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Meet your Faculty for NJIT’s Certificate in Creative Placemaking Course of Study



Core Faculty

Suzanne Ishee, President, Center for Creative Placemaking, is a veteran of the NY theatre who is recognized as an Emmy and Drama Desk award winning producer, actor and playwright.  She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and Manhattan School of Music and several post-graduate certifications from the Commercial Theatre Institute and NJ Real Estate Commission and was for two seasons the Leonard Bernstein Fellow at the Tanglewood Institute.  She is an adjunct professor at NJIT teaching in the Theatre Arts and Technology program.


Stuart Z KoperweisPresident, Economic Development Strategists and Vice-President, Center for Creative Placemaking is one of the premier individuals in the economic development and revitalization field in New Jersey.  He is known as one of the foremost authorities in the State of New Jersey and the New York metropolitan region on the effective workings of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).   Mr. Koperweis holds degrees from Boston University and American University.


Dr. Colette Santasieri  possesses over 30 years of practical and applied urban, environmental, transportation, and land use planning experience in both the public and private sectors.  She has extensive experience and expertise in strategic planning; community visioning for redevelopment; transit oriented development; sustainable planning and design of communities, properties, and transportation systems; brownfields redevelopment; and identifying and analyzing a project’s impact on socio-economic, natural, and man-made settings as well as on environmental justice communities.  Dr. Santasieri holds diverse, yet complementary degrees in Urban Systems (PhD), Civil Engineering (MS), and Environmental Planning and Design (BS) providing her a well-rounded perspective in addressing the challenges and opportunities of creating sustainable and resilient communities and regions.  She is an executive with NJIT’s NJ Innovation Institute.


Darius Sollohub is a Faculty Member in the College of Architecture and Design at NJIT teaching architecture and planning courses.  He conducts funded research, and lectures and publishes on various topics. He previously served as School of Architecture Director and as Infrastructure Planning Program Director. His research addresses design pedagogy, affordable housing, transit-oriented development, parking, earth art and transportation systems. Professor Sollohub has received funding from the NEA, HUD, USDOT and many New Jersey State agencies. He has collaborated extensively with the Regional Plan Association, serving on its Transportation and New Jersey Committees. Darius is currently completing the book: Millennials in Architecture: Design and Disruption.


Roger Smith is Design Director for Gensler in Morristown.  His expertise lies in project work in the fields of office development, mixed-use, hospitality and master planning, He has 30 years of industry experience, with previous roles including senior designer and associate principal at other global architecture firms working on projects in locations such as Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  Mr. Smith earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.  He is an adjunct professor at NJIT teaching MIP Studio.


Tom Dallesio is President, CEO and Publisher of Next City. He is a nationally recognized urban planner, nonprofit leader and educator with more than three decades of experience in city and regional planning, public policy, and nonprofit management. He was founding director of the Center for Resilient Design at NJIT and remains as an adjunct professor teaching land use and infrastructure planning. Mr. Dallesio served as the executive director of Leadership New Jersey, a statewide program strengthening civic leadership through experiential learning.  He directed RPA’s New Jersey office and managed six New Jersey Mayors’ Institutes on Community Design, and promoted affordable housing, transportation finance and property tax reforms.


Jean Leonard is Director of Marketing for the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and has over 12 years experience in marketing, including promotions, budgeting, media planning and placement, social media, client services and project management.  Formerly, she was Senior Marketing Manager for Serino Coyne, the largest full service advertising and marketing agency in the live entertainment industry.  At SC, her major clients included Disney Theatricals and the national touring companies of Wicked and Jersey Boys.    Mrs. Leonard holds a B.A. in Journalism and Dramatic Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University.


Thomas Motyka is Senior Executive Director of Smart Cities Innovation at NJ Innovation Institute working closely with developers, public officials and industry to create an open test-bed where new technologies to solve urban problems can be deployed and evaluated. These include “Smart City Internet of Things” projects for the integration of traffic, transit, parking, public safety, healthcare delivery and infrastructure resiliency into a cohesive data-driven system designed to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to our urban centers..  Mr. Motyka formerly served as director of sales for IBM’s Global Technology Services Business Unit.  He holds an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.S. in electric engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

In addition, other dynamic guest speakers will bring their expertise into the classroom throughout the course schedule.  Class size is limited, so don’t miss out.

  Register today!


