Place-based workshop captures essence of local neighborhood discussions during the Art and Place Conference in Memphis

Like many cities that struggle with under-developed, neglected neighborhoods, Memphis has experienced an influx of artistic interventions focused on community renewal in many different forms and applications.

Public art is a popular form of artistic intervention and can range in style, form, and expertise. It is often executed with objectives for improving livability in neighborhoods and serving as a catalyst for greater change. Community engagement is a key role in identifying, defining, and implementing artistic interventions in local areas, especially those with limited budgets.

This spring, I was invited to plan and participate in a local conference, hosted by Rhodes College, called Art & Place. The conference discussed principles of creative placemaking with plenary speaker, Maria Rosario Jackson. Additionally, three place-based sessions offered panel discussions specific to three neighborhoods: Crosstown, the Edge District, and Orange Mound.

I ran a workshop through the place-based sessions that isolated and captured ideas from the community discussions and mapped them into thought maps. Each participant was provided with a toolkit for writing and drawing ideas for urban interventions, specific to their neighborhood. A student team helped by collecting and mapping thoughts onto the board. The final artifact was a participatory thought map (4’x8′).

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