NEA Chairman discusses creative placemaking in Minneapolis

Hennepin Avenue is going to be getting a makeover, and the National Endowment for the Arts wants to make sure it’s a good one.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman will be in town this Friday for a roundtable discussion that includes Mayor R.T. Rybak and other city leaders, and will be moderated by Tom Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. The topic is “Creative Placemaking.”

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Hennepin Avenue at night

Image: wikimedia commons

Minnesota economist Ann Markusen defines creative placemaking this way:

In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.

In the case of Hennepin Avenue, there is talk of creating a “cultural corridor” that leads from the Walker Art Center’s sculpture garden all the way through downtown to the river.

The event is hosted by the Hennepin Theatre Trust (the owners of several theaters along Hennepin Ave), which received an Our Town grant from the NEA to lead the planning process for revitalizing the main artery in downtown Minneapolis.

The roundtable discussion takes place from 1:30 – 3pm on Friday at Minneapolis Central Library’s Pohlad Hall.

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