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Putting Creativity to Work: Creative Placemaking with People at the Center

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Marty Pottenger, director, Art at Work

Arts projects that focus on engagement and collaboration outside the arts sector are sometimes the most successful, but are often the most difficult to complete successfully. A practitioner’s seasoned perspective on creating work that engages and transforms communities, we will learn about projects with New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection/Local 147 Sandhog’s Union, a city-wide gathering at Union Square four days after 9/11, and a national arts project with 30 minimum wage workers and 30 multi-millionaires. Presentation will also include Art At Work is a national initiative to improve municipal government and the communities they serve through strategic arts projects with municipal employees, elected officials, residents and artists. Creative Placemaking with people at the center, AAW strengthens community resilience and generates cultural, civic and economic vibrancy by engaging people in making and experiencing art that matters.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Putting Creativity to Work: Creative Placemaking with People at the Center

  1. 1. Creative Placemaking with People at the Center
  2. 2. Webster’s on infrastructure: "the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization."
  3. 3. Physical Infrastructure: Roads, Bridges, Tunnels, Water Delivery Systems + Info Tech Infrastructure: Servers, Satellites, Cables, Software, Routers + Social/Relationships Infrastructure: Connection, Communication, Understanding, Empathy, Curiosity, History, Trust
  4. 4. • 3 year project City Water Tunnel #3 1993-1996 • Arts Partners + NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection & Local 147 Tunnelworkers Union • Budget $250,000 • On-jobsites Videos, Performances, $20,000 Memorial Fund, Weekend Fair for employees & families
  5. 5. Marty Pottenger interviewed 30 multimillionaires & 30 minimum wage workers. The play toured 7 cities, with over 5000 people participating in civic dialogues about money. ABUNDANCE: a 4 year national arts civic dialogue project about money and America
  6. 6. How much is enough? What’s your earliest memory connected to money in any way at all? What’s a lie you tell yourself about money? What would be enough for you?
  7. 7. A national initiative to strengthen community resiliency & municipal government through arts projects with municipal staff, unions, politicians, the public & artists.
  8. 8. THIN BLUE LINES POLICE POETRY PROJECT
  9. 9. PUBLIC WORKS Public Service Employees Participating Portland hot beverage vendors used the same to-go cups for three days in March 09.
  10. 10. TIES THAT BIND 235 beds, Elizabeth Jabar
  11. 11. CITY WRITERS GROUP Open to All City Departments
  12. 12. Parking Shift Attendant Donald Burns & his City Writers Group poster “Livery” at Spring Street Garage
  13. 13. Portland Police Chief Craig at Opening of Regional Crime Lab &AAW Photography Exhibit at Police Headquarters 2009 Janitors Workroom door at Police Headquarters, Evaluating Impact
  14. 14. Indicator: City asks for arts projects Police officers killed an armed Sudanese man who had a history of run-ins with them. Primarily African-born youth saw it as murder, and expressed their outrage with over 15 incidents of rocks & bottle throwing at police and Public Service workers.
  15. 15. Police Chief Craig asked Art At Work to interview police officers and create a performance for police officers to do in local high schools about their work. Art At Work secured Chief’s agreement to work with officers more likely to ‘cross a line’ Project expanded to include a parallel performance by immigrant & refugee youth about their experiences with the police, “The Weeping City”, together creating “Forest City Times”
  16. 16. The Weeping City & Radio Calls curtain call after performances for 1100 students & faculty
  17. 17. The next few months after the performances… INDICATOR: officers report scores of ‘youth-initiated, positive contacts’ INDICATOR: violent clashes cease
  18. 18. RADIO CALLS
  19. 19. Union’s Issue: Respect Predicted Indicators: • increase in positive comments by residents • increase in positive media coverage LINES Portland: the visible/invisible lines and labor that connects us A panel with artist Katarina Weslien & Public Services road repair crew Nov.ember 9th, 2010
  20. 20. City Hall Chambers Gallery
  21. 21. MEETING PLACE NEA Our Town
  22. 22. Meeting Place Partners Neighborhood Associations • City of Portland • Creative Portland • Portland Buy Local • Portland Trails • Maine Historical Society • Portland Adult Education • Portland Housing Authority • Aserela Sudanese Association • Portland Public Library • Maine Muslim Community Mosque • Maine Irish Heritage with support from National Endowment for the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Sewall Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers and the City of Portland
  23. 23. EAST BAYSIDE COMMUNITY PLANT
  24. 24. The ‘real’ Bayside
  25. 25. Can poetry stitch a com-munity back together? Here’s Libbytown Story Poems
  26. 26. HERE’S LIBBYTOWN CELEBRATION Traditional Indicators: Attendance, Diversity, Elected Officials, Residents Volunteering to Tell Stories, Donations from Businesses, Sales
  27. 27. WEST END SNAPSHOTS
  28. 28. Each neighbor takes 3 photos
  29. 29. West End Celebration
  30. 30. EAST BAYSIDE
  31. 31. GOOD FENCES FOR GOOD NEIGHBORS
  32. 32. Maine Muslim Community Center Somali Poetry Hour
  33. 33. Recycled Materials, Old Fences
  34. 34. Colors represent high water lines for 2050
  35. 35. Portland Works: Municipal Leaders & Grassroots Community Leaders Workshops that combine civic issues & artmaking. • Poetry/History Ice Age On • Collage/Demographics • Storytelling/Crisis Scenarios • Singing/Leadership Followship Alfred Jacob, Sudanese Activist, AAW Partner
  36. 36. 2013-2015 HEARTS, MINDS & HOMES Gentrification & Homelessness All THE WAY HOME PROJECT Veterans Story Exchange Art At Work Holyoke: Civic Dialogue/Arts Workshops
  37. 37. THANKS TO ALL THE ARTISTS, UNIONS, CITY STAFF, RESIDENTS, ELECTED OFFICIALS, FUNDERS, AND ARTS ORGANIZATIONS, COMMUNITY GROUPS, AND ALL THE REST FOR TAKING THE RISK
  38. 38. Art insists we be vulnerable, honest, courageous & connected . Useful tools to sustain a government that works for all of us

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