/ Last Modified August 1, 2013

Creativity Can Unify Communities

A look into 'placemaking," a concept that believes art can create a sense of belonging in a community.

Story by Mary Olivas

Intersection for the Arts, based in San Francisco, and the Tucson Pima Arts Council believe that art can enliven a community and create a sense of belonging through a concept called creative placemaking.

Deborah Cullinan, Intersection for the Arts’ executive director, said that public arts, creativity and community-based workshops help bring a community together.

“Without creativity, activation through art and art making, we miss many levers and many layers of how we connect together,” Cullinan said. “We need broad and radical partnerships…in order to really build things.”

Roberto Bedoya, executive director of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, said a sense of belonging and connection is the center of what creative placemaking is about.

“Ultimately, (it’s) to sort of invest in building social cohesion, which is essential to a healthy community,” Bedoya said.

Entering its fifth year, the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s People Land Arts Culture Engagement (PLACE) initiative is the cornerstone of its creative placemaking in southern Arizona. The PLACE initiative provides grants to support active engagement and belonging in the community.

“It’s all about building these bridges and this sense that we are all connected,” Bedoya said. “We don’t have to be in silos.”

Mary Olivas is a UA journalism student and an intern at Arizona Public Media.

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