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CITYLAB: “Cultural Investment: Creating Civic Identity Through Art”

CityLab 2013

Early last week I wrote a post about the Top 5 reasons you should attend The Art of Placemaking Conference. Just to review, reason # 3 is:

Experience Providence, the Creative Capital and a city that “gets” creative placemaking.  (At least, that’s what I’ve heard a few highly placed people at the National Endowment for the Arts say on more than one occasion.) In addition to 2 days of great conversation and learning, you will have the opportunity to tour some of the other great arts organizations in town and to learn how they do things. More details on this soon.

Now I don’t think that Rocco Landesman actually reads this blog but just a few days after I published that post I’m glad he decided to publicly validate what some might feel was a boastful claim above.

Landesman, the recent past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, lead a discussion titled “Cultural Investment: Creating Civic Identity Through Art” at the recent CITYLAB event in New York City. The panel included our own Mayor of Providence Angel Taveras, artist Theaster Gates, arts producer and Artichoke co-director Helen Marriage and Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of New York Kate D. Levin.

From the CITYLAB website:

The Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted the inaugural  “CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges,” from October 6-8, 2013, in New York City. The event brought together 300 global city leaders—more than 30 mayors, plus urban theorists, city planners, scholars, architects, and artists—for a series of conversations about urban ideas that are shaping the world’s metro centers.

The summit featured conversations on economic development; the environment and sustainability; cultural investment; big data; and the intersection of public safety, privacy, and technology; as well as smaller breakout sessions that explored topics like redevelopment, urban infrastructure, transportation, urban expansion, and the creation of the next tech city.

Here’s a video of the panel discussion. It’s worth the investment of time to watch especially the part where Landesman validates our claim that Providence gets creative placemaking.

Cultural Investment: Creating Civic Identity Through Art from The Atlantic on


Posted October 16, 2013 in: Placemaking by Peter A. Mello