In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, downtown, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired. In turn, these creative locales foster entrepreneurs and cultural industries that generate jobs and income, spin off new products and services, and attract and retain unrelated businesses and skilled workers. Together, creative placemaking’s livability and economic development outcomes have the potential to radically change the future of American towns and cities.                                                                                                                                                Markusen and Gadwa, 2010

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.

 Jane Jacobs, 1961

 

BACKGROUND

Over the past year and a half, the Baldwin City community has been engaged in visioning conversations focused on identifying Baldwin City’s strengths, weaknesses, and vision for the future. At the core of the conversations is community identity examining our past to inform both our present and future.

Two intertwined key themes that emerged from community visioning forums held over the last year and a half was a need to strengthen downtown vitality and to leverage Baldwin City’s rich artistic and cultural heritage for asset based economic development.

Central is the concept of creative placemakingto improve our community’s attractiveness and livability by the attraction and retention of a higher-skilled workforce, small businesses and entrepreneurs. With the goal to create and foster an entrepreneurial culture in Baldwin City that includes creating outlets for innovation and creativity, Baldwin City has on opportunity to explore and develop a “downtown creativity and innovation hub.”

Baldwin City’s Downtown Creativity and Innovation Hub[1]is an economic development project that combines projects by the City of Baldwin City and the Lumberyard Arts Center. This future-oriented, creative placemaking hub is multifaceted valuing the role arts and culture play to city livability and the development of a skilled workforce. The vision is to create a culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism in the heart of downtown Baldwin City for citizens of all ages through the integration of Lotatorium development (Phase 1); Lumberyard Arts Center Maker Space expansion (Phase II) and creative arts incubator (Phase III).

Why a Maker Space at the Lumberyard Arts Center?

The Lumberyard Arts Center, Inc. is the cornerstone for visual and performing arts in our community. The vision of the Lumberyard is to be the creative home for our community. Not only does a maker space support the Lumberyard’s mission and vision but it elevates our community relevancy and directly links the power of art to community betterment at a broader scale. By reframing our long-term goal as serving as a creativity and innovation hub for Baldwin city, we gain partnerships and sustainability. The conversation shifts to a focus not just an a tangible product—black box theatre—but a larger vision that integrates the theater, a maker space, citizen engagement, and fostering creativity in our community. A maker space has the power to bring people together to create. The Lumberyard is where arts and community come together. The development of a maker space at the Lumberyard Arts Center will increase our impact and situates our programming within the workforce development curriculum needs of USD 348 as well as serving as a venue to engage broader community participation in the arts.

 What is a Maker Space?

Maker spaces have their origin in the Maker Movement through the Maker Faire invented by Dale Dougherty in 2006 with the goal to “bring together the people who designed and made things at home with the help of new digital tools and using the knowledge sorted on the Internet” (Fernández 2015). This creative and technological learning revolution evolved into the appearance of maker spaces throughout the United States located in public schools, universities, libraries, community centers that provide a collaborative space focused on innovation in science, technology, engineering, art and math. A plethora of maker space literature[2]now exists but fundamentally, a maker space brings together people in a place to create (place +people+creating = maker space).

 

The values of creativity, innovation and collaboration are recognized as core 21st-century learning skills and teachers are integrating these processes into the classroom through maker spaces. Maker spaces are valuable for career readiness and are regarded as the best way for today’s youth to acquire workplace skills is project-based learning (project Tomorrow[3]). Maker spaces are suitable at every age, from the elementary student to post high school (Mulvahill, 2017).

[1]It might be possible to have this hub designated as a cultural district.

[2]See Table 1 for definitions of maker space.

[3]The data were compiled in a survey conducted by Project Tomorrow involving 435,510 K-12 students, 38,512 teachers, 4,592 administrators and 29,670 parents. The Speak Up Survey was conducted between October 2016 and January 2017

 

 

Table 1. D

Table 1. Terminology1

 

Creative Economy The U.S. is moving from an industrial economy to a creative economy prioritizing knowledge. This new economy has emerged over the past few decades, and focuses more on ideas and services than traditional goods. Jobs are booming in technology, intellectual property, architecture and design, and the arts and entertainment. With these trends in mind, state and local leaders have formulated economic development plans around creative capital, and incorporated arts and culture to stir growth.
Creative Industries Creative industries are composed of arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theatres to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.
Creative Placemaking Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work – placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. Creative placemaking supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place.

