California Arts Council

State of California

Creative Placemaking Panel at the League of California Cities Annual Conference in Sacramento

Craig Watson moderated discussion about revitalizing communities with the arts on September 19

Published: 09-16-2013

The California Arts Council moderated a panel presentation on utilizing arts to revitalize communities at the League of California Cities' annual conference in Sacramento on Thursday, September 19. The morning session was titled "Creative Placemaking: Using Art and Artists to Revitalize Your Communities."

The panel was moderated by Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. Expert speakers on the panel include:

  • Jessica Gomula-Krusic, Associate Professor of Time Based Media, California State University, Stanislaus. SEE JESSICA'S PPT 
  • John Michael Schert, Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur at the University of Chicago's Booth School, and former Founder and Executive Director of the Trey McIntyre Project. SEE ARTICLE ABOUT JOHN MICHAEL
  • Joseph Cortright, Principle Economist with Impressa Economics, senior policy advisor for CEOs for Cities (a national organization of urban leaders) former non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. SEE JOSEPH'S PPT See ArtPlace VIBRANCY INDICATORS

An audio recording of the panel is available HERE

Arts makes front page of Western City Magazine 

The California Arts Council's involvement with the League follows up recent public awareness joint efforts between the agency and the League concerning utilizing arts to strengthen local communities. Western City magazine -- the official magazine of the League of California Cities -- featured a cover story in May 2013 by the California Arts Council's Director discussing the benefits of arts to local economies and communities.

"It's the question that all local officials ask themselves: How can we attract and retain profitable businesses and talented people?" Watson in the article. "A key component of such efforts - and one that's often mislabeled an "amenity" - is arts and culture."

Watson's article emphasized investments in creative placemaking, explains how to tap local talent for community projects, and examines the role of cultural districts. "Investing in the arts doesn't necessarily need to strain the pocketbooks of local governments or require extra staff," notes Watson. "A little investment in the arts can go a long way toward keeping your community on the forefront of the creative economy."

Click here to see the full Western City article.

There are great examples of creative placemaking in California, and throughout the U.S. Here are some stories that augment the information from the Western City magazine piece. Click the links below to learn more.

Arts and disadvantaged neighborhoods, immigrant communities
Cities make significant efforts to encourage people to participate in the community around them, which improve neighborhoods and the community at large. The arts can be a strong impetus to civic engagement.

Arts utilized for outreach to tight-knit ethnic groups in Boise, ID
Exciting examples of using the arts for community involvement in small and medium-sized cities are popping up nationwide. Boise, ID, is known its large, robust but somewhat insulated Basque community. But a dance troupe was able to break through the barrier.

Utilizing arts during crisis: an examples from St. Paul, MN
Businesses in local neighborhoods in St. Paul, MN, were faced with a dilemma: the city was investing in a light rail system that would enhance the city in the long run, but the four years of construction could crush local businesses along the planned corridors in the meantime. The long-term improvement created a short-term crisis for neighborhood small businesses...and an opportunity for a unique arts project to turn a negative into a positive.

Sand City uses arts to re-define itself
Sand City is a tiny town in Monterey County that aims to redefine itself from "just one big concrete slab" to an entrepreneur enclave through the arts.

Apple Hill: a community working together creatively
It was an economic fiasco half a century ago that started the foothills fall phenomenon known as Apple Hill. The details of how the group of orchard owners turned a disaster into a major success is a lesson for California communities of all kinds, including and especially creative communities.

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