The Kresge Foundation has awarded $400,000 to PUSH Buffalo to advance community development through arts and culture. The grant is part of a three-year, $8-million-dollar national program by the foundation to integrate Creative Placemaking into community organizations and, in turn, neighborhoods.
"Creative Placemaking" is a term coined by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2010 for shaping the physical and social character of a neighborhood from the participation of artists on planning and design teams at the beginning of development projects. The goal is more creative and equitable results, especially in low-income neighborhoods, communities of color and among immigrant populations.
The foundation's new Creative Placemaking initiative is called Building and Supporting Equitable Development (BASED).
“While there are a substantial number of community development organizations that have successfully integrated Creative Placemaking into their broader neighborhood strategies, many of these organizations are facing staffing, policy and funding hurdles,” said Regina Smith, managing director of the Kresge Arts & Culture Program. “BASED aims to strengthen these organizations and expand efforts that integrate Creative Placemaking into place-based work happening in cities across the United States.”
The initiative will be implemented in two phases. PUSH Buffalo and 10 other organizations in New York and eight other states have been selected for 2019. Another nine organizations will be selected in 2020.
“PUSH Buffalo is grateful to the Kresge Foundation Arts and Culture program for this bold initiative and to be in the first cohort of the BASED awardees," said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, executive director of PUSH Buffalo. "We are also excited to partner with Ujima Company and Buffalo Arts Studio, who are part of the Buffalo team to advance community development through arts and culture in ways that deepen the impact of our community engagement, racial equity and inclusion.”
An example of Creative Placemaking in Buffalo is the Artspace Lofts, located on Main Street downtown. The former electric auto factory was long vacant before Richard Florida gained support for converting it into an artist live-work development that could help inspire the surrounding neighborhood. The 60 lofts were opened in 2007.