Lessons from the Field: Reflections on Rural Placemaking

Find our more about our Rural Placemaking work! 

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Over the past year, [bc] and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) have had the opportunity to investigate how tools of arts and community building can be used in rural communities, funded in part by a generous Knowledge Building Grant through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

This partnership has brought resources to existing local efforts and enabled our organizations to better understand how ‘creative placemaking’ works in practice in rural communities and why it is a valuable tool for rural community development now. Through webinars, an internal working group, two pilot projects (in Kinston, North Carolina and Thomas, West Virginia) and a peer-to-peer exchange, we’ve seen the value of vivid local examples in understanding that ‘creative placemaking’ has been happening for a long time in rural communities across the country. Modest increases in resources coupled with capacity building hold vast potential for rural and tribal communities.

We've published a report, Lessons from the Field: Reflections on Rural Placemaking describing our yearlong initiative and reflecting on the last year of our work, outlining key outcomes and lessons learned valuable to the larger practice of rural creative placemaking. Read the full report here

Several resources were developed during this partnership to expand knowledge and practice of rural creative placemaking, including: 

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

 

Dallas Afterschool Access Map

Learn more about bcANALYTICS  and read the full Dallas Afterschool Access Report

There are 570,000 children aged 14 and under in Dallas County. All of these children qualify for afterschool programs. Funding, physical spaces, operations, staffing, materials and curriculum development are all needed to keep afterschool programs alive. More than 1,000 afterschool programs operate in Dallas County, each finding their own method for covering these costs and serving their students.

Dallas Afterschool has established the After the Bell Alliance to improve access to seats in afterschool programs for children across Dallas County. This partnership of community members, funders, afterschool providers, and advocates envisions that all students will have access to enriching and educational activities after they leave school each day. 

Two barriers to achieving this vision exist: costs associated with attending afterschool programs and students' physical access to program sites. Dallas Afterschool aims to increase access to free and low-cost programs for an additional 16,000 students in Dallas County. 

This report uses a multi-criteria model to analyze data within five areas: Existing Afterschool Environment, Current Neighborhood Conditions, Local School Environment, Accessibility + Proximity, and Change in Neighborhood Conditions.  10 clusters of Census tracts are identified for the After the Bell Alliance to expand afterschool programs. This approach provides an opportunity to enhance access for low-income students in some of Dallas County's least affluent neighborhoods. 

 

 

 

Rural Placemaking Peer Exchange in Thomas, WV

Learn more about our work Activating work! 

On October 3rd and 4th, [bc] co-hosted a peer learning exchange with the Housing Assistance Council and Woodlands Development Group in Thomas, West Virginia to share knowledge and best practices for creative placemaking in rural communities. The peer learning exchange included a range of site visits, conversations with local stakeholders, and workshops. 

[bc], HAC and Woodlands were joined by rural affordable housing developers, artists, educators and local nonprofit organizations to discuss topics including funding, partnerships, program design, cultural equity and community engagement. 

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

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ACD40 Conference Report

Learn more about the Association for Community Design and #ACD40!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Association for Community Design annual conference in June. ACD40’s theme, CommUNITY, sought to ignite conversations about the different models of practice that the field of community-engaged design uses to operate successfully. We envisioned a conference that would connect people from across the country who are working in and around public interest practices.

You can read our ACD40 Conference Report here. It contains a recap of the schedule, speakers, and sessions. It also includes results to the ACD40 Post-Conference Survey, the ACD 2017 Questionnaire, the Fellowship Survey, the Gender Equity Survey, and the Community Design Survey.

A big thank you to all of our funders, partners and supporters that made this conference possible: 

Funders - Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. & Surdna Foundation

Supporters - UT Arlington, College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, Mallory Baches, Jessica Blanch, Thor Erickson, Gilad Meron, Nikia Hill, Theresa Hwang, Mark Matel, Kevin Singh, Edward Orlowski, Stephen Goldsmith, & Alex Salazar

Venues - AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, CallisonRTKL, Dallas Public Library, HKS, & Thanksgiving Square

Promotional Partners - AIA Austin, AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, APA North Texas Chapter, LRGV AIA, SMU Design Council, & USGBC Texas

Volunteers - Bi’Anncha Andrews, Farida Rafique, Hannah Plate, Shani Dixon, Victoria Brown, [bc] Staff & Fellows, & Neighborhood Design Center

11th Street Bridge Park Working Group

See more posts about our work in DC

[bc] is supporting the 11th Street Bridge Park with developing cultural strategies to include in its Equitable Development Plan. On July 20th and 25th, [bc] and the 11th Street Bridge Park facilitated two small working group meetings. Local artists, arts organizations, and national leaders drafted initial strategies that identify how the Bridge Park can support arts, culture and heritage in its impact area. 

These draft strategies will be shared with the public at an open house on Wednesday, August 16th. 

