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Transportation for America & Conexión Américas named as finalists for ArtPlace America’s 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund

Today, ArtPlace America announced that Transportation For America and Conexión Américas’ proposal to creatively engage underserved communities in Nashville, Tennessee along a planned bus rapid transit corridor is one of just 80 projects being considered for ArtPlace America’s incredibly competitive 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund.

The 80 projects selected as finalists represent just six percent of the 1,361 initial applications that ArtPlace reviewed.

ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program that invests money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts activity will help drive community development projects that are addressing challenges or opportunities related to agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health, housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

Over the last two years, Transportation for America (T4America) has initiated new creative placemaking efforts to help plan and build transportation projects that more fully meet the needs of local communities, including the 2016 release of The Scenic Route: Getting Started with Creative Placemaking in Transportation, an online interactive guide to the practice, and on-the-ground work in a handful of cities, including Nashville.

Several diverse and historically disenfranchised communities south of Nashville along the Nolensville Pike corridor will soon be transformed by massive bus rapid transit projects, causing conflicts from construction and potentially displacing residents and small businesses. T4America and Conexión Américas — in partnership with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) — have proposed using creative placemaking to deeply engage these communities and design better transportation projects to serve these residents more effectively and mitigate conflicts along the way.

T4America, Conexión Américas and the Nashville Area MPO propose to engage local artists along the Nolensville Pike corridor to participate in creative placemaking, design, and creation of community-inspired art and design elements to improve the public realm of the corridor and make this busy and dangerous road a safer, calmer source of community pride; and to leverage the new investment of the improved bus service. Conexión Américas’ has already partnered with the Nashville Area MPO to develop and install the city’s first bilingual crosswalk on Nolensville Pike, inspiring residents, local businesses and community groups to think of their own ideas for designing other transportation improvements to better reflect the neighborhood’s diversity and cultural assets.

As the next step in ArtPlace’s process, Transportation for America will complete more extensive application materials and schedule a site visit in Nashville this summer with an ArtPlace staff member and a national peer expert. ArtPlace will convene these peer experts for an in-person panel meeting this fall and will then announce the final projects in which it will invest a total of $10.5 million in December 2016.

The complete list of the 2016 finalists for ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund may be found here.


Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions — because these are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity. T4America is a program of Smart Growth America.


Based in Middle Tennessee, Conexión Américas assists families and individuals in achieving goals such as buying homes, starting businesses, improving their conversational English, navigating systems in their new community, learning their rights and responsibilities, helping their children succeed in school, and bettering their lives through nationally recognized services and programs.


The Nashville Area MPO is the lead transportation policy, planning, and programming agency for Middle Tennessee and serves more than 1.5 million people throughout Davidson, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties. Acting as a regional partnership among the local elected leadership, transit agencies, Tennessee Department of Transportation, and federal agencies, the MPO represents a forum for the business community and citizens across the seven-county area to help decide how federal and state funds will be used to improve roads, bridges, public transit, and walking and bicycling conditions.  The MPO leads in the development of the metropolitan area’s long-range transportation plan and near-term investment program, and contributes to ongoing conversations about economic development, land use, the environment, and public health. To learn more, visit NashvilleMPO.org.


ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partners foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, which describes projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic.