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SURVEY: Snapshot of Creative Placemaking in Higher Education

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A Snapshot of Creative Placemaking in Higher Education, April 2016 The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) released a targeted survey in April 2016 examining the role of creative placemaking in higher education. The purpose of the survey was to identify creative placemaking activity in higher education as grounding for the 2016 Arts Business Research Symposium, April 28-29 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Little is known about how creative placemaking intersects with higher education, despite a burst of activity in the last five years within government, non-profits, community organizers, building sectors, and industry partners (fueled by significant federal, private, and industry financial incentives). This survey was an initial effort to begin this investigation. a2ru identifies issues and trends in higher education within arts-integrative research, curricula, and creative practice, and addresses institutional hurdles to implementation. a2ru has identified creative placemaking as an important emergent and rapidly growing collective impact model, with arts at its core. As historical framing, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus notes, "Creative placemaking is a relatively new term for work that's been organically happening in neighborhoods, towns and cities all across the country for decades. Within the last few years it's received new momentum in terms of funding and policy coordination." 1 a2ru is interested in the role arts and design play in the maintenance and development of communities. Specifically, we are interested in the role higher education can play in the advancement of this type of dynamic activity, known as "creative placemaking." Fueling Creative Placemaking in the United States In 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts commissioned a white paper on creative placemaking by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus for the 2010 Mayors' Institute on City Design. From this white page came a working definition of creative placemaking that we will refer to in this survey report. This white paper defines creative placemaking as a space where, "partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired." 2 In the past five years significant national resources have been directed towards creative placemaking activities. The most robust funders of this work in the U.S. include: ArtPlace America, Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town funding opportunity. In 2014, The Kresge Foundation awarded $21.6M to their Arts & Culture program; a large percentage of that funding is dedicated to creative placemaking. Since 2011 (five years into a 10-year initiative), the ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Fund has invested "$67 million in 227 creative placemaking projects in 152 communities of all sizes across 43 states and the District of Columbia." 3 Since 2011, the NEA Our Town funding opportunity has awarded 256 grants, with $21M distributed in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. This is a total of $109.6M distributed across the United States for creative placemaking efforts in a five-year span (2011-16). 1 Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, "Creative Placemaking 101 for Community Developers," LISC Institute, news/5014, para.3. 2 Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa, "Creative Placemaking," (Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 2010), p 3. 3 Brodnax, Traci. "ArtPlace America Invests $18 Million in Six Place-Based Organizations around the Country to Incorporate Arts & Culture into Their Community Development Work." News release, 2015.

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