upcoming grant deadline: 05/15/2019

upcoming grant deadline: 05/15/2019

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Planning for the Future: Place Breaking to Place Keeping

Conversations at Moore

Planning for the Future: Place Breaking to Place Keeping

With an opening presentation by Damon Rich and Philadelphia reports from Melissa Kim, Thoai Nguyen, Li Sumpter, Paige Scott-Cooper, and Devonne Miller

For the last decade, powerful institutions of urban planning, philanthropy, and the arts have celebrated the beneficial effects of combining community development and the arts. Advocates of this approach describe it as Creative Placemaking, while critics use competing neologisms like Creative Place-breaking and Creative Displacement to point out hazards ranging from removal of long-term residents to cultural destruction. Against this background, this event examines efforts underway in three Philadelphia neighborhoods to productively combine approaches from art and urban planning to make neighborhoods better.

This event is presented in collaboration with Social & Studio Practices at Moore, Mural Arts Philadelphia and Next City.


During this event you will hear updates about projects taking place throughout Philadelphia that combine approaches art and urban planning towards the goal of accountable community-driven development. You’ll hear about neighborhood projects sponsored by LISC Philadelphia in Kensington and on Lancaster Avenue, about the North Philly Peace Park, and a process currently underway to rebuild Mifflin Square Park at 6th and Wolf.

To kick-off the event, artist Damon Rich, who has worked for the past 20 years on the boundaries and gaps between architecture, art, and urban planning in organizations including the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) in New York, the Newark Planning Office in New Jersey, and now SEAMAAC, Mural Arts Restored Spaces, and more in Southeast Philadelphia, will make an opening presentation. Park Powers, Rich’s Summer 2016 collaboration with Philadelphia high school students is described here.

*Directly preceding this event from 4:30pm-6pm is the exhibition opening for Park Powers at the Mural Arts Philadelphia gallery (1729 Mt Vernon Street, Philadelphia).

About the Speakers:

Melissa Kim has been a Program Officer for the Philadelphia field office of LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) since January 2015. She is responsible for the Creative Placemaking, Commercial Corridor, and Community Safety programs in Philadelphia and Sustainable Communities Initiative in Eastern North Philadelphia. Before joining LISC, Melissa managed the Pearl Street Project at Asian Arts Initiative and directed community economic development programs at The Village of Arts and Humanities and the North 5th Street Revitalization Project. Melissa is an Adjunct Professor of Community Development at Temple University. She holds a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning and Juris Doctorate from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College.

Thoai Nguyen is Chief Executive Officer of Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC), an organization based in South Philadelphia that serves and advocates for hundreds of immigrant and refugee families each year. SEAMAAC’s partnerships include over 40 local and regional entities, encompassing government, healthcare providers and non-profit agencies. You can read more about Nguyen here.

Damon Rich is a designer and artist. In public spaces, exhibitions, graphic works, and events, often produced in collaboration with young people and community-based organizations, Damon creates fantastical spaces for imagining the physical and social transformation of the world. His design work represented the United States at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, and has been exhibited at institutions including PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Currently, Damon is partner with Jae Shin at Hector, an urban design, planning & civic arts studio, whose recent projects include designing a riverfront park, writing citywide zoning and land use regulations, and creating a memorial for an eco-feminist nun. Damon previously served as the Planning Director & Chief Urban Design for the city of Newark, New Jersey, and Chief of Staff for Capital Projects at the New York City Parks Department. In 1997, Damon founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that uses art and design to increase meaningful civic engagement, where he served as Executive Director for 10 years. Damon has taught art and architecture at schools including Harvard University, Barnard College, Cooper Union, and Syracuse University. He is a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a Fellow of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Li Sumpter is an adjunct professor of curatorial studies at Moore College of Art and Design, Project Manager of Elephants on the Avenue: Race, Class, and Community in Historic Germantown and Managing Director of the BlackStar Film Festival. As a curator and multidisciplinary artist, she engages in art as social and liberatory practice through community-centered, mission-driven projects. Li employs strategies of image activism and mythic design to challenge oppressive systems and cultivate community awareness of local and global issues with a focus on environmental crisis, food justice and emergency preparedness. In 2016, Li was awarded an Art and Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation for Graffiti in the Grass—an interactive graphic novel that promotes creative resistance and community readiness through an apocalyptic myth set in Philadelphia circa 2025. Li recently served as Interim Director of Programs and Operations at Mill Creek Urban Farm in West Philadelphia and is currently engaged in community-led, site-specific public programming projects and direct action organizing with the North Philly Peace Park.

Next City is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world.

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