IDA Creative Placemaking Toolkit Supports Business Districts:
Six Funded Projects

IDA and Springboard for the Arts have launched the Guide for Business Districts to Work with Local Artists, work made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts. Six unique placemaking efforts took place in spring 2017 and were supported with $5,000 grants; the projects were in Chandler, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Santa Ana, CA; New Haven, CT; Oklahoma City OK; and Memphis, TN.

“For years we have seen the creative work of our member organizations as they build partnerships to bring arts and engagement to their districts, and we are excited to be able to offer these resources,” said David Downey, President and CEO of IDA. “The Guide and these projects will offer a model for our member organizations and build their creative placemaking capacity in urban places around the world.”

The Guide for Business Districts to Work with Local Artists is a free guide for place managers to work with artists on creative placemaking projects. Created by Springboard for the Arts from their experience working with artists and consulting on creative placemaking work across the country, the guide contains tools for partnership building between BIDs and artists, collaboration between community stakeholders, budgeting and project management.

Visit the IDA webstore to download your copy of the toolkit updated in November 2017 to include case studies of the six placemaking projects funded by IDA, Springboard for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Selected Projects Overview

Downtown Crosswalk Beautification: Chandler, AZ

The Downtown Chandler Community Partnership (DCCP), a nonprofit business improvement district operating in Chandler, AZ is seeking an artist or artist team to design artwork graphics for pedestrian crosswalks at three crossings along Arizona Avenue in downtown Chandler. The selected artist shall create a series of design variations that reflect the unique identity, diversity, culture, and/or history of downtown Chandler, in partnership with the City of Chandler.

Pop up Mobile Patio: Tempe, AZ

This collaboration between the Downtown Tempe Authority, the City of Tempe, local businesses and artists will activate a city-owned dumpster transformed into a mobile pop-up park by the Public Works Department. This project will empower an artist(s) to transform it into a comfortable, inviting sitting/gathering space. It will be parked in a parking space in front of businesses.

The Calliotree: Santa Ana, CA

Downtown Inc. is partnering with renowned a local artist and creative engineer, two local schools, and the City of Santa Ana to reintegrate a community landmark into the public realm. The artist will adapt digital infrastructure onto a 30-foot tall dying sycamore tree (a historic local landmark) to transform it into a programmable audio-visual art piece that acts as a giant musical instrument for anyone to play.

Elm City Mosaic: New Haven, CT

Elm City Mosaic is a creative placemaking partnership with the Town Green Special Services District, local artists, teachers, students, and downtown stakeholders. This project aims to transform forgotten places into cared-for spaces that all can enjoy, with colorful mosaic murals of hand-painted tiles. Local high school students will plan, design, create and install a large mural of tiles to cover chain link fences on selected locations in downtown New Haven.

Rain Stencils: Oklahoma City, OK

Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives and the Downtown Business Improvement District, with the help of Short Order Poems, a group of local poets, will be installing original poems from local artists on the sidewalks and plazas throughout the central business district in downtown Oklahoma City that will ONLY appear when raining. As sidewalks become rain-soaked during our rainy, spring season, the waterproof painted poetry will remain dry and become legible to pedestrians.

Main Street Sounds: Memphis, TN

Main Street Sounds is a new effort to bring busking and live music performance to street corners and public sidewalks in downtown Memphis. The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) will hire local musicians for up to 50 performances along the Main Street Mall during the midday lunch hour and early evening. The program will run for 8 weeks from April through the end of May.

Additional Creative Placemaking Case Studies:

Creative Placemaking Webinar

Visit our webstore to download "A Creative Placemaking Webinar presented by Springboard."

Creative Placemaking Conference Session

IDA members can access Springboard for the Art's presentation at the Atlanta Annual Conference & Tradeshow on IDEA Connection, "Creative Placemaking: Mobilizing Local Artists to Augment Your Business District." Log in to IDEA Connection to view the presentation under the Atlanta tab. Click here to go directly to the tab.

For additional information on these opportunities, please contact Cole E. Judge, Director of IDA Research, at