Union helps launch Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

Publication Date

The 2022 Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Creative Placemaking Summit, a wide-ranging event that will explore approaches to helping communities innovate through the intersection of local arts, culture, small business and tourism, will take place in Schenectady April 18-22.

The summit will bring together civic and cultural leaders from multiple states in Proctors Theater and other sites, with many online sessions.

Union is one of the lead sponsors, along with Metroplex, the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation and the Schenectady Foundation.

The keynote presentation and conversation will be held in Union’s Stanley O’Brien ’74 Center for Collaboration and Engagement Wednesday, April 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The presenter is Maura Cuffie of Creatives Rebuild New York, an initiative that supports artists. The event is free and open to the public.

There will be a public art-making event on Jay Street’s pedestrian marketplace Saturday, April 23. Called a Community Weave, it will be led by Chicago-based textile artist Kira Dominguez Hultgren.

“We’ve put together incredibly rich and diverse programming to inspire people to make valuable connections and gain useful knowledge about our arts and cultural ecosystems,” said Lorraine Cox, associate professor of visual arts and co-producer of the event.

Creative placemaking refers to the inclusive process of helping cities and neighborhoods address social, economic, environmental and cultural issues through arts and cultural activities while respecting and protecting local histories and cultures.

The summit’s more than two dozen presentations, discussions and workshops will address such topics as community revitalization, youth engagement, technology, managing gentrification, equity and inclusion, and infrastructure.

Strategy labs that explore walkability, inclusivity and community building will be held downtown and in Hamilton Hill, as well as in Troy.

​Cox worked with co-producers John Delconte ’89, principal of Troy consulting firm Smallwander, and Leo Vazquez, president of the New Jersey-based Creative Placemaking Communities. Lilith Haig ’21 designed the summit logo and website.

The event is supported by dozens of local and regional arts, community development and economic development organizations.

“This is an amazing opportunity for people to meet, collaborate, and advance their awareness and professional development related to the role of arts and culture in supporting community and economic development,” Cox said. “This will be an incredible catalyst for future activity in our region.”

Cox is particularly enthusiastic about involving students in the summit. This term, she is teaching Creative Placemaking and the Social Impact of Art, a course first offered in spring 2020 with the intention of engaging community members.

“We had to pivot online, so I’m excited to finally teach as planned, and the timing of the summit and my class couldn't be better,” Cox said.

Her students will attend the online portion of the summit, April 18-19, and also join in sessions at Proctors.

For more information about the 2022 Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Creative Placemaking Summit, including tickets and registration, visit the summit website. Union employees are eligible for a 20 percent discount on all tickets, using code UC20.

Jay Street
Union's beautiful(and walkable!) campus includes the eight-acre Jackson's Garden and the unique 16-sided Nott Memorial, a historic landmark.&nbsp;</p>