What comes first, the chicken or the egg? In a rapidly growing era of new job creation, one could argue that it is often the chicken which comes first. At least as far as new job creation in the field of Creative Placemaking, we can make this case. The term “Creative Placemaking,” coined by former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, was used to define a longstanding practice of utilizing the arts and culture to help revitalize communities. Landesman became the “promoter-in-chief” of Creative Placemaking in 2010 by commissioning Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa to write a white paper for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design. The paper defined the term and was a seminal work in making a strong case for adoption of the practice.
According to the authors of the paper, “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.” Landesman wisely set forth to create a funding mechanism for the practice separate from dependence on federal funding. Instead, he brought together the leading executives from a dozen foundations Kresge, Surdna, Mellon, Irvine, Knight, McKnight, Bloomberg and others – to partner in this pioneering work. Luis Ubiñas of the Ford Foundation was the first chair to drive the collaboration, resulting in the creation of ArtPlace America.
From our nation’s largest urban centers to the most quaint hamlets, in these relatively short eight years, the scope and practice of Creative Placemaking has grown faster and, I imagine, far beyond what even the early dreamers could have envisioned. Over the years, as the field has spread across sectors of planning, engineering, technology, health, sustainability, governance, community and economic development, and further, the practice has been redefined and refined.
Professionals from all of these sectors are locally engaged in one or more aspects of their creative community planning primarily through volunteerism, as jobbers or within the capacity of their current job mandates. Yet their resumes do not reflect recognition of professional expertise in the field. Perhaps in a CV, one can expand on a description of their experience, but in the format of a resume, one cannot identify themselves as “Creative Placemaker” without accompanying professional certification.
Why is “now” the right time for an institution of higher education to offer this professional Creative Placemaker certification? Simply put, recent job openings describe