Our Initiatives

Creative Placemaking

What is Creative Placemaking?

Artistic and cultural activities strengthen a community, particularly when they reveal and celebrate its character and identity. At LISC, we support residents coming together to make social, physical and economic changes in their neighborhoods through the arts and culture.

This is known as creative placemaking, a vital spark that brings a neighborhood to life, making it a place where things are happening and people want to be. We launched our national creative placemaking program, with major funding from The Kresge Foundation, because we believe that providing space for creativity and culture to flourish in disinvested neighborhoods is as important to comprehensive community development as is meeting basic needs.

A Chinese cultural celebration in California's Bay Area
A Chinese cultural celebration in California's Bay Area

Creative placemaking is best defined by what it encompasses. It can mean renovating a historic theater or building affordable live-work space for artists. It can entail transforming a weedy lot into a lively gathering place or an abandoned church into a community exhibition space. It can be organizing a dance festival or providing opportunities for youth to discover their creative power.  When the energy of the arts is a driving force, the possibilities are limitless. 

The LISC difference

We believe creative placemaking can and must be inclusive and equitable to everyone, reflecting the hopes, dreams and desires of community members, including traditionally marginalized groups.

It works best when embedded in a broader program of community development that addresses affordable housing, education, health and safety. LISC's core creative placemaking goal is to leverage the unique power of arts and culture to empower people build vibrant, resilient and socially connected communities in the places they call home.

In Philadelphia, Tiny WPA carries out design and building projects with youth to reanimate under-appreciated spaces across the city.
Artists are key to envisioning and guiding creative, community-based revitalization, as at Juxtaposition Arts in Minneapolis.
A screen printing class at SkyArt, Chicago
"Faces of the East Bluff" mural Unveiling, March 18, 2015. Created through a partnership with Greater Peoria LISC, the mural features photographer Keith Cotton's portraits of local residents.

What we offer

  • 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.



Lynne McCormack, Senior Creative Placemaking Officer​
As head of the creative placemaking program, Lynne, an artist by training, oversees LISC’s many projects that bring arts and culture into the work of comprehensive community development. Before joining LISC, Lynne served as the director of Art, Culture and Tourism for the city of Providence. For over thirty years, she has worked at the intersection of arts and community, forging partnerships that brought grants, festivals, employment opportunities and increased funding for arts-based development to the city. Lynne holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Email Lynne.