Announcing Activating Vacancy Downtown Dallas Call for Proposals

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, with Downtown Dallas Inc, is excited to announce Activating Vacancy Downtown Dallas’s call for artist proposals.  Artists are invited to submit applications for this project that asks artists to create create work that directly addresses issues identified by downtown stakeholders through a previous process called Community Audited Public Space (CAPS), as well as by a Community Advisory Committee.  

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Rural Placemaking Participant Selection

See more posts about Activating Vacancy and our work in D.C. 

[bc] and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are pleased to announce the selection of two organizations for our Rural Placemaking Program, supported by a Knowledge Building Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The smART Kinston City Project Foundation in Kinston, North Carolina and Woodlands Development Group in Elkins, West Virginia will be implementing rural creative placemaking initiatives during summer 2017 as a part of this program.

The smART Kinston City Project Foundation has been working to foster the development of an arts-driven and asset-based economy by cultivating an Arts and Cultural District in Downtown Kinston for the last two years.  smART Kinston focuses their initiatives on connecting individuals and communities, using art as a tool to address local infrastructure and regional economic challenges.   Their pilot project will partner artists with local stakeholders to develop a creative placemaking project that addresses racial tensions and economic inequity in this city of 21,000.

Woodlands Development Group is a certified Community Housing Development Organization that has been working in Elkins, West Virginia and the surrounding area since 1995.  For this initiative, Woodlands will partner with ArtSpring to implement a creative placemaking initiative in Thomas, West Virginia - a town with a population of 600.  ArtSpring, a nonprofit that nurtures the arts community, has worked since 2011 to engage the public and promote Tucker county as an arts destination by presenting an annual arts festival.   Woodlands and ArtSpring will use community input to develop public art and wayfinding installations that reflect the artistic assets of the region and highlight the quickly developing cultural identity of Thomas.

Over the next six months, smART Kinston and Woodlands Development Group will work in partnership with residents and artists to develop a creative, arts-based initiative in their communities.  With the support of [bc] and HAC, both organizations will kickoff their creative placemaking pilot projects in June.  

The project is funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  To find out more about how the National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities visit www.arts.gov.  

Rural Placemaking Call for Participants

See more posts about our Activating Vacancy work. 

[bc], with HAC, is excited to announce the launch of the call for participants for Rural Placemaking, a new creative placemaking initiative that will take place in two rural communities (with populations less than 50,000) in the United States. Creative placemaking is a way of working between community developers, housing organizations, artists and local stakeholders to strengthen communities. This initiative will implement two creative actions during summer 2017 that bring people together to share food, stories, art, experiences, and histories as well as enable neighbors to talk, learn, and organize.

Two partnerships between a housing or community development organization and an artist/art organization will be selected to implement a temporary initiative from May to August 2017. [bc] and HAC encourage housing/community development organizations without an existing artist/arts organization partner to submit an application. If successful, [bc] and HAC will facilitate selection of a partner artist/organization.

Successful applicants will receive up to $7,500 to support the development of an arts and community building project in their town. They will also receive training and support from national leaders in creative placemaking and community development on the implementation of their project. Throughout the Rural Placemaking program, [bc] and HAC will provide one in person peer-to-peer training session with other participants to share experience and problem solve, technical training webinars to guide participants through [bc]'s creative placemaking process, Activating Vacancy, and an on-site visit to assist in program implementation. [bc] will provide guidance and feedback to participants on creative placemaking throughout the implementation of Rural Placemaking.  HAC will provide organizational and technical assistance in sustaining long term impact throughout the implementation of Rural Placemaking.  

Applicants should demonstrate a strong interest in social justice and desire to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to formulate proposals which unite residents from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. Applicants are encouraged to share examples of past work that exhibit community engagement/participation and the organization’s interest in bringing creative placemaking to their community.

More information on Rural Placemaking can be found here. Interested parties should apply via an online application here. We recommend reviewing the application requirements on pages 4-6 on the call for participants to prepare your materials prior to submission. Applicants cannot save and return to their applications.

Applications are due by 11:59pm on March 10, 2017. Applicants are encouraged to submit outside of peak website traffic time, (8:00pm-11:59pm CST on March 10th, 2017).  Finalists will be notified by March 30, 2017.

This initiative is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

DC Cultural Plan

See more posts about our work in DC!

[bc] is leading the community engagement strategy for the District of Columbia's first Cultural Plan. In collaboration with the DC Office of Planning (DCOP), DC Commission on Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) and HR&A Advisors, [bc] hosted four "Community Conversations" across the District to better understand the concerns of residents and challenges they face in reference to the arts, culture and humanities. These conversations worked to evoke and develop potential strategies and solutions from participants. Over the coming months, HR&A Advisors and [bc] will be undergoing continued engagement and developing draft strategies for the plan.

Celebrating Ivy City Is...

Learn more about Crossing the Street: Ivy City and our work in DC.