Jersey City Cultural Leader: Public Art Specialist, Duda Penteado

After settling in Jersey City from Brazil, Duda Penteado’s story is a very personal one. As a fine artist living in Jersey City during the 9/11 attacks and America in it’s aftermath, Duda made a large body of celebrated works of art reflecting these events. From museum installations to memorials made of actual steel from the Twin Towers, his art looks at this difficult piece of history through the eye of someone who experienced it from a very close distance. Learn about his process and why Jersey City is his home.

CCP to present workshop on Creative Placemaking and Economic Impact

As the final in a 3-part series of free workshops on Creative Placemaking hosted by North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and Together North Jersey Institute,  the Center for Creative Placemaking will focus on practices and policies undertaken by New Jersey municipalities.  This workshop is designed for municipal officials and leaders.

For further details and registration please follow this link.


Tourism, Transportation and Workforce Development


An unusual gathering takes place next Wednesday, March 23rd at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the New Jersey Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Talent Network (NJRHT) have combined forces to create a symposium on Continue reading Tourism, Transportation and Workforce Development


Join CCP at the NJ Land Conservation Rally, March 18th!


The annual conference presented by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation is just around the corner.  CCP is delighted to be presenting a Creative Placemaking workshop at this 20th Annual NJ Land Conservation Rally which focuses on”The Future of Land Conservation, the Next 20 Years.”

The CCP workshop, “Creative Placemaking: Connecting People, Land and Nature,” takes place during the afternoon where we will offer a fast-paced, informative and interactive session discussing the Creative Placemaking process:  what it is, how and why it works, and how it supports smart growth both economically and institutionally. We will also have a daylong presence in the Exhibit Hall.

Whether you  are a land conservation professional, government official, an educator, an environmental consultant, trail blazer, non-profit professional, community activist or a passionate steward of the land,  The NJ Land Conservation Rally offers 31 educational sessions from which to choose, an exciting keynote speaker and tremendous networking and information gathering opportunities in the Exhibit Hall.

You can learn more and register here!  We look forward to seeing you at the NJ Land Conservation Rally, 2016!






NJ Artists “Front and Center-Leading the Way”

Barnegat Lighthouse
Barnegat Lighthouse

Former National Endowment for the Arts Chair Rocco Landesmann is widely reputed for having fostered Creative Placemaking in the United States.  This community and economic planning approach had been practiced in Europe and Canada for years previous and Chairman Landesmann recognized its success in creating vibrant, re-vitalized, sustainable communities through intentional integration of arts and culture.  Creative Placemaking remains a cornerstone in the administration of the NEA’s current chair, Jane Chu.

Earlier this year, Jason Schupbach, NEA’s Director of Design, penned an article about the “Next 50 years of Creative Placemaking” (well worth a complete read).  In this post, Director Schupbach said that it is important “to find ways to have art-based community development practices embedded within non-arts sectors, and help the arts sector better understand community development.”

He goes on to state: “We know very few city-planning programs that teach arts-based strategies to students in the same way that they teach students the basics of transit, economic development, and real estate.  You could say the same for artists and arts managers–how many were taught anything about community organizing and engagement and/or urban and rural planning basics in school?”

Last Fall, the Center for Creative Placemaking convened a series of Think Tank sessions with NJ professional artists to explore this very idea.  We were fortunate to have the enthusiastic input of a diverse group of really smart-thinking artists from around our state:

Gianfranco Archimeded, Photographer and Director of Historic Preservation and cultural resource management for the City of Paterson

Nai-ni Chen, Founder/Director/Choreographer, Naini Chen Dance Company—Ft. Lee,

Susan Pelligrini, Video Artist—Producer/Director, Synergy Productions–Asbury Park

Maxine Roach, Grammy Award Winning Jazz Musician and violist, Current Broadway Orchestra contractor—Bloomfield

Olivia Robbins, Recent Architecture Major graduate from Howard University. Theatrical set designer and Americorps “Artist Liaison” for Valley Arts in Orange.

Elizabeth Sowell-Zak, Award winning Painter, Speaker, Artist Organizer—Long Branch

Larry Tobias, Theatre Artist Actor, Musician, Composer, Director, Writer, Producer—Montclair

Our ultimate goal was to make a case for professional artists as Creative Placemakers and to explore the training needed to qualify these individuals. We were pleased to see that we had been a bit “ahead of the curve” by the time Director Shupbach’s article appeared.

The purpose of the “Creative Placemaker Artists Forum” is to open our “think tank” conversations to a wider group of NJ artists.  We hope you will be able to join us on the evening of April 13th, from 6-9 PM at NJIT as we intend for our NJ artists to continue to be out in front in this professional development planning.

Creative Placemaker Artists Forum


Employed to be an Artist? It’s possible….