Kibel Gallery Talk: Creative Placemaking in Context

October 29, 2018 -
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Kibel Gallery

Join two practitioners featured in the exhibition 10 Sectors, 10 Solutions: Artists and Community Change -- representing the sectors of Economic Development, Housing, and Transportation -- to learn how artists and arts organizations are developing the kinds of human-centered, contextual, adaptive solutions that can strengthen their communities from within.


Carlton Turner, Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (MS)
Cassie Meador, Dance Exchange (MD)

This conversation is hosted by exhibition curators Adam Erickson (ArtPlace America) and Ronit Eisenbach (University of Maryland).



Cassie Meador - Transportation

Project Name: New Hampshire Ave: This Is a Place To...

Organizer Name: Dance Exchange

Location: Takoma Park, MD

Geographic Context: Suburban

Artistic Discipline(s): Dance, Visual Arts



The Washington, DC suburb of Takoma Park is home to many new residents from India, El Salvador, China, Ethiopia, and other countries, a number of whom have opened businesses along New Hampshire Avenue, the six-lane highway that forms the city’s eastern boundary. While the highway is an important artery, its auto-centric design endangers those who walk along it or cross it (many of whom are new Americans) and discourages foot traffic to their businesses.


As part of its efforts to make New Hampshire Avenue more human-friendly, Takoma Park’s Housing and Community Development Department invited local dance company Dance Exchange to help them better understand users’ relationships to the thoroughfare. Employing dance, visual art, sculpture, photography, and storytelling in a suite of artistic experiences, the company posed six core questions to residents, community leaders, business owners, and city staff, including: “What brings us to this place?” “What traditions do we carry here?” “What do we hope for the future of the Avenue?”


Over the course of more than a year, a team of Dance Exchange artists, under the direction of the company's executive artistic director Cassie Meador, worked with Takoma Park residents to gather and incorporate local cultural feedback into its municipal planning processes, and to shift the narrative of a place so often defined by its transportation challenges.



Carlton Turner - Economic Development

Project Name: Sipp Culture

Organizer Name: Mississippi Center for Cultural Production

Location: Utica, MS

Geographic Context: Rural

Artistic Discipline(s): Film & Media, Other



For the past 20-plus years, multidisciplinary artist Carlton Turner has spearheaded local- and national-level projects that center ideas of manhood, race, art, culture, and social justice.


One of his current endeavors is leading an “economic revolution” in his home community of rural Utica, Mississippi: population 840. With the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, Turner is empowering local young people to become creative content producers (filmmakers, photographers, musicians) and take ownership of their own narratives and their community’s. As they learn to use the technological tools of the storytelling trades, they also learn about Utica’s history and their connections to it.


Sipp Culture also involves young participants in local agricultural production, showing them the art of nurturing community relationships through food, and demonstrating the present-day viability of age-old economic strategies rooted in land cultivation.


Turner says, “We have been told for so long that our communities are poor and have little or nothing of value to offer, so our children grow up looking forward to the day when they get the opportunity to leave. ... [Our work] is to recalibrate the measurements by which economic prosperity is calculated, and in the process, redefine wealth for our rural community.”  

View images from the talk HERE.

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