A Few Words From Debbie–Placemaking Summit 2016 is on Its Way!

A Few Words From Debbie

Placemaking Summit 2016 on Its Way! 

When the Arts Council’s board began conversing in 2013 about our organizational direction, we stated unequivocally that we would take the lead as ambassadors of creative placemaking in metro Lansing.  Our first endeavor was to produce an event where ideas were shared and discussions flourished around both the successes and challenges of using the arts as a driver of community and economic development.  

It is important to note that the concept of creative placemaking is not “owned” by the Arts Council but by all who live, work and visit this region, and we are counting on them to step up to the plate in their own communities to implement projects. Last year’s Creative Placemaking Summit was a huge success, as were the projects implemented afterwards. It goes without saying, that we are at it again…

On Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, the Arts Council will present our 2nd Annual Creative Placemaking Summit at the Lansing Center. This full-day event will engage 400 individuals who represent a cross-sector of our community (elected and appointed officials, developers, artists, arts activists, arts administrators, economic development professionals, community and neighborhood leaders, urban planners, business leaders and others)  and will provide a place to exchange ideas, seek advice and make connections around placemaking.

We will present cutting-edge work from statewide and national placemaking researchers and practitioners that will result in tangible methods by which we can advance placemaking in the capital region. Our goal is to create a collective vision of specific initiatives that will help make greater Lansing more vibrant, creative and dynamic for residents, visitors and those who work and play here.  

The Creative Placemaking Summit is led by a 30-member steering committee that represents the thought-leaders and change-agents in our community. Their insight, knowledge and perspective in the development of the Summit allows us to continue exploration of the role of the arts in creating and sustaining vibrant, thriving and equitable public spaces.  

The one-day summit will deliver a local, statewide and national perspective on placemaking through a keynote address by nationally renowned author, Katherine Loflin, and ArtPlace America executive director, Jamie Bennett. It will also include panel and TEDx-style presentations, round-table discussions and individual workshops. Those that attend will find focused and inspirational lessons on best practices;­­­­­­­­­­­­ real, cutting-edge examples of how on-the-ground practitioners are addressing the most pressing community issues; measuring impact; finding funding and more.

To sustain momentum beyond the actual day of the Summit, we will encourage regional networks of placemakers to attend together. When we mold and shape many ideas to make our communities better places to live, work and visit, we can achieve something greater than the sum of its parts.  

Today, the Arts Council is one of the strongest advocates of a creative placemaking movement that uses arts and culture as the driver for neighborhood revitalization and is essential to sustained community and economic growth. As my friend Fred Kent from Project for Public Spaces states, “You have to turn it upside down to get it right side up before we can go from adequate to extraordinary.”  We have much work to do.

We hope you will be able to attend the 2016 Creative Placemaking Summit and join the growing group of Lansing Placemakers.  


Deborah E. Mikula

Executive Director