Photos by Vinnie Accardi (top left), Lotanna Obodozie (top center-right) and Nando Alvarez (center and bottom rows). 

On Sunday, November 6th, we celebrated the opening of “Ivy City Is…”, a collaborative, resident and artist-led creative project that culminated in the creation of a three-dimensional, 5’ by 20’ screenprinted, plywood installation, spelling out “IVY CITY”. This project is intended to celebrate the neighborhood’s rich heritage and foster a dialogue about Ivy City’s identity in the face of rapid development and demographic change. Over 200 Ivy City residents, creatives, and community stakeholders joined us at this event with on-site screen printing, free t-shirts, food, and performances by local artists at Lewis W. Crowe Park.

Each letter was crafted using a collage of historic photos, maps, and portraits of residents who customized individual yard signs declaring what Ivy City means to them. A diverse community of local artists collaborated with area youth to host a series of free screen printing workshops, where residents learned how to screen print and helped create the seven large letters that spelled out “IVY CITY”. Prior to this celebration, these individual letters were on display in key locations throughout the neighborhood, including Bethesda Baptist Church, Louis Carryout, Hecht Warehouse, and Trinity Baptist Church.

This “place-keeping” installation serves as a landmark to the historic neighborhood and invites residents of all backgrounds to celebrate Ivy City and collectively envision its future. This project is a collaboration between Empower DC, The Sanctuaries, Open Studio DC, LISC, [bc], and the DC Office of Planning (DCOP). This project is supported by DCOP’s grant from the Kresge Foundation, “Crossing the Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking”.

Ivy City Artist Selection

See more posts about Crossing the Street and our other work in Washington, DC

The Sanctuaries  artists and  Empower DC  youth community organizers screen print yard signs for residents. Photos (above and below) by  Rev. Erik Martinez Resley  of  The Sanctuaries .

The Sanctuaries artists and Empower DC youth community organizers screen print yard signs for residents. Photos (above and below) by Rev. Erik Martinez Resley of The Sanctuaries.

[bc] with LISC is excited to share the proposal selected for the Crossing the Street: Ivy City project. Crossing the Street: Ivy City is a temporary creative placemaking initiative in northeast Washington, DC. The collaborative team of EmpowerDC , The SanctuariesOpen Studio DC and resident Taylor Johnson have already been hard at work engaging residents in conversations about Ivy City's neighborhood identity and the community's desire for recreational amenities. Their project invites new and old Ivy City residents to customize a sign that expresses what "Ivy City Is" to them as well as to participate in a screenprinting and poetry workshop. The photos of residents with their signs, the poetry developed, and other curated images will be used to develop a large, screen printed installation. This installation will be unveiled at a community event on Saturday, October 29th. Be sure to stay connected with us on Facebook for future updates and opportunities to participate! 

 

Crossing the Street: Ivy City

See more posts about our work in Washington, DC

[bc] with LISC are excited to announce a call for collaborators for the Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City project. This art and creative placemaking initiative in the historic Ivy City neighborhood of northeast DC will implement a temporary, creative action that promotes community building, reflects the neighborhood’s rich heritage, and declares residents’ vision for the future of Ivy City.

Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City will be carried out over the next four months produced and curated by [bc] with LISC in partnership with the DC Office of Planning. [bc] and LISC believe collaboration of local and technical expertise is essential to quality placemaking.

Residents and artists, are encouraged to respond to the call for collaborators. If you have had a creative project in mind that will activate or inspire your neighbors or if you are a person who creates for a living and you want to do something creative and artistic in Ivy City then we want you to apply!

More information on Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City can be found here and interested parties should apply via an online application found here. A neighborhood tour and Q&A session will be held on July 21st for applicants to familiarize themselves with Ivy City and the application process. We encourage you to attend this session. Applications are due by midnight on Thursday, July 28th. Finalists will be notified by Monday, August 1, 2016.

For more information on Ivy City, see these resources.

This project is supported by a Kresge Foundation grant awarded to the DC Office of Planning. To find out more about DCOP’s Crossing the Street initiative, visit: http://planning.dc.gov/page/creative-placemaking.

Welcome Michaela Accardi!

Learn more about Michaela here!

Michaela Accardi

Design Associate

Michaela Accardi is a Design Associate at buildingcommunityWORKSHOPMichaela’s work is focused on city design and engagement projects as part of the People Organizing Place (POP) team in the Washington, DC office. She is supporting the development of a large city wide planning initiative focused on building increased cultural participation as well as developing innovative methodologies to support creative economies and creative placemaking initiatives within select neighborhoods.

As a DC native, Michaela has experience in the public and nonprofit sector in master planning, community engagement, site design, and natural resource management. Her graduate research and design work focused on the making of healthy and equitable cities through the use of community-interest design in several Virginia localities. 

Michaela holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture and a Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Virginia in Environmental Sciencesand Environmental Thought & Practice.