LISC Awards $25,000 to the Arts Commission of Toledo to advance creative placemaking efforts

On October 22, 2015, Toledo LISC announced that the Arts Commission of Toledo is among 5 pilot cities awarded a $25,000 grant to advance creative placemaking efforts. The emerging field of creative placemaking leverages art, culture and creativity as catalysts for neighborhood transformation and place-based economic development. “For years, the Arts of Commission of Toledo has been driving the involvement of Toledo’s residents in place-based initiatives through the arts. This award allows LISC to support the Arts Commission and neighborhood residents coming together to make social, physical and economic changes in their community through the arts and culture,” according to Kim Cutcher, Executive Director of Toledo Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

With the support of the Kresge Foundation, LISC has launched a national effort to drive millions of dollars into arts-related business and cultural activities that will help transform distressed neighborhoods into safe, vibrant places of economic opportunity. The Kresge grant will initially support creative placemaking in just five of LISC’s 30 local program areas—places where arts-related community development work is already underway but needs support to grow. That experience will form the basis for developing best practices that can help direct efforts in other places, and funding will expand to new communities across the country.

Under the local pilot initiative, graduates from the Young Artists at Work program (YAAW) residing in the Junction and ONE Village Neighborhoods will engage their fellow neighbors in creating and implementing placed-based projects that reflect the culture and creativity of their respective communities.  Marc Folk, Executive Director of the Arts Commission explained, “Through the assistance and guidance of the YAAW graduates residing in these target neighborhoods, we will provide the support needed to develop place-based strategies according to the neighborhoods’ unique assets and needs.”

LISC’s creative placemaking work helps forge partnerships in our communities designed to revitalize the community’s physical landscape in culturally relevant ways that support the formation of arts and cultural economic clusters. Physical transformation may entail repurposing crumbling historic buildings into bustling centers for arts-related uses, including production-makers space, live-work lofts, galleries, arts education centers or theaters. These arts-related projects in turn trigger other commercial activities, such as dining and shopping, which attract new businesses and jobs. These projects not only help transform the physical environment, they also support economic growth and strengthen a sense of community identity, ownership and pride.

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