California Arts Council

State of California

Grant Detail

State of the Art Transportation Training Opportunity
Transportation for America

With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Transportation For America (T4A), a program of Smart Growth America, has partnered with Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to provide workshops for three selected communities to help integrate artistic and transportation efforts and improve
collaboration between local arts agencies and departments of transportation to better address transportation challenges.

The State of the Art Transportation Training Opportunity will help local transportation agencies learn bout creative placemaking and gain hands-on assistance in how to use arts and culture to build local capacity, expand transportation opportunities, and create projects that more fully serve the needs of these communities.

T4A believes that incorporating participatory artistic and cultural practice into the planning and building of transportation projects results in projects that better serve local communities. This new approach avoids doing transportation work to or on communities. Instead, it cultivates a posture of investing in transportation in partnership with communities, raises up local champions, builds local capacity, and deflects community culture and values. It transforms stale, often poorly attended community meetings with a much more engaging approach. There's been a surge of interest around the country in this approach, as communities have developed strategies to be more responsive to their transportation needs and the unique cultural characteristics of place, while striving to answer the following questions:

  • How can cities and regions turn small- and large-scale transportation investments planned for diverse and rapidly changing areas into assets that improve community stability, economic opportunity, and social equity?
  • How can these transportation investments transform neighborhoods in a positive way by building social capital, supporting local businesses, and celebrating the stories, cultural history, and diversity of existing residents rather than displacing them?

Successfully implementing creative placemaking strategies could help answer these important questions by sparking public engagement that facilitates the difficult - but necessary - conversations required to create better projects that more fully serve the needs of these communities, and reflect
what makes them unique in the first place.

T4A has been working to educate and support our members on the benefits of a community- and cultural-focused approach by highlighting exemplary projects and funding pilot projects around the country. In 2016, we launched The Scenic Route, our guide to creative placemaking in transportation. In
partnership with ArtPlace America, we published Arts, Culture, and Transportation: A Creative Placemaking Field Scan earlier this year. Over the past several years with the generous support of the Kresge Foundation, T4A has also supported creative placemaking pilot projects in six cities.

To further support this work, T4A has partnered with Americans for the Arts (AFTA) to provide technical assistance workshops to three cities in 2018, funded by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The two-day workshops will include three components:

First, after preliminary calls, T4A and AFTA staff will visit the selected cities to plan the workshop logistics, help select a specific challenge to address in the workshop, and to identify appropriate participants for the workshop.

Second, T4A and AFTA staff will lead a two-day workshop in the selected city. Workshops will be customized to meet the specific needs of each selected city, and may include an overview of creative placemaking, case study presentations of transportation projects that successfully integrate arts and
culture, and an explanation of findings from the T4A's recent creative placemaking reports.:

AFTA staff will lead an "introduction to creative placemaking" lesson for participating transportation professionals that will include an explanation of the practice and language of public art, tactical urbanism, social design, and other relevant artistic practices to build capacity for the transportation
professionals to collaborate with artists. Concurrently, T4A staff will lead an "introduction to creative placemaking" lesson for participating artists and arts administrators that will include an explanation of transportation planning terminology, best practices, culture, funding systems, and related information on community development practices to prepare artists to successfully contribute to transportation projects. The first day will conclude with a site visit of the project area for all workshop participants.

On the second day of the workshop, the two groups will reconvene and turn their focus to a specific challenge that has been pre-identified by the local participants. This could be a policy challenge, a transportation planning project, a funding or permitting issue, or an advocacy challenge. The full team will develop recommendations on possible short and long term solutions, approaches that may aid in solving the challenge, and suggested next steps in collaboration with local participants.

Finally, after follow up calls with the local team, T4A and AFTA staff will produce a report that summarizes recommendations.

Lessons learned from the three workshops will be used to develop resources to share with the broader field so that these workshops may be brought to scale to benefit a wider range of practitioners. These
resources may take the form of webinars, guidebooks, and/or other online resources.

Grant link:
Deadline: 02-23-2018

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