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State of the Arts: Akron’s Kenmore neighborhood reimagined

Mark Arehart of Ohio Public Radio:

“A new coloring book features public spaces in one Akron neighborhood. It’s a mural project called the Kenmore Imagineer and residents hope it will add a splash of color to Kenmore Boulevard.

The mural project, Kenmore, Ohio, will appear along Kenmore Boulevard.

“Kenmore gets a bad rap outside of Kenmore, and even sometimes inside of Kenmore,” Tina Boyes, executive director of the Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, said.

It was once its own city, with a bustling downtown full of shops and theaters and even streetcars running along Kenmore Boulevard.

“I think people have seen the decline of the neighborhood due to disinvestment of industry,” she said.

But she believes the neighborhood is coming back. It has several music venues, a barber shop, guitar shops, comic book stores and even an indoor skate park.

“Kenmore has so much life and so much vibrancy that you don’t see on the surface,” she said.”

Read more (and listen to the story) from Ohio Public Radio that talks about exciting work in the Akron neighborhood and one of OCDCA’s newer members Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance.


Place Matters gives residents tools to transform their communities

Hillary Copsey of Soapbox Cincinnati:

“Place Matters has spent the last decade giving residents the tools they need to transform their communities because they know the places we call home matter.

Place Matters tackles neighborhood health and safety through creative placemaking, often using art and events to bring people together. An example is Price Hill Will, the lead Place Matters agency in Price Hill on Cincinnati’s west side, which has successfully united its diverse families around MYCincinnati, a free youth orchestra program. The orchestra and its home, the Warsaw Avenue Firehouse, are the center of family life for every part of the community — new residents, the growing Hispanic community and longtime white and black residents. Some parents even have started learning instruments alongside their children, and other parents have formed clubs after meeting at MYCincinnati rehearsals and concerts.
“Price Hill does community engagement right,” says Tamara Thrasher, whose two children participate in MYCincinnati.

Whether through programs like MYCincinnati or community events like the Five Points Alley clean-up and mural painting in Walnut Hills, Place Matters initiatives have proven over the past 10 years that good things happen when you bring residents together to celebrate their community.

“It’s that one-on-one relationship,” says Walnut Hills resident Kathryne Gardette. “You see these people. You may not know what street they live on. You may not know all the details of their day. You may not even know their name. But you cross them in the neighborhood, and you can celebrate being neighbors.”

Place Matters also gives community leaders a chance to highlight positive aspects of their neighborhood. When a community needs improvement — if houses are vacant or crime is visible — residents tend toward complaints when they get together. Events and programs that take advantage of a neighborhood’s assets change that.

“It gives us the opportunity to have a different kind of conversation about Avondale,” says Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation board member Henry Brown.”

Read the whole story here.


Creative Placemaking Ohio

Wow…we finally completed the second workshop of Creative Placemaking Ohio. More will be written on all of that later – what we learned, what we did, etc.

Michael Seiler leads a tour explaining the placemaking and development work occurring in downtown Zanesville.

In the meantime, there is lots of fun stuff to share! WHIZ News came out to Seilers’ Studio and Gallery yesterday in Zanesville to cover our workshop. Watch that feature. Thanks, Karysa Kent and WHIZ for covering the event!

More information about the event in general:

Arts, community development, and other organizations and municipalities gathered at Seilers’ Studio & Gallery in Zanesville for the Creative Placemaking Ohio workshop on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Creative placemaking is a strategy to revitalize communities and local economies by intentionally leveraging the power of arts, culture and creativity.

The Creative Placemaking Ohio project is a statewide collaboration between Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts, with local partners Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory and Buckeye Hills Regional Council, and is one of three projects selected nationwide for the Creative Placemaking Immersion Program, which is funded by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) in partnership with Americans for the Arts through an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Groups share perceived notions between artists and community developers including how they may approach commercial development or how they make work together.

