Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District

Placemaking Proposal Workshop: Re-cap of the Night

Twas the night before Placemaking Proposal Workshop, and all through Art Works Now
Gateway Arts District workers were busy ensuring the evening would be a “wow”!
The refreshments were set up and packets laid out with care
In hopes that artists and community members would soon be there…

IMG_8316What a wonderful night! We stuffed Art Works Now full of amazing people with even more amazing ideas. This was an incredibly inspiring group and we look forward to hearing from all of you over the next few weeks as you put your proposals together before the deadline of January 6th. You can access the Request for Proposals by clicking here.

The night began with some video viewing. Rhonda Dallas of Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council introduced the the Arts & Economic Prosperity video:

Anne L’Ecuyer of American University Arts Management program then introduced the Phase I video for Art Lives Here:

Next we talked about two successful and funded creative placemaking projects from the previous (National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant funded) round of Art Lives Here events. Monica Jahan Bose’s Bus Stop Bangladesh and and J.J. McCracken’s Southside Music Series.

IMG_3765Bus Stop Bangladesh was a three-part public intervention held on June 4th, 12th, and 19th from 5 to 7:30 pm outside the bus stop at Mt. Rainier City Hall featuring the stories and art of 12 women from Katakhali Village, Bangladesh, an island community adversely affected by climate change, presented by artist/activist Monica Jahan Bose, and sponsored by Art Lives Here.

Through performance and installation, Monica Jahan Bose brought the art and stories of a dozen women from a remote Bangladeshi island to Mt. Rainier. The intervention each day displayed saris created with woodblock and hand-painted words and images by the women of Katakhali Village, Bangladesh, as part of Storytelling with Saris, a collaborative printmaking and story project which highlights the achievement of literacy by women of Katakhali. These saris hung from Mt. Rainer City Hall, visually representing the story of each woman’s achievements and courage in rebuilding her life, learning to read, and surviving successive cyclones and other effects of climate change.

You can read Bose’s initial proposal here: Monica Art Lives Here -Art Attacks

What we liked about her proposal was:
•Lots of detail that showcased experience
•Included great documentation of past work to show credit and merit
•Appealing project idea of performance installation in under-appreciated highly used public area with a social justice theme

What we didn’t like about her proposal was:
•Wordy proposal could’ve been a bit more succinct without losing detail
•Budget was larger than requested
•Additional ALH funding was requested for professional documentation

But what we absolutely loved about her proposal was:
•The positive community energy was much needed and appreciated at the location
•Mount Rainier City staff were involved
•Visual results were strong
•Artist used project to further her own career

Check out some of our video footage of the project here:

Photo by Artis Moon Amarche

Photo by Artis Moon Amarche

Southside Music Series can be best summed up by an appreciation e-mail written by a community member:

“Just wanted to send out a quick email and tell everyone how lovely it was at the park this weekend, I have some family/friends visiting with me and when I received the email that the concert had been rescheduled to Saturday because of the storms we had last week we decided to go.

There was a hot grill ready to go when we arrived in front of Red Dirt Studios and the Staff there were friendly and helpful the music created such a relaxing atmosphere the picnic tables under the trees provided shade and we really enjoyed our hotdogs and BBQ chicken listening to the live music and watching children play, skaters skating and other families that had come out and spent time it was a nice way to just unwind after a busy and hectic week…

I hope this is something that could continue over the entire Summer , I just wish more people had been there to enjoy and it and chill out with all of us that did attend.

Thank you to Red Dirt Studios and the attentive Staff that we met this weekend and the Musicians were great , I think it was one of the best uses of the Park to date.

