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Creative placemaking efforts to launch in five Cincinnati neighborhoods

In December, neighborhood groups gathered for a creative placemaking summit.

Walnut Hills representatives present their plans for the creative placemaking grant.


Throughout fall 2016, a coalition of local arts organizations, nonprofit leaders and community members came together to form a creative placemaking network that will bring arts and cultural events and initiatives to Cincinnati in 2017. Creative placemaking is the strategic shaping of neighborhoods around arts and cultural activities.

At its heart, creative placemaking is a collaborative process, and according to Kristen Baker, senior program officer with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Cincinnati is on the cutting edge of creative placemaking efforts in the United States.

The network will focus its placemaking projects on five Cincinnati neighborhoods: Covington, Price Hill, Walnut Hills, Madisonville and the West End. Each of the participating neighborhoods are part of LISC’s Place Matters initiative, which is a citizen-led partnership to transform key Greater Cincinnati communities.

Lead project partners LISC and ArtsWave secured $35,000 in grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to make the creative placemaking work possible. Over the course of five months, interdisciplinary teams completed a project design process led by Design Impact, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit design firm. Project concepts varied by neighborhood, but each focused on using arts and culture to develop community:
  • Covington: The Center for Great Neighborhoods worked with Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton to develop the concept for a sculptural installation that incorporates the stories of community members.
  • Price Hill: Price Hill Will and other partners will help create opportunities for neighborhood residents to install art pieces on their properties.
  • Walnut Hills: Frederick Douglas Elementary School will partner with community organizations to activate a vacant green space beside the school, turning it into a community hub.
  • Madisonville: Arts organizations and neighborhood residents will equip the underutilized Bramble Park with materials to encourage play, music-making and increased engagement.
  • West End: Efforts will focus around increasing community cohesion through arts programming and public events.
Each participating neighborhood team received $4,000 to launch their projects, which will happen throughout 2017. Baker underscores the potential for good that creative placemaking can bring to Cincinnati.

“The great thing about creative placemaking is that it is not deficit-focused, it brings to light the cultural activity in neighborhoods that makes them good," she says. "It’s a positive thing for communities, and it’s an affirming message for communities that might see themselves negatively reflected in the headlines.”

To stay up-to-date on the launch of creative placemaking network projects, visit the events pages for ArtsWave and LISC. LISC will also post updates from the creative placemaking network on its Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the year.   
 

Read more articles by Kamal Kimball.

Kamal Kimball studied English and social work at Ohio State University and is a State of Ohio LSW. She works in nonprofit development at Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati.
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