Creative Placemaking

Artistic and cultural activities strengthen a community, particularly when they reveal and celebrate its character and identity. At LISC, we support residents coming together to make social, physical and economic changes in their neighborhoods through the arts and culture. This is the definition of “creative placemaking,” which provides a vital spark that brings a neighborhood to life and transforms it into a place where things happen and people want to be.

Great Places 2020
Walkability. Public art. Vibrant commercial and community activity. These are some of the many calling cards of great places in great cities. Great Places 2020 is a visionary community development project to transform strategic places in Marion County neighborhoods into dynamic centers of culture, commerce and community. Creative Placemaking is a key factor in the initiative’s success.

Art installation in the West Michigan and King Great Places 2020 neighborhood.

Creative placemaking can mean renovating a historic theater or building affordable live-work space for artists. It can encompass transforming a weedy lot into a lively gathering place or an abandoned church into a community exhibition space. It can be organizing a dance festival or painting a mural to beautify a building. When the energy of the arts is a driving force, the possibilities are limitless.

  • Social Impact: Projects like these bring together people of diverse backgrounds. Working with artists can inspire residents to transform a neighborhood in ways that reflect their own sense of beauty, history and identity.
  • Physical Impact: Creative placemaking transforms the physical environment in ways that make it distinctive, recognizable as home to a unique culture. Renovating, repopulating, sprucing up and embellishing spaces can  nurture new connections and other types of revitalization.
  • Economic Impact: Creative placemaking supports the livelihood of local artists as cultural innovators and entrepreneurs. And it fosters the development of arts-related business clusters. Once enhanced with art and bustling with activity, a neighborhood draws more commerce and foot traffic, which in turn stimulate investment and creates jobs.

The LISC difference

We believe creative placemaking can and must be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, reflecting the hopes, dreams and desires of community members, including traditionally marginalized groups. It works best when embedded in a broader program of community development that addresses affordable housing, education, health and safety. LISC’s goal isn’t simply to sponsor art, but to leverage the unique power of the arts to help people build vibrant, healthy communities in the places they call home.

As part of our program, we:

  • Finance creative placemaking projects with loans, grants, equity investments and technical assistance.
  • Support local community groups to integrate the arts and culture into revitalization activities.
  • Measure and document community outcomes with tools to assess the impact of cultural and arts-based programs.
  • Share our knowledge about what works and how to implement high-impact, enduring creative projects.

Learn more about LISC’s national Creative Placemaking initiative

Upcoming Creative Placemaking Opportunities:

  • The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA), Englewood Community Development Corporation (ECDC) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) are partnering to support creative placemaking projects within the Near Eastside Great Places 2020 area. Successful projects will connect people together with the distinct place, history, stories or culture of the Near Eastside Great Place. Please click here for application information. Submissions are due Jan. 31.
  • The #LOVEat38th 5×5 event is a contest sponsored by LISC to foster community building and art-focused innovations in selected Great Places neighborhoods. For this 5×5, five finalists will be given 5 minutes and 5 slides to present an idea using the arts to benefit the 38th and Illinois Street neighborhood. The competition will take place at the Harrison Center for the Arts at 7 pm on Feb. 5. One winning project will receive $10,000 to make it happen. The winning project must be complete by June 15, 2016. Click here for more details.