Please please consider doing more Concerts , it was truly a blessing to have free entertainment in our Community I would support more Events like this…”

You can read McCraken’s initial proposal here: JJMcC-ArtLivesHerePerformanceProposal0213 (1)

What we liked about the proposal was:
•Well organized, clean, clear, concise
•Used a specific space that needed community engagement
•Incorporated use of musicians, Red Dirt Studio, and City Public works

What we didn’t like about the proposal was:
•Could’ve used more description of project and documentation of past project successes by artist
•Original time frame was difficult to work with due to being tied to celestial calendar

But what we loved about the proposal was:
•Connected community members to local arts organization, Red Dirt Studio
•City and Parks and Recreation staff were on hand and participating
•Diversity of crowd
•Positive vibe and response from neighborhood

Check out the video put together by artists and attendees here:

We got some great questions throughout the night. These include:

IMG_8330What is Creative Placemaking?
ArtPlace America has a list of their Principles of Creative Placemaking that can be found by clicking here. However we were interested in hearing what your definitions of creative placemaking where. Audience members shared and emphasis on changing the way a place feels, giving a place a sense of comfort, accessibility and worth, ultimately benefiting how a community lives, works and interacts within a space. ArtPlace America has also shared 15 Questions to Ask about Creative Placemaking Proposals, a helpful way of checking your ideas and developing them further.

IMG_8349When proposing for a specific property, does the relationship with the business owner need be already developed or will Art Lives Here facilitate that relationship?
It depends… Here are some tips from John Paradiso of Gateway Community Development Corporation:

1. The business owner needs to be part of the planning process where applicable. If you already have a relationship with them, by all means approach them before you submit your proposal to get their feedback on your ideas. However we would be happy to help facilitate the relationship between you and a business owner. Above all, be prepared to be flexible, we may find your project better suited to a different space than the one you envisioned. Remember it’s not necessary to have all the lose ends tied up by the time of the proposal, if we think your project idea is suited to Art Lives Here and creative placemaking, we will work with you to ensure it’s success.
2. The business owner needs to – in writing – approve of the project. After you have received confirmation from Art Lives Here of the funding of your project, after you’ve met with the business/property owner and discussed the project idea, timeline, and site usage, write a up a contract between you, the business owner, and ourselves. It’s essential to have it in writing.
3. All conversations with business owners, especially when ideas are modified, should be followed up with an e-mail. Again, leave a trail in writing so when necessary, you can refer back in order to ensure your project’s successful completion.
4. An ALH contact person should be cc’d on emails when possible. When dealing with businesses and properties in Hyattsville, please cc: When dealing with businesses and properties in Brentwood or North Brentwood, please cc: When dealing with businesses in Mount Rainier, please cc:
5. If project is on the exterior of a business, project director needs to see if the municipality has any restrictions and or approval processes. Depending on the town in which your working, the above contacts will be able to help you handle this processes.
6. Have realistic goals. Dream big… but manage your expectations. You are a part of this because you want to enact change in the Gateway Arts District. This is not an easy task, but it’s one of passion, drive, and dedication. That is what makes Art Live Here.

Check out Art Lives Here’s map of potential placemaking sites, designed by our friends at Neighborhood Design Center, here: Creative Placemaking Maps 12-18-2013

Following this presentation 4 break-out sessions were formed from the group where ideas where shared, discussed, developed, shared and refined.

How to keep in contact with us:

IMG_1458Where to submit your proposals:
Mail: Joe’s Movement Emporium
Atten: Neena Narayanan, Art Lives Here
3309 Bunker Hill Road
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Who to contact if you have questions:
Neena Narayanan

You can download a pdf version of the powerpoint here:

IMG_8323Thanks to our hosts and panelists:
Leslie Holt, Art Works Now
Rhonda Dallas, Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council
Margaret Boozer, Red Dirt Studio
Brooke Kidd, Joe’s Movement Emporium
Monica Buitrago, Gateway Community Development Corporation
Justin Fair, Hyattsville Community Development Corporation
Anne L’Ecuyer, American University Arts Management Program

Special thanks to artists Monica Jahan Bose and J.J. McCracken for allowing us to share their proposals.

Last big shout out to Art Works Now and Red Dirt Studios for the refreshments!


About neenajoe

Joe’s Movement Emporium is a cultural arts hub that acts as a catalyst for creativity and economic opportunity for all through productions and programs in education, artist services and work readiness. Located in the town center of Mount Rainier, Maryland within the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District, the organization supports and promotes creative projects of local artists and community groups. For additional information on programs and events, please visit

One comment on “Placemaking Proposal Workshop: Re-cap of the Night

  1. Pingback: Thanks for Proposing! | ART LIVES HERE

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