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CoSign


CoSign: Enhancing economic activity and neighborhood vibrancy by leveraging the talent of creative individuals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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CoSign


CoSign: Enhancing economic activity and neighborhood vibrancy by leveraging the talent of creative individuals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Opportunity:

The Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation was searching for a platform to enhance economic activity and vibrancy in Greater Cincinnati neighborhood business districts, while leveraging the creative talent and resources of individuals from within the community. The foundation was also looking for a way to work with the American Sign Museum to expand their outreach into neighborhoods, and to create an infrastructure to train the next generation of local signmakers.

The Method:

CoSign paired local business owners with local artists/designers and local sign fabricators to design and install a critical mass of unique, hand-crafted storefront signage in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood, an area seeing significant reinvestment and growth. 

The Result:

Over the course of five months, CoSign engaged 52 local artists and designers in the development of 144 unique sign proposals for 19 Northside businesses. CoSign rewarded 11 artists with a monetary stipend for their sign designs, educated them on the entire process of sign design, permitting, fabrication and installation and provided them the opportunity for their work to be displayed in a prominent public space.

The Lessons:

  • Participation shifts perception
  • Invest in individuals
  • Innovation is a cross-disciplinary sport
  • Compensate connectors
  • Legacy is not a building with your name on it
  • Scale changes focus
  • Provide frameworks for dreaming
  • Let experts be experts
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MakeWork


MakeWork: Catalyzing Chattanooga's social and cultural economy by expanding opportunities for local artists and artisans. 

MakeWork


MakeWork: Catalyzing Chattanooga's social and cultural economy by expanding opportunities for local artists and artisans. 

The Opportunity:

While investment in Chattanooga's arts institutions has continued to grow, investment in individual creatives has lacked support and endorsement. Over time, significant opportunities to attract and retain creative talent has gone unnoticed. CreateHere—a creative hub working to restore cultural and economic life in Chattanooga—was looking for a way to make direct investment in creative individuals.

The Method:

MakeWork is an arts grant program open to emerging and established artists and artisans within a 50-mile radius of Chattanooga. MakeWork stimulates Chattanooga’s creative economy by empowering artists with the financial support, entrepreneurial resources, and showcase opportunities that they need to succeed and grow.

The Result:

To date, 63% of MakeWork artists have reported an increase in earned revenue, 80% have increased their press and marketing opportunities and 90% have been able to increase the time they spend on their creative work. Because of the program, MakeWork grantees are making career development a priority and are increasingly spending their dollars locally.

Additionally, MakeWork has led to a deepened community understanding and appreciation for individual artists, while demonstrating a scalable, replicable model of community-building using arts and culture as a central tool. 

The Lessons:

  • Invest in individuals
  • Work won't scale without a roadmap
  • Tell good stories
  • Build platforms not institutions
  • Everyone is an LLC
  • Retention leads to attraction

 

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Joy in the City


Joy in the City: Inspiring citizens to take an active role in shaping the landscape of their city.

Joy in the City


Joy in the City: Inspiring citizens to take an active role in shaping the landscape of their city.

The Opportunity:

Current forums for Detroit-centric dialogue were lacking inspiration. Existing and emerging leaders felt tirelessly exposed to the same panel of local speakers. Same faces. Same stump speeches. Not a whole lot of action. Wayne State University was searching for a way to inspire the next generation of Detroit leaders by calling them to action in new and unexpected ways. 

The Method:

The Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum was a series of events that provoked knowledge transfer between local and national leaders; demonstrated new ways of thinking, doing and problem-solving; and inspired individuals towards action. Each event was organized around a central theme—Joy, Beauty and Welcome—and included student exclusive interactions, public keynote forums, small-scale civic interventions opportunities for hands-on learning and locally produced, family-style means for curated groups.

The Result:

In 2013, the Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum brought seven nationally recognized visionaries to Detroit to engage with existing and emerging leaders. Participants included: Candy Chang, Archie Lee Coates, Kemi Ilesanmi, Tamara Harkavy, Alison Cross, Eric Weiner and Baratunde Thurston. More than 400 individuals attended the public forums and more than 100 individuals participated in civic intervention workshops. 

The Lessons:

  • Leave a footprint
  • You are needed
  • Edutainment moves the masses
  • Teach people to fish
  • Convert residents to citizens
  • Accelerate serendipity
  • Design is not an afterthought