NACo has opened the application process for its Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge. This challenge is part of NACo’s new program to train local leaders from rural and midsized counties on how to advance arts-based economic and community development. The program began last month and will continue through 2019.
The Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge application requires counties to form multidisciplinary teams to apply. Teams must consist of four to six members, and include at least one county-elected official, one local arts leader and one local business leader and must come from a county with a population of fewer than 250,000. The deadline for application submission is Oct. 13 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Selected teams will be notified in December.
The Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge is a national initiative with the mission of supporting counties as they work to identify and strengthen ways to integrate arts into solutions to local challenges.
Teams that submit winning applications will attend an in-person, 2½-day training and peer exchange workshop March 28–30, 2018 in Des Moines (Polk County), Iowa. At the workshop, teams will gain access to national experts, innovative tools and practical strategies that they can use to develop a personalized creative placemaking vision for their communities.
Teams will leave the workshop with an action plan and improved local capacity to integrate arts and culture into community building and problem-solving. In addition, team members will be able to access pre- and post-workshop technical assistance and mentoring support from NACo and Americans for the Arts through July 2019.
Following the workshop in Polk County, NACo will hold a series of webinars and conference workshop sessions throughout 2018 and 2019.
“NACo and its Arts and Culture Commission (ARC) recognize the critical role that rural America plays in shaping the nation’s economy and culture, as well as the unique community and economic development challenges facing rural communities.
“It also recognizes the transformational role that the arts can play in bolstering core county functions such as economic development, public health, and justice and public safety,” ARC Chair Kay Cashion said. “I encourage rural counties to take advantage of this program.” Cashion is a commissioner from Guilford County, N.C.
The Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge was created in partnership with Americans for the Arts and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.