child standing on box dancing

Herberger Institute receives $400K grant for creative placemaking

By

Deborah Sussman

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has been awarded $400,000 from ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) to support its work in building the field of creative placemaking toward furthering healthy, equitable and sustainable communities. ArtPlace is a collaboration of foundations, federal agencies and financial institutions that exists to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development.

The six other recipients are the Maryland Institute College of Art, The New School, the University of Florida, the University of Michigan, the University of New Mexico and the University of Oregon.

“Each of these institutions is working to bring traditionally siloed bodies of knowledge and ways of teaching together,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie Bennett. “We are thrilled to support these institutions in a way that works for their educational philosophies to further the work of artists as allies in creating healthy, equitable and sustainable communities." 

Creative placemaking already shows up in a variety of higher education settings — including in arts and design schools, in public policy schools and in architecture and urban planning programs — and the work is called by many different names, including social and civic practice art, art and public action, and arts and communities. Current and next-generation practitioners do and will hold a variety of degrees as they work toward equitable, sustainable and healthy community outcomes using arts and culture strategies.

“ASU's Herberger Institute strives to push programs, teaching and partnerships that center artists and designers as change agents for public good,” said Jen Cole, director of the Herberger Institute’s National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation. “This investment will deepen our existing work and collaborations to ensure that art and design are vital in healthy, equitable communities, and we are grateful to ArtPlace for their partnership and support.”

The funding was awarded to ASU to create concentrations and minors for multiple degree programs, as well as the case studies, learning modules and original research that will be required.The institute is further integrating creative placemaking into degree programs and other initiatives, enlisting partners across the university. The Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities (SCPEC), a collaboration between Herberger Institute and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions led by Institute Professor Maria Rosario Jackson, will create teaching resources, field-facing scholarship and pedagogical support tools to advance equitable and ethical creative placemaking practice.

Following a scan that revealed over 70 institutions of higher education that were offering creative placemaking programs — including those in public action, social practice, public art, community art, social change and similar programs — an invitation to propose work that integrates creative placemaking into higher education was extended to 24 institutions last spring.

Investments for this grant program were chosen following a rigorous review process, including a four-person team of non-ArtPlace advisers. In addition to a dedicated commitment to a vision of equitable, sustainable and healthy communities, ArtPlace considered the leadership at each institution and their commitment to further embedding this work deeply within the organization. ArtPlace also committed to finding institutions that embrace education for all learners, at all stages of work and learning, and that would partner to strengthen the creative placemaking field, ethical engagement with communities struggling with the inherent inequities of education, arts and community planning and development and an equitable approach to research and evaluation.

Top photo: ASU students designed Pause + Play in collaboration with the community. Photo by Nicole Neri/ASU Now