderated by Malkia Cyril with panelists Ann Markusen,  Noël Raymond, Deborah Cullinan, Gülgün Kayim


Higher Ground in 20 Slides

a participatory community arts project in Southeast Kentucky 



The Arts & Democracy Project builds the momentum of a cultural movement that draws on a rich history of arts activism, social justice organizing, and grassroots engagement. Arts & Democracy Project is a sponsored project of State Voices. Thank you to the Nathan Cummings Foundation.