Chris Masingill, Delta Regional Authority
Jennifer Hughes, National Endowment for the Arts
Linda Langston, National Association of Counties (NACo)
Joe McKinney, National Association Development Organizations (NADO)
During the closing plenary of the Next Generation Rural Creative Placemaking Summit in Iowa City last October, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced a commitment to advance creative placemaking efforts in the Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt. Since that announcement, DRA has developed the Delta Creative Placemaking Initiative, in collaboration with a National Partnership Group including: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), ArtPlace America, Springboard for the Arts, The National Association of Counties (NACo), The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), Art of the Rural, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), The Federation of State Humanities Councils, and the Smithsonian Institution.
The Delta Creative Placemaking Initiativeis designed to strengthen the Delta economy, improve the quality of life for the region’s 10 million residents and stimulate community and economic development efforts through the Delta’s arts and cultural sectors. DRA will invest nearly $460,000 in advancing these priorities, creating a significant national innovation in which local elected officials, development districts, economic development staff and other non-arts sector decision makers are supported in reaching out to creative and cultural partners, to form regional collaborations to achieve these joint ends. Seed investments of up to $30,000 will be offered, after six regional workshops, currently being held to more deeply inform community leaders interested in applying. Successful applicants will also receive up to 50 hours of coaching, mentoring and technical assistance.
Roughly every three weeks, these Digital Exchanges will offer an opportunity for folks to come together and engage with leaders working across the dynamic range of fields that compose the foundation of rural creative placemaking. Each of these one hour Digital Exchanges will feature 2-4 voices from across the country, sharing specifc themes, challenges, and opportunities we collectively encounter in this work. Learn more at www.ruralgeneration.org/digital-exchange