LISC National
What We Do

Creative Placemaking

Creative placemaking is a tool for community development that can be used to celebrate and preserve community identity and culture, foster collaboration, and activate spaces.

At LISC, we view creative placemaking as the intentional support of arts and culture-related organizations, activities, and events that bring residents together to make social, physical, and economic change in their neighborhoods. 

Creative placemaking infuses new resources into a community, but also creates new relationships, builds a sense of community, sparks renewed interest in the arts, and most importantly – elevates voices typically excluded from planning and development conversations.

Examples include: 

  • In partnership with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, The Sanctuaries, Empower DC, and Open Studio DC, we implemented a creative placemaking intervention in the Ivy City neighborhood in northeast Washington, DC. This helped to gather a diverse group of stakeholders and engage residents in conversations on the future of Ivy City through art, outreach, and conversation.
  • We supported the 11th Street Bridge Park as they conducted a community-driven planning process to develop recommendations of cultural strategies. These will enhance neighborhood pride and promote a sense of belonging in the neighborhoods surrounding the future 11th Street Bridge Park. 
  • LISC is a regular supporter of the Anacostia River Festival, an annual event held at Anacostia Park that includes art exhibitions, live music, and more activities to encourage residents and visitors to engage with the Anacostia River and greater Anacostia neighborhood. 
  • The commercial district on Rhode Island Avenue NE attracts hundreds of visitors during its annual Fall Fest. Vendors line the streets as residents and visitors engage in a day of shopping, arts and cultural activities, food tasting, and entertainment. LISC regularly supports this festival as an extension to our overall support of the event’s organizer, our partner, the Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street. RIA Main Street is one of eight Main Street programs across the District that works toward the redevelopment of DC’s commercial corridors.

Creative placemaking has the power to boost the health of neighborhoods by investing in the physical and social assets of a community. These investments are particularly important for communities with a history of neglect, blight, disinvestment, and disengagement.

LISC’s creative placemaking program is unique in that it is inclusive, equity-based, resident- and artist-led, and includes access to the following: 

  • Financing for creative placemaking projects through loans, grants, and equity investments 
  • Technical assistance for local community groups to integrate the arts and culture into their revitalization activities
  • Research and learning opportunities   for community groups and funders to understand and support more enduring, equitable placemaking programs 


Adam Kent, Senior Program Officer