Defining Community

How do you define community? This is one of the questions that we asked our Creative Community Fellows, and you, to answer and discuss over this week. For many, the definition included something shared, whatever that may be: a hometown, working in a certain art form or even a fleeting moment of standing at the same intersection together. Laurelin Kruse and Rachel Reynolds Luster certainly see community this way: "RACHEL: I tend to always return to Wendell Berry's definition of community, 'a people and their place.' I feel that the two are … [Read more...]

Casey Caldwell & Amanda Thompson: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Casey Caldwell is a director, writer, actor and artistic director of Ratatat Theater Group. Amanda Thompson is the Planning Director for Decatur, Georgia and a choreographer & performer for Zoetic Dance Ensemble. Both are Creative Community Fellows. The following was co-written by them.   "An Unexpected Encounter" A short conversation about Creative Placemaking CASEY (curly hair, bright eyes, gets brainy-excited) AMANDA (red hair, … [Read more...]

Heidi Wright & Jessica Moore: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Jessica Moore and Heidi Wright are members of our Creative Community Fellows program. Jessica is an arts organizer and curator working with artists to produce new work while creating access to art through community partnerships. Heidi is a native of Mesa, Arizona, a teacher and violinist with Tetra String Quartet. The following is a recounting of what they learned from their conversation.   Summary Thoughts By Jessica Moore Big Ideas from Tetra String … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking: 35,000-Foot View

We asked our Creative Community Fellows to talk about creative placemaking and the work they are currently doing in their communities. There were a lot of similar opinions that arose out of these conversations, but also some disconnect, disagreement and debate of what these terms and roles mean. Throughout the week we’re going to be showing you these conversations and taking a closer look at the results that really got us thinking. Take a look at the outcomes of these conversations overall: How do you define “community?” How do you see your … [Read more...]

Justina Crawford-Williams & Christina Oi Ying Nip: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Justina Crawford-Williams is a musician, educator and arts administrator dedicated to mentoring others to realize their potential. Christina Oi Ying Nip is passionate about community-based public health work who's happiest working in, with and for her community. Both are Creative Community Fellows. Creative/cultural work makes communities thrive. Creative/cultural work makes communities connect. Creative/cultural work makes communities healthy.   Summary … [Read more...]

Laurelin Kruse & Rachel Reynolds Luster: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Laurelin Kruse and Rachel Reynolds Luster are members of our Creative Community Fellows program. Laurelin is an artist, entrepreneur and founder of the Mobile Museum of American Artifacts.  Rachel is a folklorist, artist and organizer working to promote community renewal and sufficiency in the Missouri Ozarks. The following is a reconstruction of a conversation that took place over a series of phone calls and e-mails. Laurelin: Well, I guess we should start … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking & Cultural Entrepreneurship

One of the perks of working at NAS is the number of incredible leaders we get to talk with on a regular basis. The last several weeks have been no exception. In fact, we've been talking and listening quite a bit. Part of the recruitment for our Creative Community Fellows program has been a series of conversations with young cultural entrepreneurs about their work and their communities. It's been an eye-opening experience. Next week we will begin to share some of the stories of these amazing leaders. Today we want to share what we learned from … [Read more...]

Building Communities, Building the Field

At NAS, we have seen many examples of what happens when arts and culture works to create positive change in the social, economic and cultural well-being of communities in the US and around the world. This work has been going on for many years, and now is coalescing in the range of approaches and attitudes as creative placemaking – a field of imaginative ideas, committed practice and dedicated practitioners. In many communities, webs of organizations and individuals work in this way, integrated into the heart/soul of their neighborhoods, … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking: A Conversation


Let’s talk about creative placemaking. In those five words, I’ve probably lost the attention of 40% of our field. It’s likely about 25% are now busy rolling their eyes. Another 15% might be asking, “What is left to discuss?” Yes, in many ways creative placemaking has become an often-cited cultural sector panacea. And yes, it’s a great phrase for grant proposals (and who doesn’t relish a good grant proposal?). But seriously, let’s talk about creative placemaking. Forget for a moment the capital C, capital P proper noun. Let’s talk about … [Read more...]

The Young and the Restless: Taking the Right Career Path

As an emerging leader, the road to professional success seems long and confusing. We experience the daily tension of being where we are with where we want to be. Particularly in a recovering economy, more young leaders are in jobs where they feel over-qualified and underpaid. It can be frustrating, but are we really as far off as we feel? If you’re like me, you can envision the perfect career in your mind, but you face the challenge of making it a reality. Or your frustration may come from not knowing what you want to do, but knowing you … [Read more...]