National Endowment for the Arts

Cultural District

 

Also known as an arts and entertainment district, Cultural districts are defined as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction. They help strengthen local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity.  Over 500 communities in the US have designated cultural districts. Americans for the Arts
Cultural Facility

–Arts Facility

A cultural facility is a building used primarily for the programming, production, presentation, and/or exhibition of cultural disciplines—such as music, dance, theater, literature, visual arts, and historical and science museums. Cultural facilities like concert halls, art galleries, performing arts center, etc. can be an important anchor for a community, often creating a cultural identity for a place. These facilities can be used as a launching point for a broader cultural plan.

·       Arts Facility is a type of cultural facility designed to encourage arts practice and participation, raise awareness, and provide access to visual, performing, or multidisciplinary arts spaces. Arts centers are distinct from local arts organizations in that they directly manage cultural facilities such as galleries, theatre spaces, musical venues, workshop areas, and/ or educational facilities. Arts centers are often involved with advocacy, grantmaking, professional development, and facilitating cultural events.

Cultural Tourism The industry and economic vitality result of the cultural tourist—a traveler motivated entirely or in part by artistic, heritage or cultural offerings.
Global Creativity Index The GCI is a broad-based measure for advanced economic growth and sustainable prosperity based on the 3Ts of economic development — talent, technology, and tolerance. It rates and ranks 139 nations worldwide on each of these dimensions and on our overall measure of creativity and prosperity.
Makerspace Makerspaces are creative spaces located in communities, schools, and public and academic libraries.  These areas are designed to engage participants in hands-on activities that teach twenty-first-century skills. The emphasis in makerspaces is placed upon educating students in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) subjects as well as digital and information literacy. The Tech Advocate

 

Makerspace is a general term for a place where people get together to make things. Makerspaces might focus on electronics, robotics, woodworking, sewing, laser cutting or programming, or some combination of these skills. Rosland and Rogers, 2013

 

A makerspace is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. Educause, 2013

 

Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills… [they] are not necessarily born out of a specific set of materials or spaces, but rather a mindset of community partnership, collaboration, and creation. Library as incubator project

A makerspace is a room that contains tools and components, allowing people to enter with an idea and leave with a complete project. The best part is that makerspaces are communal. The goal is to work together to learn, collaborate, and share. Most importantly, makerspaces allow us to explore, create new things, or improve things that already exist. We are Teachers, 2018

 

Makerspaces do a phenomenal job of enabling kids to solve real problems by providing resources to turn their ideas into practical inventions. During their journey from idea to reality, the process requires them to collaborate, think differently, use new physical and digital tools as well as try and fail, which also shows them that failure is a necessary byproduct of success. Beyond instilling entrepreneurial, social and trade skills, these inventive classrooms offer a way to demonstrate to students how the concepts taught in class can apply to the real world. Bit space, 2018

 

The most important quality of a makerspace is that it encourages creativity. This can be done with a space full of hand tools, materials, and finished projects. The culture in a space should support the idea that anything is possible.” Thomas, 2013.

 

What do you do in a makerspace? The simple answer is you make things.  Things that you are curious about.  Things that spring from your imagination… that inspire you and things that you admire.  The informal, playful atmosphere allows learning to unfold, rather than conform to a rigid agenda.  Making, rather than consuming is the focus.  It is craft, engineering, technology and wonder-driven. Thinkers and Tinkerers

 

Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: Making. The Makerspace Playbook

 

A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. Redina 2015

1 Taken from: Cherbo, Stewart and Wyszomirski, 2008; Educause 2013; Florida, 2002; Florida, Mellander and King, 2015; Library as Incuabor Project 2012; Redina 2015; Rosland and Rogers 2013; The Makerspace Playbook; Tinkers and Tinkering 2014; Thomas 2013.