By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP
Arts Build Communities Director
About 150 people at the intersection of arts and public affairs came to the Create A Place: Arts Build Communities conference on April 4 for good conversation and ideas. They were mayors and foundation program officers, artists and urban planners, economic development professionals and nonprofit executives. Most came from New Jersey, but some from Connecticut and New York, and three from Louisiana -- including the state's Assistant Secretary of State for culture and tourism.
|Newark Mayor Cory Booker addressing full room at Create A Place conference. Photo by Rewa Marathe|
|Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Photo by Rewa Marathe|
"Art is not an afterthought, it's not dessert or icing on a cake..." Mayor Booker said. "We have to elevate art for it is how we express our individuality, authenticity, [our] divinity."*
In her remarks, Coletta said, "we are out to prove to the nonbelievers – the people who don’t fund art, maybe don’t even care about art -- that creative placemaking makes a difference to the success of communities."
|Carol Coletta speaking at conference.|
The conference was so good that dozens of people stayed at the afternoon reception after the conference had ended. Besides new ideas and perhaps some new friendships, participants also took home a creative placemaking resource guide with information about trends in New Jersey's creative sector. The guide included, among other things, an analysis of trends in each county in New Jersey over the past decade, and Creative Placemaking: Integrating community, cultural and economic development.
This was the second annual creative placemaking conference by Arts Build Communities, and the first time it was offered at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University's Newark campus. The 2012 conference was bigger and better -- more people and more sessions -- than last year's. It was covered by the Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper; and GraphicDesign.com. Americans for the Arts, the nation's premiere arts advocacy organization, noted the conference to their constituents.
Create A Place was developed by a great team of ABC Board members, staff from the Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts and Humanities. Leading the effort were ABC Board members Stuart Koperweis, Karen Pinzolo and Suzanne Ishee, with support from Max Azzarello and Leonardo Vazquez from the ABC staff; as well as Isabel Nazario, Rutgers University's Associate Vice President for Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts and Humanities and from her office, Richard Rodriguez, Vilma Perez and Glenda Daniel. A number of students from Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and from the New Jersey Institute of Technology also provided several hours of assistance before and during the conference. They are: Jarrod Grim, Emily Manz, David Koch, Tiffany Pryce, Nicola Mammes, Jane Wolterding, Jeffy Vorasitthanukul, Peter Besada, Carolyn Worstell, Osman Beretey, and Rewa Marathe.
The work of Arts Build Communities is made possible in part by the generous support of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
Learn more about the work of Arts Build Communities.
*Thanks to Susan Schear of Artisin, LLC for taking and providing notes from Mayor Booker's presentation.
Photos by Leonardo Vazquez, unless otherwise noted.