Apply now for the Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge!

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NACo – in partnership with Americans for the Arts – has launched the Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge to train local leaders from rural and mid-sized counties on how to advance arts-based economic and community development.  Apply today!

NACo recognizes 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. NACo also recognizes the transformational role that the arts can play in catalyzing new solutions that bolster core county functions, including economic development, public health, and justice and public safety. Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, 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.

The goal of this Challenge is to bring enterprising technical solutions and forward-thinking partnership approaches to rural and mid-sized communities that are facing increasingly difficult capacity and financial burdens. The initiative will develop a national cohort of local creative placemaking practitioners to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions that can support the long-term economic resilience of rural and middle America.

NACo invites counties with populations of less than 250,000 to form multidisciplinary teams to apply. Teams that submit winning applications will attend an in-person, 2 ½-day training and peer exchange workshop on March 28 – 30, 2018 in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

Selected 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 community. Teams will leave the workshop with an implementable 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.

For more information and to apply, please visit  The application deadline is Friday, October 20, 2017. Selected teams will be notified in December. The Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge program will run from December 2017 to July 2019.  For additional information, or answers to questions, please contact Jenna Moran at or 202-942-4224.

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