Weeknote#9 UMI at Artplace America Grantee Summit 2014

Artplace America organized their yearly grantee summit with a new Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett on March 3rd and 4th at the Omni Hotel in Downtown LA. Being one of the grantees from last year, we were invited to participate. The conference was a jam-packed session involving stakeholders in the field of creative place-making from all over the country. These primarily included arts organizations and funders from the NEA, Knight and McKnight Foundation amongst others. All the sessions revolved around the role of arts in transforming neighborhoods, thereby creating thriving communities that are economically independent. Some organizations were focussed on bringing artists to their communities or just creatively addressing the needs to of the community and their neighborhoods. It was a great place to meet some people from these organizations to understand how our skills in experiential design would align with their mission of creative place-making. We were particularly impressed by all the community driven work that has taken place in the Sonoran Desert Retreat Center where the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) converted a dilapidated historic elementary school into a retreat center for artists. This was just one of many successful examples of places being transformed because of creative thinking and strategic partnerships.