“Nationally, NACEDA has brought together an innovative partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the arts because we all believe that when community developers and artists come together, prosperity and the community spirit grow,” says Frank Woodruff, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. “By hosting Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ Creative Placemaking Ohio, Zanesville and Southeast Ohio are showing a strong commitment to building partnerships that support creative and economic growth.”

Key components of the workshop are overviews of community development, art, and creative placemaking; local project tours; cross-sector stereotype conversations; and arts-based brainstorming sessions. This workshop will show what is possible when community developers and artists work together in the community.

“Every dollar invested by the National Endowment for the Arts leverages an additional $9 in economic activity,” says Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory’s Creative Placemaking Ohio commitment demonstrates the organization’s commitment to local economic vitality and economic impact, but also recognizes the arts as a key vehicle for engaging citizenry within a community.”

Stay tuned for findings from the project!


Who are your creative placemaking partners?

Join Ohio CDC Association, Ohio Citizens for the Arts and other partners for Creative Placemaking Ohio, April 11 in Hamilton & May 18 in Zanesville.

We all know that, when done right, creative placemaking can foster collective community revitalization by uniting partners from a multitude of sectors to enact community change. Across Ohio, groups are already working on this and you can join in! Meet these new allies at one of the Creative Placemaking Ohio workshops.

There will be a healthy mix of community development practitioners, arts organizations, and artists.

The day will entail:

  • Primers on creative placemaking
  • Project tours
  • Ample conversation to break down pre-conceived notions on creative placemaking
  • Tangible problem solving to practice what you learn
  • Networking with cross-sector peers and subject experts


Creative Placemaking Ohio – Hamilton
Fitton Center for Creative Arts
101 S. Monument Avenue
Hamilton, OH 45011
April 11, 2017
9:30am – 3:30pm
Register Here!


Creative Placemaking Ohio – Zanesville
Seilers’ Studio and Gallery
129 S. 7th Street
Zanesville, OH 43701
May 18, 2017
9:30am – 3:30pm
Register Here!

Free to attend. Lunch is provided. Reimbursable travel scholarships are available to those traveling more than 50 miles one way.


Time Activity
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Registration, Coffee, & Networking
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Creative Placemaking, Community Development, and Art Overview
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Tours
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Stereotype Conversation
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Conversation on Community Engagement & Equity
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Real World Exercise Case Study
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Recap & Resources

The Creative Placemaking Ohio Project is a collaboration funded by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations and Americans for the Arts.Together we can strengthen the places we call home.


This month’s walk all over Waterloo may be the most exciting one yet (more on Collinwood)

More and more is being written on the Collinwood neighborhood in Cleveland. Last month, Josh Usmani of Cleveland Scene wrote more on the arts walk.

“Friday’s event marks the start of voting on Northeast Shores’ Ballot Box Project, Ohio’s first “participatory budgeting” project, which allows the community to actively participate in efforts to improve their neighborhood. Thanks to $120,000 from ArtPlace for arts placemaking efforts, no public money is at stake. All residents and employees of Ward 8 are eligible to vote for their favorite project.

“We are so proud to be launching this movement and cannot wait to see the positive impact it will have on our community,” says Brian Friedman, executive director of Northeast Shores Development Corporation.

“We hope to see everyone at the parade to celebrate and support the Collinwood neighborhood! Nothing like this has ever been done in Cleveland. This is really a fantastic opportunity for the public to have a direct impact on their community, and to support local artists, the community, and make a difference.””

Read more here.


Gordon Square Arts District looks to future after completing $30m capital campaign

Photo by Bob Perkoski

Photo by Bob Perkoski

It’s no secret that the amenities of a community–its parks, safety, cleanliness, and other institutions, improve the neighborhood. It brings people out, both from within the neighborhood and from outside which in turn spurs that community’s economy. Arts have long been a thing that bring people out and together. Cleveland is getting a fantastic reputation for this in several of its neighborhoods, but especially Detroit Shoreway and the Gordon Square Arts District with its 40 year history.

Gordon Square Arts District looks to future after completing $30m capital campaign.